History in Structure

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A Grade II* Listed Building in Talley, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.9928 / 51°59'33"N

Longitude: -3.995 / 3°59'41"W

OS Eastings: 263120

OS Northings: 234581

OS Grid: SN631345

Mapcode National: GBR DW.JMQ5

Mapcode Global: VH4HJ.P5WP

Entry Name: Edwinsford

Listing Date: 26 November 1951

Last Amended: 1 March 1995

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 15766

Building Class: Domestic

Location: The mansion is reached at the end of a short driveway off the B4337 1 km SE of Llansawel.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Talley (Talyllychau)

Community: Talley

Locality: Llansawel

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Very ancient seat of Williams family who sold it in 1970. Rambling mansion with complicated building history. The earliest part is the square block to the S side of the front, built c1635 as Edwinsford Uchaf. The present central block followed in c1670 as Edwinsford Isaf, a separate unit, touching the older house only at its SE corner. The patron of the latter was probably Sir Rice Williams, High Sheriff in 1680. Some remodelling occured c1710 when lead statues of Hermes (removed) were placed along the roof. The dormers to the central block appear to date from this period. A large dining room and service block filled the angle between the two houses in 1842 for Sir James Hamlyn Williams. Finally, in 1863, the tall drawing room block was added for Sir James Williams-Drummond, along with a corridor range and porch in front of the central block.


Long irregular front of several units, best treated as such. Prominent c1635 square block to left. Rubble built (formerly stuccoed), 2 storey. Sprocketted stone-tiled hipped roof, wooden bracketted cornice. 2 small hipped dormers with slated returns and bracketted cornices. 2-light 24-pane leaded casements, partially intact to left. The main cornice and dormers are late C18/early C19, replacing 2 full gables shown on Paul Sandby's engraving of 1776. Central rendered chimney stack divided into 6 flues with continuous plinth and tabling. The plan of the block is of an exact square, the rooms gathered around the central stack, incorporating fireplaces facing each external wall. These Renaissance type plans are rare in Wales, especially those as fully fledged as this. A dated example is Trimley Hall, Llanfynydd (Flints.) of 1653. The RCHM found quarter-round mouldings on an interior partition, which suggested the date of C1635. 3-window symmetrical front. Cambered heads to windows and doors, stone voussoirs and sills. 12-pane hornless Victorian sashes to ground floor, similar slightly taller sashes to first floor. Central doorway. Inserted doorway to extreme left, opening lowered with timber lintel. Similar sashes to N 2-window elevation. Earlier sash to first floor left, 12-pane, hornless with thick glazing bars.

To left is the ruined service wing, rubble walls, formerly 2 storey. Above to the extreme left is a small single storey late C19 latrine wing with pointed windows to return and rear walls; brick dressings.

Set back to the right of the 1630s block is the long late C17 range, formerly Edwinsford Isaf. This was given a new front containing corridors in 1863 - much of this front has collapsed, revealing the C17 front and isolating the 1863 porch. Rubble wall to 5-window 2 storey C17 block. Stone tiled steeply pitched roof, large rendered gable stack to left with panelled sides, plinth and moulded tabling. Again, the plan-type is important, consisting of two main rooms on each floor about a central stairwell-an early example of a central circulation house. First floor as shown by Sandby. Central round arched window with 2 rectangular ones each side, timber lintels. 2 ground floor windows. Most of the windows were blocked during the C19 remodelling. Dormers as shown by Sandby, probably from the early C18. Large central dormer with remodelled half-hipped roof, central 2-light casement (formerly leaded). Leaded fanlight above with radiating glazing. Similarly glazed spandrels. Flanking lights with swept heads and similar glazing, timber fluted scrolls above. Smaller dormers flanking each with a stone tiled hipped roof, bracketted cornice and 2-light casement. Remnants of 1860s wall in front with window to ground floor left, partly linking to the large 2-storey porch of 1863. Stuccoed; the flat roof, balustrade and chimneys have disappeared. 3-bay classical front with superimposed pilasters between bays and to corner returns. Astylar pilasters to first floor with full entablature. Buckled pilasters below with facetted blocks. Narrow segmentally-headed end windows to both storeys, similar wider upper central window. Central round arched doorway with moulded head and impost; keystone. Return elevations to porch with moulded string at first floor level; corbelled chimney breasts. Segmentally headed window below right hand chimney, 4-light transome and mullion with sashes, ogee heads.

Rear elevation of 1670s block. 2-storey Victorian canted bay window to left with remains of 4-light casements, 2-pane sashes to reveals. Original round-arched window opening to centre, formerly lighting stairs. Wide ground floor window to right with cambered brick head and remains of tripartite sash. Victorian 12-pane hornless sash above. 3 dormers with hipped roofs and slated returns, sash to central dormer.

To the right is the taller single bay 2 storey drawing-room block of 1863. Rubble walls (formerly rendered). Hipped slate roof. Tall stepped end stacks with moulded cornices. Ground floor canted bay windows, ashlar jambs; moulded cornice. Paired first floor windows, segmental heads, each with a 4-light timber transome and mullion (sash openings), with ogee heads. Large gabled dormer above with moulded bargeboard, taller window as below. Right hand return elevation with two ground floor windows, brick cambered heads and reveals; frame as above.

Rear elevation of drawing room block as front, but with rectangular ground floor bay window with pierced terracotta balustrade.

Projecting dining room block of 1842 to right of rear elevation. Rubble walls, 2 storey. Low pitched slate roof, wide eaves. Wide arch of former bay window, cambered head, stone voussoirs. 2 first floor windows with flat stone-voussoired heads; remains of 12-pane hornless sashes. Stone sills. Two similar windows to each storey of left hand return elevation (upper right blocked)

Service wing set back to right of above. Rubble 3 storey 3 window elevation. Windows with flat stone voussoired heads and slate sills, central window blocked. Remains of 12-pane hornless sashes. Lower slightly projecting 2 storey basement block with rubble walls. Large 4-light ground floor window with cambered head, stone voussoirs. Window above and below with flat stone voussoired heads. Later service extension set back to right, 2 tall 12-pane sashes with flat stone cambered heads.


Contents all stripped and sold. The chief surviving feature is a contemporary beamed plaster ceiling in the right hand ground floor room of the late C17 block. 4 compartments, each with central oval divided from the 4 outer panels by moulded soffits. Winged cherubs' heads to outer panels, smiling similar heads to centre ovals framed by viola-shaped surrounds. The ceiling is very similar to those at Coalbrook, Pontyberem, (demolished c1960), one of which was dated 1670. Remains of contemporary ceilings to the 2 rooms above. Victorian fretted ceiling to drawing room.

Reasons for Listing

Formerly a fine country house with an unusual building history. Particularly important is the Renaissance plan block of c1635. Derelict, partly roofless.

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