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Sospan (y);siop Goch, Dolgellau

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Map ReferenceSH71NW
Grid ReferenceSH7278317818
Unitary (Local) AuthorityGwynedd
Old CountyMerioneth
PeriodPost Medieval
Y Sospan is a building with 17th century origins, but now largely 18th century in date. The building consists of a two storey main range, with hipped wings to the south side, all constructed of coursed rubble masonry and with steeply pitched quarry slate roofs.

The building originally functioned as the towns gaol, with the stone flagged ground floor rooms providing lock-ups for criminals and vagrants, with the magistrates court on the first floor. this was sold in 1811, when it was decided in the quarter sessions for Merionethshire that a new County Gaol was needed and a new gaol and house of correction was built at Bodloneb.

Over the fireplace on the first floor is a coat of arms dated 1606 which appears to be a variant of the royal arms. There is no crown, and the supporters are a crowned lion and a dragon (i.e. the Tudor supporters rather than the Stuart lion and unicorn). The arms of England and France, as well as the Prince of Wales feathers are present in the achievement. The chimney breast is bounded by plasterbands, intricately decorated with foliate designs, while in the gablet above is another plaster design relating to the buildings use. This features a large tree, in the centre of which stands a female figure with wings, a pigs face and a human face where the genitals should be, immediatley to her right is an owl. On the right hand side of the tree is a man hung by the neck from the lowest branch, while below a suspected witch is being tried on a ducking stool by an official while three ladies form a procession(?), the first holding aloft a cross. to the left of the tree is a very different scenec of a church and churchyard, a figure kneeling in the centre of a circular area (?) with a standing figure behind him. From the colour of the plaster work this may be a later modification to the original picture?

Also remains is a fine screen, containing three intricatley carved timber posts, between which are iron railings, each topped by a back to back face, and a series of painte wooden panels forming the panelled partition to the staircase.

2. The Old Town Hall (Y Sosban), dated 1606, once fulfilled the judicial and administrative functions of the town. Two dungeon-like rooms downstairs served as a lock-up for vagrants and drunkards. Source: Dolgellau Town Trail. 2004.09.06/RCAHMW/SLE
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