TY MAEN CORN BARN
The Ty Maen, "Corn Barn", built around 1790 – 1810. To store the corn produced in the Afan Valley on any field that would grow it, there was a grave shortage of corn, wheat, and barley, claimed to be due to the Napoleonic Wars but far more likely due to a succession of poor harvests from 1792 to 1801.
These resulted in the “CORN RIOTS” when prices more than doubled; hitting those classes most dependant on corn for their daily subsidence. 
Demonstrations and disturbances broke out in many parts of Wales (and the rest of Britain) with the South hardest hit. In 1801 at Swansea, the riot act was read to a crowd of women and children demanding corn at reasonable prices. In other parts of the country, the militia were even ordered to load their muskets to fend off demonstrators. All in all, this was not a happy time here or in other parts of the country three times between 1795/1801 the export of grain was prohibited to placate the starving nation.
Unrest due to this, then the implementation of the Corn Laws of 1804, ensured civil unrest right up to the 1820’s. It is no surprise therefore that this barn and others like it were built around this time.
The Barn itself is built of local stone, but the standard of building is superior to that of the surrounding ones, suggesting it may well have been built by the local Estate. During the course of excavation and restoration, several roof tile fragments were discovered, two of which had the inscription: — "BROWNE & CO, BRIDGWATER". Enquiries revealed that the firm was still in existence, and at the time of construction, they had six works on the banks of the River Parrott, their records confirm exports by sailing ship to South Wales. The Barn has two rooms, the larger one being a THRESHING FLOOR and Storage space, and the smaller one being a cattle shed. Note that the western door is wider than the eastern one in order to create a differential in pressure using the prevailing wind; this will create sufficient draft to blow the chaff away.
A number of pottery fragments found together beneath the rear of the barn, where there is a one-metre gap to keep the damp out,were reconstructed to form a bowl 6" in diameter. This was taken to Swansea Museum and identified as Swansea ware, and was hailed as the first known almost complete example of its type, as it was so common at the time of manufacture that no complete ones had been kept.




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