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Latitude: 51.7002 / 51°42'0"N
Longitude: -2.901 / 2°54'3"W
OS Eastings: 337830
OS Northings: 200544
OS Grid: SO378005
Mapcode National: GBR J9.450J
Mapcode Global: VH79V.NJQH
Entry Name: The Sessions House including balustraded terrace.
Listing Date: 1 April 1974
Last Amended: 30 April 2004
Source ID: 2154
Building Class: Civil
Location: Towards the S edge of the town, adjacent to the prison.
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
Built 1875-7, architect TH Wyatt, who also built the adjacent gaol over two decades previously. Originally the Quarter Sessions Court for Monmouthshire; previously these had been held in the Market House. Opened in 1877 by Samuel Bosanquet; the Usk Gleaner's report of this date is very critical of the building. One courtroom was destroyed by a fire in 1944 and owing to lack of space the Quarter Sessions moved to Newport, permanently from 1950. The shell of the burned-out court was demolished in 1970. Operated as Magistrates Court until 1995. In 1999 bought by Usk Town Council as civic centre for the town. TH Wyatt, who was the nephew of the Duke of Beaufort's agent undertook a number of commissions in NE Monmouthshire, most notably those connected with the Rolls family and their houses at The Hendre and nearby Llangattock, also Cefntilla at Llandenny and Llandogo Priory.
Court-house in the style of an Italian pavilion. A polychomatic composition of red coursed rock-faced sandstone and pale yellow limestone ashlar. A rectangular single storey building. Symmetrical 5-bay frontage with end bays projecting; the bays defined by rusticated Tuscan pilasters. Deep entablature surmounted by a parapet, balustraded over central entrance bay and flanked by urn finials. Each end bay has a large central round-arched sash window, apron, scrolled keystone, hoodmould and impost band and is flanked by plain pilasters adjacent to the rusticated piers. Glazing is large-pane horned sashes. The entrance bay consists of an arcade of 3 round-headed arches creating a loggia or porch to the wide recessed round-arched doorway with overlight, flanked by round-arched 6-pane windows: scrolled keystones to the arches, plinths and imposts to the dividing pilasters. The intervening bays have 4-pane windows with bracketed pediment heads; inscription plaques below. Similar round-arched windows to side elevation and separate round-arched doorways in rusticated surrounds; S elevation looks directly onto outer prison walls. Slate roof part-hipped mostly not visible behind parapet; central glazed lantern over hall; corniced stack to rear. Curved balustraded terrace at the front of the building.
Entrance doorway opens onto a large central hall off which opens a symmetrical arrangement of passages and doorways. Wide 6-panelled doors, some with painted signs, in grand polished wood doorcases with entablatures. The passages are defined by plaster arches with imposts and keystones; painted dado. The hall is lit by a polygonal panelled roof-lantern. The library has a grey marble fireplace and bookcases housing an important legal library bequeathed by Sir Henry Mather Jackson. Central passage up steps from hall leads to main entrance to Courtroom; this together with separate rear entrance has double swing doors with decorative ironwork. The retains an almost complete set of fittings including panelling and benches, judge's chair, gallery, all with painted labels indicating their use eg counsel, jury, clerk, witnesses. The courtroom is lit by high windows, alternating with blind recesses, all linked by hoodmoulds and impost bands; the wall is canted at 'upper end' with gallery opposite; below the windows are portraits of judges and benefactors. Below the dock is a cell and passageway which once led to Usk Prison next door.
Listed II*as an unusual survival in a small market town of a court retaining its original fittings and layout, built by a notable architect and carefully restored.
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