MAES MYNACH, Cilcennin, Ceredigion 2015

Notes on MAES MYNACH, Cilcennin, Ceredigion 2015

I fancied a walk and saw on the O/S map that there was a property here but wasn’t too sure if anything would remain. Thankfully it did. A few exposese were made, the wind blew hard and I was worried it may cause the camera set upon the tripod to move but other than a few blurred bracnhes, the photographs came out well… Some of the hardwoods had recently been chopped back… the barns and stables have fared a little better than the house. Maes Mynach seemed to me to be much dilapidated and long ruined and I could find nothing about it on either the internet or in books. Once home I loaded the colour photographs onto the website and the next day received an email – please read on…

Dear Paul - I return to your lovely website often, and today''s visit is especially emotional for me. I rented Maes Mynach, Cilcennin from late 1976 to 1981. In those days it was still habitable (electric, water piped in from a spring) and I was young and fit enough to bear the cold, the draughts, the Elsan ... Nice to see my green paint on the back door is still holding up! The landlord, Sylvan Jones, whose farmhouse was down in Talsarn, was very emotionally attached to the place, and would invariably effect repairs, however botched, when slates blew off. Sadly, he died in the yard sometime in the 1980s when his old Fergie tractor overturned and crushed him at Maes Mynach. The house and outbuildings were inherited by daughter and son-in-law: the latter’s first action was to punch out the doors and windows to render the place uninhabitable (although, to be absolutely fair, the blizzard at the end of 1981 that forced my departure had already done a lot of damage). I regard my 5 years in this crumbling and exposed house as a pivotal period in my life, and it still figures in my dreams to this day. It's incredibly sad to see it in this ruinous state ... how I loved this house and my time there. It was once a grange farm connected to Strata Florida Abbey, and the existing building would certainly not have been the first one on the site. It also has intriguing musical links: the early 1970s rock band Heads Hands & Feet (including world-famous guitarist Albert Lee) lived there for a few months in 1973, and the sleeve of their LP Old Soldiers Never Die (1974) has photos taken at the house ... I'm also a musician/songwriter and, oddly enough, am about to release a retrospective CD of songs, some of which were either written at Maes Mynach or are influenced by my time there. So finding your photographs this morning is serendipitous and emotional for me. I have a number of photos of the house taken around 1980/81, plus a couple taken shortly after the 2nd World War, when Sylvan''s elderly spinster aunt lived there with her animals ... Andrew Hawkey.
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MAES MYNACH, Cilcennin, Ceredigion 2015

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