The Vaughan family abandoned Tretower Court shortly after 1700. So began its slow decline under a series of tenant farmers.
Rooms once graced by lords and ladies suffered the ultimate indignity – they became a home for pigs. Tretower was in a truly sorry state when it was bought for the nation in 1934.
The original conservation effort lasted for four long decades and saved the fabric of the buildings. In 2010 a further major restoration by Cadw brought the interiors vibrantly to life.
Now all the rooms of the west range – from the medieval kitchen, buttery and pantry to Sir Roger Vaughan’s great hall – are equipped as they would been in their 1460s heyday.
Every piece of furniture and all the furnishings, even the pots and pans in the kitchen, are modern replicas. All especially made. All based on authentic 15th-century evidence.
Under the glorious wooden roof of the great hall Sir Roger’s high table is laid with the finest linen and tableware. Look out for the impressive oak dresser and a cupboard painted in green earth or ‘terre verte’. It’s adorned with the strange heraldic device of the Vaughan family – a boy with a snake around his neck.
Most eye-catching of all is the painted cloth behind the high table. It depicts four scenes from the eventful lives of the Vaughans, starting with the battle of Agincourt in 1415 and ending with the siege of Harlech Castle in 1468.
No ordinary family. But then Tretower is no ordinary home. This wonderful group of medieval buildings is one of the most rewarding discoveries in Wales.