‘Ty Non’ means House of Rhiannon in colloquial Welsh (we are a Welsh-English family, see also my Rhiannon research). ‘Ty Non’ is the name I registered in 2011 because she deserves more than “no. 63” and that year the property had been split into three separate no. 63 dwellings which was confusing.
There are centuries of history before my time and I have barely begun to discover their stories.
See Page 1 for introduction, photos, P. 2 letting info, prices. P. 3 disability info.
Originally the house was two tiny neighbouring peasant cottages. The present hallway would have been unroofed, an open passageway in between for a cart and mule to go through to the back. The ground would be packed earth. The homes themselves would be just single rooms, the current front room, with its ancient beams. A kitchen hut would be out in the yeard at the back as far from the living room and stable as possible, for fire safety. Later another floor would be added above.
The next stage would be a successful farmer trader acquiring the other cottage to make a single, larger establishment, and roofing the passage between. Possibly one cottage was used for stabling and children, the other for adults and guests.
The grand moment came when Henry VIII closed the monasteries. Glastonbury Abbey one f the oldest in the land, came to an end, and its rebel abbot was hung on the Tor. The Abbey grounds were ripe pickings and our ancestor pulled off a major deal.
The entire front of the building with both sides, two big stone windows, and the doorway in the middle, is all Abbey stone. Up the High St. the huge wagons came, lugged by a long team of mules. On the joined flatbeds of the carts lay the enormous stone front you can see today. This could not have been done secretly so I think there was some kind of official who was paid to allow it. Going by some of my own larger building projects I expect there was an interested crowd follwing the wagons, with ale in hand and laughter.
A nervous stage would follow when raising the great stones into place, the crowd intent and silent then a big cheer as each part was settled. The proud owner, a sturdy woman perhaps a widow, or an equally ambitious wife and man together, would be watching anxiously, joining in with the heaving at the difficult moments.
Cheers break out as each part is set in place and the wooden scaffolding removed. Ty Non, more or less as we know it, was born. The hall also acquired its massive pink marble flagstones, probably taken from the Abbey nave.
There is a long gap after that. In the mid. 20thC Nikolaus Pevsner ,a WWII Saxon emigre from Hitler’s Germany, travelled the counties of England, listing almost all their historical buildings. For the large buildings he gave detail taken by visiting inside. But for the small buildings like Glastonbury High St. he merely walked past, and noted them. So he listed no. 63 (now Ty Non) as 16thC from its Abbey stone. He never saw the much earlier 14thC remains in the roof attic which my John discovered when he climbed up there.
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, (1958) My thanks to John Davies who describes an entire thatched roof still there, resting on early mediaeval beams. These show marks of adze working, a tool used before the saw was invented, a fascianting datum John knows as an ex-Planning Officer. This adze evidence is how we know the building dates at least back to the 1300s. There is likely to have been a dwelling before that. However the thatching layer will be fairly recent, adding thick insulation to the roof. At some point a tiled roof was simply laid on top of it.
In 2010 the property was purchased by a developer, who built two new cottages in the big garden. All three were named no. 63 which caused confusion so when I bought the original cottage at the front, I registered it as “Ty Non”.
My mother Barbara had just died leaving me half the value of her London flat. She would have loved Ty Non so I felt happy to buy it with her money. She was always renovating old properties, including a beautiful early mediaeval house way out in the Spanish mountains.The front room at Ty Non reminds me of her home so I feel her here even though she never saw it.