Llancaiach Fawr Manor is a Tudor manor house near the village of Nelson, located just to the north of the site of the former Llancaiach Colliery, in South Wales.
The Manor House is a semi fortified house circa 1530, The Manor is considered to be one of the most important Gentry houses to have survived from the 16th and 17th century period. And thanks to the HLF funding, visitors will now be able to live life on both sides of society at the Manor, completing the overall experience. The Manor was purchased by the Local Authority and is set in 1645.
Built in 1530 for Dafydd ap Richard, the Manor was designed to be easily defended during the turbulent reigns of Tudor kings and queens and is one of the finest examples of a semi-fortified manor in Wales today.
The original defensive design incorporated a single entrance, four-foot thick walls enclosing spiral stone staircases for access between floors and stout wooden doors. When these were securely closed they split the Manor in two and ensured that the inner east wing provided a safe and secure place of refuge during troubled times.
By the beginning of the Stuart dynasty the Prichard family had prospered and the house was extended in 1628 to demonstrate their status. The Grand Staircase now allowed easy access between floors and two of the rooms used by the family were panelled in oak.
When Civil War broke out between King and Parliament in 1642 Colonel Edward Prichard was appointed Commissioner of Array to the King, raising men and money for the Royalist cause in Glamorganshire.
By the middle of 1645 support was waning and King Charles I came on a rallying tour through South Wales and visited Llancaiach Fawr for lunch on 5 August. Shortly afterwards the Prichards and many other Glamorgan gentry changed sides to support Parliament and Colonel Prichard subsequently defended Cardiff Castle against the Royalists.
Visitors today step into the Manor House restored and furnished as it would have been in 1645. All the furnishings in the rooms are accurate reproductions of items from the time of the Prichards and many of the originals can be found in the St Fagans National History Museum at St Fagans Castle. The Manor is now a living museum museum, where first person interpretation is used exclusively by the costumed interpreters in the house, who take on the role of the house servants. Consequently, they communicate with visitors entirely in period English (claiming that the Master of the House disapproves of the use of Welsh, a not uncommon attitude at the time), and feign unfamiliarity with post-1645 history and technological developments.
The thematic setting for the museum is the year 1645, at the height of the English Civil War when King Charles I of England visited the house to persuade its owner, Colonel Edward Prichard, not to change his allegiance. However, Pichard did change his allegiance soon after, allowing the house to represent the different sides of the conflict at different times in the year.
The building has been used in many TV and film productions, including Doctor Who; and an episode of archaeological television programme Time Team dug in the grounds in search of the house's predecessor. No evidence of a previous dwelling was found, but several old coins and some Bronze Age pottery were found.
Named in the top 10 of haunted locations in the UK. It is considered by paranormal enthusiasts to be a particularly haunted site, and regular 'ghost tours' and Ghost Watches take place at The Manor (see the LCF Website for details).
Ghost Tours involve entering the Manor and hearing the history and stories of reported phenomena over the years. You can also take part in some research at The Manor.
South Wales Paranormal Research Group (SWPR) have been studying and researching paranormal phenomena since 2003 at The Manor. Ghost Watches are held during the months of September to March each year.
In 2013 it was announced that The Manor was successful with a Heritage Lottery Grant of over £940,000 plans to replace the roof, install a sympathetic lift for more accessibility and restore the attic into servants quarters started late 2013, it is hoped that this will be completed late 2014.