CONSERVATION of the stone water trough built at Talycoed, Llantilio Crossenny in the 1880s by renowned Monmouthshire historian Sir Joseph Bradney is the tenth project successfully completed by local buildings preservation charity, the Village Alive Trust.

The trough provided drinking water for animals using the former main route between Monmouth and Abergavenny and the structure was listed in 2000 as being of special architectural and historical significance. It was carved from a single block of sandstone and inscribed with a motto in Welsh which translates as Free Water for All.

Sir Joseph Bradney built an impressive home at Talycoed Court after demolishing an existing house previously owned by Crawshay Bailey Junior, son of the iron master. His 12 volume History of Monmouthshire, 1904-1932, set the template for recognising and recording the significance of the county’s vernacular buildings.

Over the decades the trough had been colonised by ivy and the supporting rear wall had fallen into disrepair. The trough’s newest owners, Chris and Zara Duncan, approached the Village Alive Trust for help in tackling the renovation after deeds of a nearby farmstead they purchased revealed the structure was their responsibility.

Support for the conservation project was granted by the Country Houses Foundation, the Community Green Energy Advisory Group Community Benefit Fund (Llanvapley solar farm), the Village Alive Trust and the trough’s owners. Expert stone conservators and a local stonemason carried out the conservation work. Trust volunteer Eric Evans researched and illustrated an interpretative panel which was designed by Art Matters.

The culmination of the successful conservation project was celebrated at an unveiling of the panel by Trust vice president Edward Holland and with a toast of mulled wine. Joining the celebration were neighbours and supporters.

Owners, Zara and Chris, thanked everyone who helped with the year-long venture. Zara said, “We had a really lovely crowd of people in the afternoon, those who had helped and those who live in the hamlet and Talycoed Court. Listening to the talk, memories came out about those who had met at the trough in their teenage years to hang out, those who remembered the hunt stopping there, as well as people who witnessed the neglect and deterioration over the years.

“Thank you to everybody who has’s wonderful to see it now settled in its environment with beautiful views to Offa’s Dyke behind its lovely stonework”.

Details of all the work undertaken by the Village Alive Trust can be found at