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Former Office and Stock Houses N of Poolton and Gortheur, Leighton Farm

A Grade II* Listed Building in Forden with Leighton and Trelystan, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6396 / 52°38'22"N

Longitude: -3.1214 / 3°7'17"W

OS Eastings: 324210

OS Northings: 305238

OS Grid: SJ242052

Mapcode National: GBR B1.6VJV

Mapcode Global: WH79Q.0XW9

Entry Name: Former Office and Stock Houses N of Poolton and Gortheur, Leighton Farm

Listing Date: 20 March 1998

Last Amended: 20 March 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19515

Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Location: Situated on the W side of Leighton Farm with farm road to W, Stockyard III and Hay Storage Building attached to N, and Poolton and Gortheur attached to S.

County: Powys

Town: Forden

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan (Ffordun gyda Tre'r-llai a Threlystan)

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan

Locality: Leighton Farm

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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History

Built between 1847 and 1849 and probably designed by the Liverpool architect W.H. Gee for John Naylor's Leighton Farm, the model farm of the Leighton Estate. John Naylor had acquired the Leighton Estate in 1846-47 and embarked on an ambitious programme of building, principally Leighton Hall, church and Farm, which was largely completed by the mid 1850s. Naylor continued to extend and improve the Estate until his death in 1889. His grandson, Captain J.M. Naylor, sold the Estate in 1931, when Leighton Farm was bought by Montgomeryshire County Council.

Leighton Farm was a model farm where rational farming methods were employed using techniques derived from science and industry. It was characteristic of its period but especially notable for its scale. Apart from the rationalisation of farm design, its principal aims were to provide better shelter for livestock and fodder, the recycling of manure as fertiliser, and mechanisation, principally in the form of turbines and hydraulic rams.

Leighton Farm was a model farm where rational farming methods were employed using techniques derived from science and industry. It was characteristic of its period but especially notable for its scale. Apart from the rationalisation of farm design, its principal aims were to provide better shelter for livestock and fodder, the recycling of manure as fertiliser, and mechanisation, principally in the form of turbines and hydraulic rams.

The main farm complex is roughly square in plan and enclosed by perimeter roads (although important buildings were added beyond it). The farm was a piecemeal development but it is structured either side of a central E-W axis in which a threshing barn was built with hay and fodder storage buildings either side of it, all of which were linked by a broad gauge railway. On the N and S sides of this axis stockyards were built, served by 2 N-S service roads in addition to the perimeter roads. By 1849 4 small yards (Stockyard IV) had been built S of the Threshing Barn with a Stable fronting the road, these 3 elements forming the central block of buildings. On the E and W sides, fronting the road to the S, houses were built (on the W side with an office and further livestock sheds behind). After 1849 3 stockyards (Stockyards I, II, III) were built on the N side of the main axis. By 1855 there had been additions beyond the perimeter road, with the building of a Mill and Pig and Sheep houses (which enclose 2 further stockyards) on the N side and a further stock shed with yard on the W side. In the late 1850s a Sheep-Drying Shed and a further Fodder Storage Building in line with the main E-W axis had been added, followed by a Root Shed at the south-east corner of the complex in the 1860s.

The buildings were carefully designed to achieve a strong visual impact when approached from the roads to the N or W. The landscape was carefully controlled so that Leighton Farm could not be seen from the main Buttington to Forden road to W, alongside which was a mixed woodland plantation. The main entrance to the farm was intended to be from the N side where there is an imposing gateway and lodge beside the church. The pig and sheep houses in particular create a grand facade when approached from the N, but Stockyards I and II, the Fodder Storage Buildings, Stable and Poolton at the south-west corner, are all designed to impress when viewed from the outside.

Exterior

Single-storey and consisting of a double-gabled main range (with basement) facing E, to which wings are attached to N and S. Behind main range is a small single-storey shed and a former yard bounded by a coped stone wall (within which is now a large modern shed). Of brick on a rubble-stone basement, and with slate roofs and coped gables on moulded kneelers. The main range has a round-headed doorway with boarded door in the valley between the gables, to R of which is a blocked doorway under segmental head, and to L is a boarded wooden door under a timber lintel. In the gables are bullseye windows. The N wing has a central, wide boarded door under a timber lintel and with strap hinges, with windows under segmental heads to L and R. The windows have fixed panes and are open with wooden battens above the sill. To L is an axial brick stack with a tall moulded pot. The S wing is longer and has, in centre, full-height boarded double doors with strap hinges and white brick jambs, to R of which is a fixed light beneath the wall plate (open with battens above the sill) and a plainer full-height door. To L of central doorway is the former office. This has a 12-pane sash window, to L of which (beyond an attached brick wall) is a round-headed doorway with a boarded door. A higher outer bay to S is gabled with copings on moulded kneelers, and has double boarded doors with strap hinges beneath a later steel lintel, and a raised gabled vent now boarded. To L of centre in S wing is an axial stack (and skylights).

To rear of main range are 2 large round-headed doorways to the basement, above which are 3 stepped round-headed windows in each bay. The N wing has a full-height opening leading to Stockyard III. In the yard behind the main range is a small single storey shed, possibly designed for a bull but now a stable, attached to the hay shed of Stockyard III to the N. The shed now has stable doors on E side, and in adjacent boundary wall is an inserted low boarded door in a brick surround.

Interior

The basement of the main range is supported on timber beams and thin cast iron columns. Otherwise not accessible at the time of inspection although said to contain hooks consistent with its use as tack rooms.

Reasons for Listing

The Leighton Estate is an exceptional example of high-Victorian estate development. It is remarkable for the scale and ambition of its conception and planning, the consistency of its design, the extent of its survival, and is the most complete example of its type in Wales. Leighton Farm is one of the principal foci of this development and is a Victorian model farm of national importance, representing the pioneering use of new technology, displaying a highly-structured layout and achieving an impressive architectural unity. Listed Grade II*, the former Office and Stockhouses are an integral part of the farm complex retaining their original character.

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