Skip to topic | Skip to bottom

The Carmarthenshire Historian


Start of topic | Skip to actions

The Fall of a House of Legend

Thumb Fallen into decay and awaiting demolition is Plas, Llandybie, which is now little more than a stone shell.

It is not known when the house was built, but it is said to be of sixteenth century orign. Even so, the exterior has been much altered and is generally undistinguished except for square rubble end stacks, the one at the southern gable end being shown in the accompanying picture taken in October 1968.

The interior possessed a good seventeenth century oak staircase of four flights, with turned balusters, moulded strings and handrails, square newels and turned pendants. At the top of the bottom flight on the ground floor stood an interesting dog-gate in the form of a portcullis, which merited illustration in the Carmarthenshire Inventory of the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. There were several seventeenth century or early Georgian doors, their upper halves having semi-circular arches and recessed panels.

The plaster ceiling of one of the ground-floor rooms still largely survives, as do remnants of the coved ceiling above the staircase well. But fallen rubble has buried the bottom staircase where the dog-gate was situated. Otherwise there is little within the three foot thick walls.

For so well-known a house, surprisingly little of authentic value is known about its history, although there are legends which one need not believe. There is a tradition that Oliver Cromwell stayed at the Plas during the Civil War and it is sometimes said that the order for cropping the Roundheads' hair was issued here.

An eighteenth century occupant was Charles Philipps, a well-known huntsman and member of the society called Sea Serjeants, a secret Jacobite organisation of West Wales gentry. Clandestine gatherings of the Sea Serjeants are said to have taken place and, almost inevitably, there is the suggestion that there was a secret tunnel from the house.

It is likely that the house, which is included in the list of buildings of architectural or historic interest, will be demolished and the site dedicated to public use.
to top

You are here: Historian > HistorianVol5 > TheFallOfAHouseOfLegend

to top