When Welsh chairmaker John Brown put down roots in Pembrokeshire, Wales, he and his wife, Anne, lived in two railway cars – Fyffes Banana wagons – that had transported fruit around the U.K. up until the 1950s.
The railway cars were used as living spaces for many years, until the 1990s when they fell into disrepair. But now Anne and David Sears have fixed them up and turned them into a lovely place to stay on their grounds that is near Newport, a nice seaside town, and Carningli mountain, Tycanol woods and Bluestone Brewery.
I’ve spent a few days at Pantry Fields while working with Chris Williams on his book “Good Work,” and can attest that the plot of land is gorgeous. A serene and green spot of great beauty.
It also is an important landmark for those who appreciate Welsh stick chairs. John Brown wrote his book “Welsh Stick Chairs” there and built his chairs inside an addition to the original house. (Which is now Anne’s studio.)
The grounds also include David’s workshop (he is JB’s nephew), where he makes furniture, bread, beer and other good things. They also have a showroom of the articles they produce at Pantry Fields, including Anne’s pottery, David’s furniture and the illustrations of Sally Seymour (Anne’s mother).
The price is very reasonable for the space in the railway cars. Details are here.
Even if you have no interest in stick chairs, Pantry Fields is a lovely place to visit. And if you want to plan the ultimate trip to Wales, with stops at St Fagans National Museum of History and Tim Bowen Antiques, then staying at Pantry Fields is a must and a privilege.
As always, I have no affiliation. I just love the people and the place.
— Christopher Schwarz
2 thoughts on “Stay at Pantry Fields, Where John Brown Built His Chairs”
That photo of John Brown in his workshop … it’s a very good picture. He is at home, relaxed. One gets a sense of the man. I cannot but admire his style — those shoes! Is that a custom knee-pad in his right trouser leg?
I find pictures of other peoples workshops very interesting. Must be the voyeur in me … what tools they have at the ready, and how they have shaped their surroundings … I really enjoyed this little peek. Thanks!
We went St Fagens last spring on your recommendation via Megan. Got there when it opened and stayed till they told us it was time to leave. Every docent was kind, patient and answers to our questions were everything we hoped for and more. A must see place, We hope to go back in the fall and will try to visit the other places as well.
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