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Wigfair Hall

A Grade II* Listed Building in Cefnmeiriadog, Denbighshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2292 / 53°13'45"N

Longitude: -3.4579 / 3°27'28"W

OS Eastings: 302777

OS Northings: 371228

OS Grid: SJ027712

Mapcode National: GBR 6L.0DKG

Mapcode Global: WH65P.V3K8

Entry Name: Wigfair Hall

Listing Date: 2 June 1998

Last Amended: 2 June 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19925

Building Class: Domestic

Location: On a commanding site above the Elwy valley at the south-eastern edge of the community, approximately 2km SE of Cefn Meiriadog village; accessed via a tree-lined drive leading S from an unclassified la

County: Denbighshire

Town: St Asaph

Community: Cefnmeiriadog

Community: Cefnmeiriadog

Locality: Wigfair

Traditional County: Denbighshire

Find accommodation in
Llannefydd

History

An old site, formerly known as Wickwer and the seat of the Lloyds of the same. The present house replaces the sub-medieval original and was built by John Douglas, architect of Chester between 1882 and 1884 for the Rev R H Howard. The house was a lavish conmmission, exquisitely-detailed outside and in, and was conceived in Douglas' preferred Tudorbethan red brick style. The composition is dominated by a large, pyramidically-roofed water tower, designed to hold vaast water tanks which served the house's original electricity generating system. This feature Douglas cleverly disguised as a feudal tower, and made it a major focus of the design; its tanks, pipework and associated generator and battery houses survive intact. With the exception of the replacement of some of the leaded casement sections with plain glass and the early addition of a service block (late C19), the house remains practically unaltered.

Exterior

Large irregularly-planned country house in Tudorbethan style. Of red Ruabon brick construction on a snecked limestone plinth with steeply-pitched tiled roof; sandstone dressings. Tall, multiple-stack chimneys with oversailing courses to the chimney-tops; moulded stone gable parapets with ball finials and a continuous moulded stringcourse between the ground and first floors. The windows to all save the S and W (service) sides are of mullioned and transomed or mullioned type, with ovolo-moulded detail and (in part) leaded lights. Those to the service sides are small-pane sash windows, mostly of 12-panes.
The main part of the house essentially consists of a recessed N range facing the approach, adjoining an eastern terrace range at right-angles with it. The entrance front is therefore in the form of a half courtyard, with the entrance placed in the advanced gable end of the terrace range. This is in the form of a moulded, hollow-chamfered arch with returned label and blind tracery spandrel carving; panelled double doors with decorative iron hinges and original decorative brass bell-pull. At the foot of the right-hand reveal is a foundation stone with the inscribed date 1882. Above the entrance are three recessed panels with carved heraldic crests to the central and shields to the flanking panels. First-floor canted oriel window with a central cross window and single transomed flanking lights. The R return of the entrance gable has a large gabled projection with projecting chimney, stepped-up irregularly; single and two-light windows. To the R of this are paired 6-light mullioned and transomed windows to both ground and first floors. Extruded in the angle between the eastern and northern ranges is a large canted stair bay with tall mullioned and transomed windows; the western face is gabled. To the L of the N range is an entrance with boarded door (formerly a 2-light window) with further 2, 3 and 6-light windows to the upper floors, including a 2-light window to a small gabled dormer; two cross-windows to the ground floor. To the centre of the range is a gabled projection with windows as before. Beyond this is a 2-storey service range of inferior brick construction and possibly an early addition.
The 5-bay terrace front is near-symmetrical and consists of a central storied, canted bay with surmounting gable, with shallow gabled projections to the outer bays. Large 2, 3, and 4-light mullioned and transomed windows with continuous stringcourse between ground and first floors. The left-hand side of the central canted bay contains a contemporary partly-glazed garden door. To the centre of the bay, above the stringcourse, is a lozenge-shaped sandstone plaque bearing the carved monogram RHH (for R H Howard) and the date 1884. The N gable end of this range has a further large, single-storey canted bay, with cross-windows above and a triple-light window to the gable apex. Set back from the terrace range and continuing northwards is a further storied, gabled wing, connected to the rear of the front range by a storied link block. The latter has a moulded Tudor-arched entrance with boarded and studded door and a large 4-light mullioned and transomed window to the R. The first floor has three 3-light mullioned windows under the eaves. The gabled wing projects slightly and has a large canted oriel to the first floor with a 3-light mullioned and transomed window below; lateral chimney to the L (N) side.
To the rear of the N (front) range is a large, square tower, rising to four storeys and dominating the S and W (service) sides. This has a pyramidal roof, sharply feathered at the eaves, with a surmounting lead ball finial and a decorative gabled dormer to the S face. The tower's third and fourth storeys are slightly jettied and have moulded brick stringcourses. Adjoining the main house to the W is a service court with two long single-storeyed ranges enclosing a service court on the N and S sides; the W is open.

Interior

The interior is largely unaltered and retains high-quality original fittings in polished oak. Tripartite inner entrance screen, its upper section leaded and with a multi-pane overlight. Oak dado panelling to entrance hall, corridor and stair-well with 2 large Tudor arches leading from hall to corridor; these have foliate carving in shallow relief to the spandrels. Compartmented ceilings with moulded ribs and panelled soffits and reveals to all windows; fine counter-changed red/black tesserae floor. Moulded architraves and recessed 9-panelled doors all with original brass furniture. The Boudoir (front chamber L) has a high ceiling with moulded plaster cornice; Adamesque wooden fireplace to all 3 ground-floor terrace-facing rooms. The two southernmost are inter-connecting drawing rooms with a dividing pair of panelled oak sliding screen doors; Tudorbethan geometric plaster ceilings to these with conjoined octagons, circles etc. The dining room has full-height small-field oak panelling with a Tudor-arched fireplace and a bracketed mantelpiece; this supports a 5-panel carved overmantel with dentilated cornice. Tudor-arched panelled buffet niche with exuberantly carved spandrels, frieze and cornice; carved shild of Howard arms to centre, together with motto. Below is a contemporary fitted sideboard, widely-canted with geometric panelled doors flanking a central 2-drawer section with void below. Opposite the fireplace is a large, wide, canted bay with Tudor arch; this has panelled soffit and reveals, carved spandrels and gadrooned frieze with fluted pilasters to the sides. In the centre is the carved date 1895, which appears to relate to the buffet niche, this arch and the heightening to full height of what had originally been three-quarter panelling. Panelled and tiled service corridors, with complete bell-rack.
The first floor has original 6-panelled doors, with moulded doorcases, plate shelves and moulded oak cornices to the main corridor; further Tudor arches, carved as before.
The stairhall has a limestone fireplace with segmental arch and the carved motto 'Watch, Ward, Win'; flanking turned posts support a mantel shelf with carved tripartite overmantel. The stair ascends in a long flight, returning at the bottom and top to form a very long shallow well. This has a balustraded gallery forming an open screen of 5 Tudor-arched sections; spandrel carving as before, with triple open lights above. Turned balusters to stair, with geometric finials to square newel posts. Six fine heraldic glass panels to the stair window.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* as particularly fine and unaltered example of a large country house commission by this important Victorian regional architect.

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