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Castle House, Usk

Description: Castle House

Grade: I
Date Listed: 16 February 1953
Cadw Building ID: 2128

OS Grid Coordinates: 337753, 201088
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7046, -2.9009

Location: Castle Parade, UskMonmouthshire NP15 1SD

Locality: Usk
County: Monmouthshire
Country: Wales
Postcode: NP15 1SD

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Listing Text

Location
Situated on the hillside a little NE of Usk town centre and below the Castle; surrounded by gardens and farmland.

History
Gatehouse of C14, 1368-99. For many years the residence of the steward of the lordship. In C17 belonged to Thomas Herbert, county sheriff in 1673.The C19 house was constructed against and partly incorporating it on the line of the retaining wall to the outer ward. Its present appearance is mainly mid C19. The original entrance to the outer bailey was probably at N end of Castle House adjacent to the town rampart. Map of 1800 shows the gatehouse but not the later residential wing. Owned by the Humphreys family in C20 who have created a garden within the Castle; some extensions to house made between World Wars.

Interior
Interior plan reflects the two main building periods and adaptation of levels. In effect the residential wing, now the main house, on the higher garden terrace wraps round the deeper gatehouse, the axis of the two ranges at right angles to each other and with not much connection in the living space between the two. Steep stairs lead up from lower floor gatehouse doorway to level of this cross wing. The cellar of the house, level with lower storey of gatehouse, has a chamfered door head. Main living room occupies the S end bay of the later wing. Hall and landing run axially through the range with kitchen at N end - range by James of Monmouth. The stairs rise close behind gatehouse with landing balustrade. Upper room over porch was for portcullis. Access to this roof space from house shows two roof-frames of differing dates for the porch. A-frame trusses with 3 rows of purlins visible in top floor ceiling of house.

Exterior
An important house, the former castle gatehouse incorporated into a C19 house forming a rough L-shape to the principal complex. The former gatehouse faces S and is part of a projecting wing which, set into the hillside, has a lower ground floor than the upper range extending E/W across a terrace. Lime-rendered stone rubble with slate roof. Central pointed stone archway set within a rectangular corbelled shallow recess; at first floor is an oriel window with cross framed (C20) glazing and pitched roof; further corbelling to slightly jettied second floor which has a rectangular cross-framed window in apex with square hoodmould; scalloped bargeboard to the overhanging eaves. Inside the open porch, stairs rise to rear under a chamfered two-ordered arch with portcullis slot, to doorway in right side; walls of unrendered stone rubble and vaulted narrow-stone roof. The corbel table extends round the gatehouse sides; right tall lateral stack of blue brick. The higher cross range shares the same eaves level; the slate roof is swept and with overhanging eaves; a small dormer is incorporated; narrow corniced end stacks of coursed dressed stone. At the right junction of the two wings is a long narrow pointed-arched staircase window of leaded quarry glazing with Gothick pointed arched glazing at head under an arched hoodmould. Two upper floor windows: one with 3 lights of quarry panels, one smaller and rectangular; one 16-pane casement below, all with square-headed hoodmoulds. Chamfered stone rectangular cellar opening. To left, the gable end of cross range is close to the side of the gatehouse The former has asymmetrical windows at 2 levels, including a wide inserted C20 window to the main living room; two narrow stone strings to the gable. Deep square recess to gatehouse at intermediate level. Stepped down to E is a lower wing with small-slate roof, swept and overhanging eaves and casement windows under timber lintels, at three levels to gable end. The garden (S) elevation now houses the main entrance. The main unit is of limewashed stone; roof has small gabled dormer and overhanging eaves and tall tooled-stone stacks. Three first floor windows all with heavy hoodmoulds: cross-framed and long to right, over a C20 glazed conservatory; paired multipane segmental-arched casements to left over a single storey lean-to bay from which projects a later wide gabled stone porch with cambered-headed stone lintel to doorway and narrow stone kneelers. To left casement windows and lean-to to the lower range. Attached to right a later single storey tiled roof wing with brick surrounds to arched windows

Reason for Listing
Listed Grade I as a major historic building, in particular the importance of its medieval gatehouse.

References
Bradney Sir J, A History of Monmouthshire, Vol 3 part I, 1921;
Mein AG, Norman Usk, 1986;
Newman J, Gwent/Monmouthshire, Buildings of Wales series, 2000, p 592;
Coxe's map of Usk 1800.

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.

Notes:
Situated on the hillside a little NE of Usk town centre and below the Castle; surrounded by gardens and farmland.

Source: Cadw

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




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