Restoration

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The Old Stables were completely restored by the Tomlinson family over a period of 7 years. Having had experience of restoring a number of the Vale of Glamorgan’s most important medieval buildings, we were able to restore the stables the highest standard. Wherever possible, materials were re-used. The slate slabs from the old dairy became worktops whilst the massive limestone slabs forming the kitchen floor were re-laid in their original positions. The roof timbering was beyond repair but the main truss was saved as a non load carrying feature. Most of the original welsh roof slates were re-used.

Fortunately the stables are founded on rock so the foundations required no attention. In the original layout the hay store (now the kitchen) and the main stable (now the sitting room) were separate buildings. The linking doorway had to be cut through the 500mm thick random rubble wall.

Having previously restored the adjoining Georgian Farm house, Eastfield House and installed and monitored a modern heating system, we were pleasantly surprised how warm the old house actually was.

After some research it became apparent that the traditional method of constructing stone dwellings in this vicinity was very sophisticated and produced dwellings capable of meeting modern insulation standards. This was achieved by leaving numerous air voids within the walls. Whether this started as a method of saving labour and materials who knows, but it certainly produces a warm stone house.

This experience enabled us to convince the local authority that the walls of the Old Stables could achieve the current thermal insulation requirements for all year habitation, without the ghastly internal thermal lining that ruins most barn conversions. The walls are lime washed both internally and externally in the traditional manner. Allowing the walls to breathe and act in the correct manner was a fundamental part of the restoration.

The raised area now forming bathroom and bedrooms were another separate building, or so we thought. The stables were lined with timber, we believe just before the first world war, dated by a car catalogue found behind it.

When the timber lining was removed we made the exciting discovery of the steps and doorway into the adjoining building.

The stonework near the steps had unfortunately spilt from top to bottom, the crack being about 25mm wide and 2 metres long. Fortunately we had experience of the required repair methodology. This involved packing both sides of the crack with rolled newspapers and pouring a neat solution of lime and Portland cement from the top until full.

The hay store which is now the kitchen was almost derelict and had to be substantially rebuilt. The roof slating and timbering were stripped and the slates sorted before re-use. The main timber truss was left as a feature, the new roof being supported off a steel girder.

The stables were originally part of the manor of Llanbleddian and lie alongside an ancient cattle drovers way now called Coxen lane, which is probably a corruption of Oxen Lane. The lane itself has been dated to be at least 1000 years old and may date from the Norman occupation of the area. The Scots pines along the lane are well established drovers markers.