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Aberglasney, Llangathen

Description: Aberglasney

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 26 November 1951
Cadw Building ID: 11153

OS Grid Coordinates: 258137, 222136
Latitude/Longitude: 51.8793, -4.0612

Location: Llangathen, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire SA32 8QH

Locality: Llangathen
County: Carmarthenshire
Country: Wales
Postcode: SA32 8QH

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Listing Text

Approximately 300m W of Llangathen church, set in its own grounds on the W side of a minor road between Llangathen and the A40 at Broad Oak.

A medieval house existed at Aberglasney, but it was replaced by a new house c1600 by Bishop Rudd of St Davids, with further work by his son Sir Rice Rudd. It remained the property of the Rudd family until it was sold in 1710 to Robert Dyer, a Kidwelly lawyer and father of the poet John Dyer (1700-58). Robert Dyer built the present entrance range and modified the earlier house, creating a large L-shaped mansion, constituting the N entrance range, the E wing with C17 ogee-stopped beams and a dressed stone doorway and W wing of the present house. Major alteration was possibly made c1781 (or later by Haycock) when the central 5 bays of the entrance range were remodelled to create a double-height hall, which involved replacement of windows and the addition of a lean-to at the rear to house the stair. The E service wing was altered and the 2-storey central section of the S wing added in the late C18, creating a square plan enclosing a small courtyard. Three-storey bays flanking the S wing were added in the 1840s. In 1803 Aberglasney was purchased by Thomas Phillipps and on his death in 1824 passed to John Walters Philipps. Subsequently John Walters Philipps embarked on improvements to the entrance and garden fronts, probably employing Edward Haycock, architect of Shrewsbury. Originally the entrance front had a parapet but this was taken down and a porte cochere was added. In the garden front a loggia was created, then later a bay window was added. Haycock probably also infilled the courtyard by adding lean-tos to the main ranges. Philipps'''''''''''''''' granddaughter, Mrs Marianne Mayhew, later inherited the property and owned it until her death in 1939, although it was not permanently inhabited after 1908. A succession of owners purchased the house in the C20 but it fell into decay, despite a failed attempt at restoration in the 1970s. In the 1980s the porte cochere was dismantled and its columns were offered for sale, prompting renewed interest in the future of the house, culminating in the acquisition and restoration of the house and gardens by the Aberglasney Restoration Trust.

The interior has been largely gutted and retains few of its original fixtures. The late C18 double-height entrance hall retains (from the period of Haycock''''''''''''''''s work) fragments of a plaster cornice, incorporating brackets, egg-and-dart and dentil friezes. A pointed arch opposite the entrance opens into the former stairway, where there is a pointed small-pane sash window. The room on the L-hand side retains fragments of a 3-bay panelled ceiling with ornate cornices.

A Queen Anne house with later Georgian remodelling, comprising a main N entrance range, W wing facing the garden, and service wings to the S and E sides (partly roofless at the time of inspection), enclosing a small central courtyard. The principal elevations are rendered, incorporating rusticated quoins in the W range, the S and W fronts are, at present, exposed rubble stone, with slate roofs and roughcast stacks to the entrance range and W range only. The symmetrical 3-storey entrance range has a 9-bay front, the bays grouped 2+5+2, windows with segmental heads, and plat bands. A porte cochere across the central 5 bays has 4 Ionic columns, and single columns in the outer bays set further back, and reconstructed pediment. [This conceals a round window which still survives from the Queen Anne period design.] The central doorway has an Ionic wooden doorcase and double fielded-panel doors. The flanking bays have tall 2-pane sash windows lighting the entrance hall. The outer bays have 2-pane sash windows in the lower storey. Middle and upper storeys have 12-pane horned sash windows. The L gable end of the entrance range has a gable stack, and 12-pane sash windows lower L and middle R. A small window upper R is blocked.

In the asymmetrical 7-window W garden front the gable end of the entrance range has an offset 2-storey canted bay window, inserted in the 1850s, with balustrade and tripartite 2-pane upper-storey window under a cornice. Further R the windows are grouped 1+3+2. These are sash windows in architraves with segmental heads and cornices, and are larger in the lower storey. Below the central group of 3 windows is a 3-bay loggia comprising keyed round-arches on octagonal columns, in exposed red sandstone. Inside the loggia are a central doorway flanked by square-headed 12-pane sash windows. The R-hand pair of windows are in the gable end of the S service wing, and are offset to the L in the lower 2 storeys, whereas in the upper storey is a single larger blind window.

The S wing comprises a roofless 2-storey 3-window central range with roughcast wall, and single-window 3-storey outer bays which have end stacks. Openings have cambered brick heads. The central doorway and flanking windows are boarded up. The outer bays have, on the L side, broad 16-pane sash windows in the lower and middle storeys, and 12-pane upper-storey window. The R-hand has similar openings, but boarded up in the lower and middle storeys. The E service wing, advanced in front of the gable end of the entrance range, was originally 3-storey but now survives only just above the second storey. It has doorways R and L boarded up. Above the R-hand is a boarded up window, and above the L-hand a 12-pane sash window. In the centre is a boarded-up window at a higher level, and above it 12-pane hornless sash, probably having lit a former stairway.

In the courtyard is an added lean-to against the W and E wings, the latter now roofless, and a lean-to housing the stair built against the entrance range.

Reason for Listing
Listed grade II* as a substantial early C18 country house with important historical associations and for its setting within one of the most important historic gardens in South Wales.

Llangathen Tithe map and apportionment, 1839;
Ordnance Survey, Carmarthenshire sheet XXXIII.14, 1st edition 1887;
Cadw/Icomos, Register of Parks and Gardens in Wales;
Blockley, Kevin and Halfpenny, Ian (eds), Aberglasney House and Gardens: Archaeology, History and Architecture, 2002;
Briggs, C.S., ''''''''''''''''Aberglasney: The theory, history and archaeology of a post-medieval landscape'''''''''''''''', Post-Medieval Archaeology 33, 1999, pp 242-84;
Lloyd, Thomas, The Lost Houses of Wales, 1986, p 63.
Stephens, Meic, The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, 1986, pp 158, 228.
Miles D H and Suggett R F, Vernacular Architecture 30 (1999), p112.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Approximately 300m W of Llangathen church, set in its own grounds on the W side of a minor road between Llangathen and the A40 at Broad Oak.

Source: Cadw

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.