Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament House, Machynlleth

Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament House (Welsh: Senedd-dy Owain Glyndŵr) was traditionally the building where Owain Glyndŵr held a parliament after being crowned Prince of Wales in 1404. The origins of this structure are probably later. The existing building may be 15th century in origin, but has been extensively rebuilt particularly by David Davies of Llandinam who purchased it in 1906. It was opened on 20 February 1912 to provide a social centre for the town. The present rubble exterior is an interpretation of its C15 appearance probably by the architect Frank Shayler, who may also have designed the adjacent Glyndŵr Institute.

Location

In the centre of the town. Set into a continuous row of frontages midway along Heol Maengwyn, opposite the entrance to Plas Machynlleth and to the left of the Owain Glyndwr Institute.

History

In about 1813 the artist Edward Pugh visited Machynlleth and in 1816 he published a fine coloured lithograph of Parliament House. He provides the following description of the building Owen Glyndwr held his parliament here: and the house is still in being in which he and his adherents assembled. Its exterior appearance is barn like, and it is now used as a granary, etc, with the exception of one end, which is occupied as a miserable dwelling-house. Its interior exhibits great age: at the back is a flight of stone stairs in ruins, leading into the great room, in which there are carved ribs etc, in timber

Architecture of the Parliament House

The Parliament House, Machynlleth, is a substantial and remarkably complete hall-house sited parallel to the main road which approaches the town from the east. The hall-house has a four-unit plan: storeyed outer room of two bays, open passage (2 bays between partition trusses), open hall (3 bays with dais-end partition), and a storeyed inner-room of two bays . The carpentry is refined: purlins and ridge are tenoned into the trusses. The principal rafters of each truss are unusually shaped (‘extruded’) to receive the tenoned collar. In the hall the purlins are moulded with two tiers of windbraces (replaced), and the truses have shaped feet. The upper-end truss is set forward from the dais partition to form a shallow canopy. The site is traditionally associated with Owain Glyndwr’s Parliaments of 1402 and 1404, and was restored and extended in 1911 as a library and institute commemorating Glynd’r. Tree-ring dating from timber in the building shows that it was felled in 1470 which is two generations later than the parliaments, but the origins of this substantial and important house may be considerably older. The interior is now an exhibition centre.

Frieze by Murray Urquhart

One of the most important features of the Parliament House is a mural by the Scottish artist Murray McNeel Caird Urquhart (1880–1972) showing scenes from the life of Owain Glyndŵr. It comprises a series of 4 large panels depicting scenes in the life of Owain, in particular the Battle of Hyddgen, fought on the slopes of nearby Pumlumon in June 1401. The mural was painted by Urquhart between 1912 and 1914. Urquhart trained in Edinburgh, London and Paris.

The Glyndŵr Institute

Nos. 80–88 Heol Maengwyn. Listed Grade II in November 1990 Next to the Parliament House. Dated 1911 and built for Lord Davies of Llandinam who bought two cottages on the site in 1909. Probably designed by Frank Shayler, architect of Shrewsbury who undertook other similar work for Lord Davies. Serves as a civic building including Tourist Office. An L-plan black and white Tudor revival building. Slate roof and stone chimney stacks. Three bay front with broad bracketed gable to left. Two storey porch advanced to centre with similar gable treatment. Overhanging eaves and garlanded rainwater head. Diamond leaded glazed windows with mullions and transoms to left. Cross framed oriel window and pediment over the segmental arched entrance with boarded and studded door. Similar construction to left hand side with a three-storey tower midway along with a pyramidal roof and tall weathervane. Gable immediately to right and a double jettied gable to left, carried to left on a low cylindrical column. Pointed arch doorway to tower.Inside a dog-leg staircase has a stone handrail partly carved. Some half-timbered walls. There is a stone fireplace with half round columns to ground floor.

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