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West Tarr mediaeval house

In the community of Penally.
In the historic county of Pembrokeshire.
Modern authority of Pembrokeshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN08920080
Latitude 51.67316° Longitude -4.76504°

West Tarr mediaeval house has been described as a probable Bastle, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


West Tarr is a vaulted first-floor hall and tower house, likened to Irish early modern towerhouses. Of uncertain date, it is a very small house with a vaulted roof and undercroft, although sections of this undercroft have been destroyed during alterations. Built of limestone rubble with a slate roof, the main room measures 4m x 3m. The original entrances are now blocked. The original fireplace was knocked through to create an external doorway during an unknown period of alteration. Portrayed as part of a group of structures on OS County series (1890). A similar structure stands at Carswell, 0.8km to the east (Nprn21716). (Coflein)

History: West Tarr is mentioned in a document of 1324 (representing a tenth of a knight's fee). The date of the house is unclear, but it is one of an important set of surviving Pembrokeshire mediaeval houses of small size. West Tarr alone has an upper vault. It lacks any defensive character. It has undergone alterations at an unknown date and an extended part of its undercroft vault has been destroyed. The house has been taken into the care of Cadw and its roof restored. Description: A very small house with a vaulted roof and a vaulted undercroft. Limestone rubble with selected larger stones at the corners. The main room is about 4 m long by 3 m wide, with a pointed roof vault about 4 m high. The slate covering of the roof was recently restored. The roof and undercroft vaults both run E/W, parallel to the slope in the ground into which the house is built. There were two original doorways to the main room, both now blocked. One was at the SW corner, and was reached by stairs (of which a fragment survives) from the level of the undercroft. The undercroft vault is of shallow segmental form, and originally extended further W than the limits of the main room above it. The other doorway was an external one at the SE corner, to which there must have been external stairs or a ladder. There was also a slit window in the E wall. There was an original fireplace in the S wall with a slight external projection. In later alterations the original fireplace was broken through to form a doorway leading directly to the high ground S of the house. The original E door was blocked and a new fireplace formed adjacent. A flue was formed in the wall thickness for it. A large window was inserted in the N wall. The extended part of the undercroft W of the main room was demolished. Wall footings, including a pair of bread ovens, extend to the N and probably represent later structures. (Listed Building Report)

the important freeholds at Tarr and Carswell were assessed in 1326 as one tenth of a knight’s fee each, held directly of the Earls of Pembroke, and each possesses a small ‘pele’ tower. (DAT 2001)

The monument consists of the remains of a house measuring 7.5m long, 5m wide, 6.5m high to ridge. It is stone built and consists of two stone vaults, a 2.3m high ground floor flat vault, with a 3.8m high more pointed vault on 1st floor level. The remains of the lateral chimney are scanty, as the upper part has gone, and the lower part has been broken through to provide the first floor entrance. One ground floor end wall has gone, but the position of the stair linking the two floors is clear. Both floors have medieval slit windows. The roof is slate, but in poor condition. Referred to in documents along with Carswell, with which it is closely related. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 09:37:19