After 25 years as a designer in the corporate world, Julie Fortune decided she’d had enough of being her own boss and went to work for two cats called Wooster and Jeeves. They act as general managers at Felin Crewi, in charge of the day-to-day administration of the place and keeping things running smooth and mouse-free.
In this, they are helped by Jack Sparrow the cockerel and his wife, Elizabeth Swan. If you want to arrange an alarm call, speak to Jack Sparrow. (He'll give you one anyway.)
They are all quite fond of the human race, despite what they see on the TV news.
In addition to running the cottages, Julie—a passionate gardener—is engaged in a long-term project to replant and restore the extensive gardens at Felin Crewi into a haven for the already prolific wildlife in the area.
History of Felin Crewi
Felin Crewi started life in the 15th century as a water-powered mill for fulling cloth.
What is 'fulling' you ask? Are you sure you want to know? Well, in the olden days when folk made woollen cloth, it was quite harsh, and before it could be considered wearable, it needed first to be treated with a sort of fabric conditioner. There was only one available at the time. Stale urine, which men and women employed as 'fullers' stamped into the woollen fibres. Hmm. Even in the 15th century, being a fuller was not a popular job, so they replaced the urine with a mineral compound 'fuller's earth' and mechanised the process, using a water wheel to operate a wooden beating contraption. If you know anyone called Fuller, you will know what their family business used to be. But don't tell them.
Richard Wilson (painter)
Meet the most famous landscape painter you've never heard of. His name was Richard Wilson and he was born right here in Felin Crewi in 1714. He’s not a household name these days but he certainly deserves to be. He was the greatest landscape painter Wales has ever produced and also the first painter in the UK to make landscape painting a recognized artform. This was before Constable and Turner popularised landscape painting. In fact, both Constable and Turner acknowledged their indebtedness to him.
At the time in the 18th century, no one bothered much with landscape painting. It was either a portrait of a King or Queen, or Jesus.
Richard Wilson changed all that. He travelled first to London where he studied conventional portraiture. Later he travelled to Italy where the famous painter, Francesco Zuccarelli, suggested he concentrate on landscapes.
He returned home to Wales and excitedly announced that henceforth he was going to paint landscapes. The idea was met with blank faces. Why would anyone want to paint landscapes? So instead of trying to explain, he showed them.
He took pigment and canvas and captured the inexpressible loveliness of the natural world; the sublime majesty of the mountains, the quiet translucence of the evening sky, the hushed peace of the meadows, and vales, the lakes and the plangent evening sky.
He lived in a world that was filled with a silence and tranquility that we can scarce imagine in our frenetic modern life. And he somehow managed to capture it, freeze it in time, and arrest it in colour.
But some people say he did something even more remarkable. They say he managed to capture the world's most soothing sound, one that will become familiar to you when you stay at Felin Crewi. What sound was this? It was the first sound Richard Wilson heard when he entered the world here.
It was the sound of a water wheel gently turning.