We always felt the name The Old Vicarage was both confusing (it no longer has any association with the church) and inappropriate (most of its existence was as a manor house). We could not restore its most persistent name (Aberannell) because it is now the name of the neighbouring farm. Local researcher and poet Ruth Bidgood, in her book on the history of the Church in Beulah, outlined the development of the two estates, Aberannell and Llwyn Madoc. She concluded that the 17th century recorded name Tyrannel, probably derived from either Tir Annel (tir = parcel of land) or Ty’r Annel (ty = house), is very likely the oldest name for the original dwelling. We decided upon Tyrannell as it reflects the current spelling for the river. Local folk pronounce the final ‘ll’ as a gentle Welsh ‘ch’, rather as in the composer Bach, and with the emphasis on the ‘a’.
Not surprisingly, the house is located a few hundred meters from where the Annell joins the Cammarch; hence aber Annell. The house is sited next to the river where it emerges from a dingle so the house backs on to rising ground but is fronted by the level ground formed by the meadows of the Annell and Cammarch. Behind are the Cambrian mountains and to the front the wide Irfon valley with the Eppynt mountains in the distance. It is a very sheltered location.
The house is in the Georgian style but with somewhat overt Victorian modifications concerned with raising the height of the upper floors and generally improving headroom. The construction date of the first half of the 18th century suggested by CADW is for the current ground plan, only slightly changed by later modifications and the Victorian ‘improvements’. However, the construction was more likely a consolidation and improvement of one or more existing buildings with incorporation of a hall house suggested by a free-standing central chimney and a full height cellar with outside access.
Apart from the coach house (Ty’r Goets) all the outbuildings are new – steel framed with wood or stone cladding. The coach house is the east end of a longer building that joins on to a large old barn. It is now separated by an internal brick wall, the rest being part of Aberannell farm. The new buildings, with the coach house, form a continuous structure attached to the kitchen extension of the house.
The grounds cover nearly three acres in total and include a lake, stable yard, lawns, woodland, shrubbery, walled garden, potager and orchard – all on a small scale, of course!
Our potager is a reasonably large vegetable garden round which Ivor is building a wall at head height to maintain calm conditions and protect the produce from rabbits. Currently we maintain 12 raised beds and grow seasonal crops such as varied salads through to beans, pumpkins and potatoes.
The lake is artificial and dates back to at least the 19th century and was used to keep fish for the table – a stew pond.