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Latitude: 51.8418 / 51°50'30"N
Longitude: -4.0153 / 4°0'55"W
OS Eastings: 261261
OS Northings: 217836
OS Grid: SN612178
Mapcode National: GBR DV.V2PN
Mapcode Global: VH4J3.CY4X
Entry Name: Derwydd Mansion
Listing Date: 26 November 1951
Last Amended: 27 August 1999
Source ID: 10903
Building Class: Domestic
Location: In private grounds about 2km north-north-west of Llandybie village.
Town: Burry Port
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
Derwydd may incorporate remains of, or stand on the foundations of, a C15 or older house; it was here, in the house of the Tudor knight Sir Rhys ap Thomas, that Henry Tudor was said to have sheltered on the way to Bosworth. In 1550 Derwydd was the house of Rhydderch ap Hywel ap Bedo. The existing house, however, is essentially a later Tudor mansion, a house with a main range north-south and at one time possessing two wings to the west side, towards the road; in 1670 it was described as a house of 18 hearths, making it one of the largest in the County. This house came to Sir Henry Vaughan of Golden Grove by marriage to Sage, grand-daughter of Rhydderch, in 1603. Vaughan was High Sheriff in 1620, knighted in 1632, and died in 1660. The overmantel of the main hall is dated 1644 (the year of his capture at Naseby and commencement of 15 years imprisonment), and incorporates the initials of Henry and Sage Vaughan.
The house passed, again by marriage, to Sir Thomas Stepney of Llanelli in the early C18, and then in the mid C18 to Joseph Gulston and hence to Stepney-Gulston descendants to the present day (1999).
The south wing of the Tudor house was demolished in 1820, leaving the north wing (now the Library) with the main range (the hall or parlour) in truncated form. In 1888 the house was greatly enlarged. To the north side the land was at a considerable elevation, and a north range, the ground storey of which was on a level with the first floor of the old house, was added, more than doubling the volume. At this time the interior planning of the house was radically changed. The exterior was restored to what may have been thought an appropriate Tudor style; the architect of this work was David Jenkins of Llandeilo.
A large irregular house on two levels, rendered overall, and roofed in stone tiles with decorative red ceramic ridge tiles; red brick chimneys. The change of level where the two parts of the house meet is marked by a high retaining wall faced in rubble masonry. The main range of the lower part abuts this retaining wall, the main range of the upper part lies along it, giving the house overall a T plan.
The lower (older) part of the house has its main range oriented north-south. It now faces west. The left forward crosswing abuts the retaining wall upon which stands the higher (Victorian) part of the house. The present entrance to this older part is to the right of the west elevation, close to the present south gable; but an old picture shows there was formerly an entrance close to the crosswing; there is also a former internal doorway (converted to a window) in the south gable. Paired windows in the ground floor of the main range (missing label moulds). Two windows above with label moulds and each with timber mullion and transom. Similar fenestration to the advanced wing. The main entrance door has stained glass with the lettering 'Gulston Anderson 1887'
To the rear of this range (east) the fenestration is generally smaller and more irregularly disposed than in the upper, or Victorian, part of the house. All the openings have Tudor style label moulds. There are three mullion and transom windows, and eight smaller ones with or without mullions; there are also two openings which have survived restoration: a four-centred door arch at the left, and a three-light window with stone mullions and four-centred lights to the right.
The Victorian part of the house extending above the retaining wall is an east-west double range appearing as a single gabled end beside an octagonal block at the east and a double hipped end at the west. There is also a central north gabled crosswing. The gables to north and east have decorative timbering in the form of bracketted collars and V struts with quatrefoil and trefoil piercings in the panels. In both cases there is a boldly projecting two-storey bay window with its own hipped bay roof, framed by the timbering of the gable.
Small gablets are used where chimney stacks occur at eaves. The windows of the octagonal part to the south east and of the bay projections to the north and east gable walls have oolitic limestone surrounds and are of mullion and transom type below and with transoms only above.
The lower part of Derwydd is of exceptional interior interest, containing, in particular, three Jacobean fireplaces of vigorous West Country type.
Direct entrance to the hall, without porch. Double arch to left, screening stairs and service rooms. The hall has a large chimney at the centre of the east side, with a large window recess at left and a former door lobby at right, the latter entered by a stone door arch. Large exposed transverse beams, with a moulded cove to the ceiling panels between. The room is dominated by the large fireplace with its segmental stone bressummer and the fine overmantel of 1644: this displays the Vaughan arms on an oval, upon a large cartouche the edges of which break into scrolls, and on which there is a seraph at top with crossed wings and another below with wings spread. Supporters each side as female griffons the lower parts of which are foliage. Terms each side as pilasters, with fruit in their hair; enriched cornice.
Library in the original north wing: coffered plaster ceiling in four square panels with copious floral enrichment; guilloche ornament to the beam soffits; cornice with egg and dart and an enriched cyma. Lozenge dividers in the panels with central roundels and features. This room also dominated by its fireplace: a fine Jacobean surround and overmantel, partly restored, in dark wood. Bressummer on volute-capped pilasters; the bressummer ornamented with eight circles in a chain with smaller circles; chamfer with run-out stops. Deep shelf with carved edge. Two-stage overmantel: central picture in circle between two panels with arched headed tops; upper stage with four lozenges.
Above the library is the room known as 'the King's Room', otherwise the Drawing Room. Late C17 ceiling and fireplace. Deep frieze and cornice to the ceiling with cartouches and heraldry at intervals, with linking floral trails and little modillions under the cornice. The ceiling itself is plain apart from a central roundel with sprigs of foliage radiating from a central pendant; four features outside the roundel. Fireplace with a thin shelf on thin pilasters; above is an oblong panel with a bayleaf oval, a frieze similar to that of the ceiling, and a rounded pediment with central arms on a cartouche and swags held by putti above the pediment. Rustic figure each side standing on a plinth and within a cove.
The larger bedroom at the south end of the older part of Derwydd is entered by a Jacobean door with an arch-headed top panel above the lock rail and two panels below. This room is plain apart from a ceiling with large coffers, the sides of the beams moulded but not enriched, and a fine Jacobean fireplace. Plain shelf on a plain bressummer, apart from two heads in relief; plain pilasters apart from fluting. Above the shelf is a figure wearing a tunic and sash, with cross bands, and carrying a sword, in a plain niche; to left and right are ramped broken volutes with swags of foliage and fruit carried from the top volute eyes. Pilasters each side with inverted bay branches; enriched entablature above with pulvinated frieze.
In the corridor between the latter room and the King's Room are two late C17 doors with broad panels. In the older part of the house there is exposed roof timbering.
A fine feature of the 1888 alterations to Derwydd is the Tudor style staircase. This rises from the inner hall, the space behind the arcade at the north of the main hall. At the head of the main flight is a quarter landing, with a lesser flight ahead to the upper hall on the first floor and a side flight to the corridor of the older part of the house. A separate staircase of similar detailed design commences in the upper hall and in three flights with quarter landings rises to the upper storey of the newer part of the house. Dark hardwood staircases with moulded handrails swept to meet newels; turned balusters; carved newels with turned finials; broad strings with quatrefoil sinkings on the outer face; triple curtail steps. Integral with this design is panelling to staircase dadoes and cupboards, in similar wood, arcading on the upper floor, and stone arcading in Perpendicular style forming a side lobby to the lower staircase.
Listed at II* as a substantial Tudor mansion, albeit reduced from its original ambitious scale, retaining C17 interiors of exceptional quality and completeness, and with C19 additions which reinterpret the architectural theme.
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