During the 15th and 16th century Snowdonia was wild, lawless and sparsely populated. The crude houses with turf roofs and earthen floors provided little more than basic shelter for the inhabitants. According to legend "Ty Hyll", the "Ugly House", was built in 1475 by two outlaw brothers. It was a "Ty Un Nos" or "House of the Night". It was said that he who could build a rough house overnight and have smoke coming from the chimney by dawn could claim the land freehold. The boundary of his little estate could be further extended by the distance that he could throw his axe from the four corners of his new dwelling. A lonely secluded spot would be chosen, all materials assembled, friends summoned to help and at sunset the work commenced. It is suspected that some poetic licence was allowed and it was sufficient if the walls were roughly built and smoke was coming out of a hastily improvised chimney.
in those days was hard, primitive and, by our standards, unbelievably
uncomfortable. Outlaws and their associates were at the bottom rung
of the economic ladder. The one room would often be shared with the
family pig or even a cow, a few hens might be in another comer.They
would be almost totally dependent on their own resources for food with
the occasional walk over the mountains to Llanrwst on Fair Day to buy
basic necessities that they could not produce themselves. Furniture
would be virtually non-existent, a roughly made table, a couple of stools
and a bench or two, some straw or bracken pallets and sacks in a comer
would act as bedding. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century
the little dark house hidden in dense woodland had a sinister reputation.
it provided an isolated hide-out for thieves and vagabonds. It gave
them easy access across the ford and over the stepping stones to the
road from Betws-y-Coed to Bangor on the other side of the river, little
more than a cart-track in those days. The occasional coach and lonely
traveller were waylaid, relieved of their valuables and the thieves
disappeared into the thick woods.
Snowdonia Group (www.snowdonia-information.co.uk)mailing
in order to receive the latest deals and activity information.