Black Poplars were regularly used by medieval housebuilders and cartmakers: when split, branches made perfect crucks for cruck barns.
Rhys Jones takes cuttings and, right, an old cruck barn made using black poplar
Fortunately Cadw will be contributing to the renovation costs, as Gwastad is recognised as one of the most important early farms in West Wales, retaining early oak crucks
, panelling and two immense back fireplaces.
The room was once dark and gloomy but we put extra windows in and there are now huge swathes of oak crucks
that were previously covered with layers of plaster and a balcony around 12 feet up wraps around the room, leading to the bedrooms.
And Stewart attributes some of this to the house itself, which seemed to communicate to them that it was full of hidden treasures such as beams, crucks
, inglenooks and stonework.
There are four pairs of curved crucks
, creating a house of three bays.
had to be repaired by fashioning huge nails, the size of a broom handle, out of local oak.
With the thatch went the ancient crucks
and wickerwork chimney hoods.
It is believed that each pair of crucks
was made from the same tree.
The original oak crucks
and roof was raised and the roof re-thatched in wheat straw with gorse underthatch.
Surprisingly each of the crucks
and roof timbers carried carved letters and numbers, a sort of 18th century DIY instructions kit.