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Maenan Hall

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Maenan Hall is a late fifteenth century timber framed structure of seven bays with a central entrance and wooden ionic portico. It's chief feature is the hall with a soaring gothic arch and two tiers of purlins that have deep cusped wind-braces, an indication that this hall roof is as early as any in North West Wales.

The hall is covered by elaborate Elizabethan plasterwork dated 1582. This has two surprisingly different components, a profession of loyalty to Elizabeth I at the upper end and a mysterious tapestry of tendrils everywhere else. At the dais end is a post-and-panel partition with two doorways. Above, a pair of rusticated pilasters frame a field of foliage. In the centre the royal arms and monogram, with royal badges beside it. Higher again, there are acorns and Tudor heads; below, heraldic beasts, lions? heads etc., all in a fairly sophisticated Renaissance manner. On the south wall the Kyffin arms appear, self-effacingly small, near a peep window from the `chamber over the hall?. All around, and over the blades of the crucks, loop intertwining tendrils in raised -plasterwork; not quite the spiral forms of thirteenth to fourteenth century vine decoration in churches, not quite the formal intricacy of Elizabethan ceilings (despite the fleur-de-lys and pomegranate finials), but a sort of labyrinth without straight lines. This must date to Maurice Kyffin, High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1579 and of Anglesey in 1585. On the upper floor at the `lower? end, the exposed timber structure has queenposts with curved braces below. The solar, to the south again, has its ceiling plastered like a vault, also dated 1582 and with the Kyffin arms in a panel. Its more conventional motifs include vines, sunflowers and leaping heraldic beasts.At the `upper? end the original plan has been replaced by the ingeniously designed staircase of c. 1820. The geometric floor paving is said to have come from Maenan Abbey; the C16 stone fireplace is from Parlwr Mawr in Conwy.

Source: Haslam, Orbach and Voelcker (2009), The Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd. Pevsner Architectural Guide, page 468.

RCAHMW, October 2009.


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