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Latitude: 51.7726 / 51°46'21"N
Longitude: -2.6927 / 2°41'33"W
OS Eastings: 352300
OS Northings: 208445
OS Grid: SO523084
Mapcode National: GBR FM.ZDPK
Mapcode Global: VH871.8PTY
Entry Name: The Argoed
Listing Date: 15 July 1993
Last Amended: 28 February 2001
Source ID: 2892
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Set in its own landscaped grounds about 600m south of Penallt (Pentwyn) with magnificent views to the east. Reached from the west drive, close to the fork in the by-road to Tregagle.
Community: Trellech United
Locality: Penallt (Pentwyn)
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
The late C16 and early C17 building survives at the core of the present house which is largely the product of an enlargement after 1865. Some mid C20 restoration reusing C16 and C17 detail. The Argoed was originally owned by the Probert family, who moved from Pant-glas at Llanishen. Christopher Probert built the first house in the late C16, and it was then remodelled in early C17 by Sir George Probert. In 1865 it was bought by Richard Potter who, in that year, resigned as Chairman of the Great Western Railway, and immediately began a major remodelling and considerable enlargement of the house, which gave it most of the character that it has today. His daughter Beatrice Webb was a social reformer and founder member of the Fabian Society which led to the development of socialism in Britain; her wide circle of friends who came to stay at The Argoed included George Bernard Shaw, who is said to have done some writing here. The fine grounds were largely laid out by the Potter family, although the ha-ha may be earlier. It was sold in 1897 and has since had various owners including, 1985-90, Led Zeppelin musician Robert Plant. The present owners have given the house and grounds a full refurbishment since 1990.
Stone-built country house of informal plan; mostly two storeys, but with an attic storey at the south east end. The earliest parts (to the centre of the south west side) are rubble-fronted, while the later C19 work is coursed with quoins; Welsh slate roof with ridge tiles, and stone chimney stacks with moulded caps. The main south west front is stepped and comprises two gables to the centre, the left hand one is set forward, has three windows on the upper floor and contains the staircase. The windows are 6 over 6 pane sashes apart from the stair window which is 6 over 6 with a radiating head above, the keystone is carved with the Probert family crest. It has the modern entrance with a part glazed door wirh a radiating fanlight over, and a cut-down chimney stack. The lower, one window, gable to the right is set back and has an attic window plus a former entrance; 6 over 6 pane sashes on the ground and first floor and a 3 x 3 window in the attic gable, the first floor window has a wrought iron balcony. To the left of these gables is a vertical joint beyond which the front has a further two windows, a 9 over 9 sash and a 2 x 2 casement below and 6 over 6 sashes above, gable stack to the left. Behind this wing the kitchen wing also has sash windows and a tall chimney.
To the right, stepped forward at the south east end, is a taller, two window, block with half-hipped roof and round-headed attic window. This end, which is wholly c1865, has sash windows with marginal glazing bars.
The right hand end elevation has a broadly splayed bay with similar, marginal glazed, sash windows and another window beside over a stone porch with ball finials and coat of arms to the parapet; half-glazed door. Wall-mounted sundial above to left.
The long garden-front elevation to the north east begins at the south east end with the taller Victorian block, there is a projecting gable with a further round-headed attic window. There is an additional window to the right on the first floor only. Set back between this and the central half-hipped projection are two windows (horned to first floor) flanking a similar stone porch but this one has a reused iron fireback with a secondary date of 1647 and a massive, reused, piece of Jacobean strapwork carving, probably originally an overmantel; the fireback has the royal coat of arms and may commemorate a visit by Charles II, then Prince of Wales. The two window, half-hipped block projecting to centre is largely of original fabric and has a semi-circular attic window and 6 over 6 pane sashes. Two three window section to the right, this is the back of the kitchen wing described before, and then a parallel single storey range continuing beyond the north west end of the building; attached outbuildings.
Terraced forecourt with urns to stone walls; stable range to north-west.
Entrance is onto the staircase hall with moulded and stop-chamfered beams. The stairs are renewed, but in character, with pierced splat balusters; this and the first floor landing has massive turned piers which are moulded in the same manner as the stanchions in the stable range. The first floor corridor has late C16/early C17 wainscotting and a guilloche frieze; similar guilloche pattern repeated vertically beneath timber bracket at the top of the stairs. One first floor room has moulded joists and wall-panelling which includes a reused and richly carved bed tester.
Only the ground floor rooms were seen at resurvey and the description is otherwise taken from the listing description of 1993. The ground floor rooms are a late C20 refurbishment of the Victorian house, but with an entirely new kitchen etc.
Listed II* for its special interest as a small, mostly Victorian country house set in fine grounds which has exceptional historic associations with the Fabian Society.
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