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Latitude: 51.9802 / 51°58'48"N
Longitude: -3.8062 / 3°48'22"W
OS Eastings: 276047
OS Northings: 232843
OS Grid: SN760328
Mapcode National: GBR Y4.KDJL
Mapcode Global: VH4HM.ZH5B
Entry Name: Cwm Rhuddan
Listing Date: 18 June 2004
Last Amended: 18 June 2004
Source ID: 82876
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Situated some 1.5km S of Llandovery, on S bank of Afon Bran with drive running up from junction of roads to Llangadog and to Myddfai.
Community: Llandovery (Llanymddyfri)
Locality: Cwm Rhuddan
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
Country house built in 1869-71 for Charles Bishop, solicitor, son of Charles Bishop of Dolgarreg, Myddfai. The Bishop family came to the area in the C18 from England, and set up a tannery. The house was almost certainly designed by R K Penson probably with his partner A.Ritchie, and was extended in similar style c1885 with a big NW block containing just 2 very large reception rooms, one each floor. The design for this was presumably by Ritchie. It has strong similarities in form and detail with other houses by Penson such as Penywern, near Aberystwyth and Llidiardau at Llanilar. Occupied by Walter Davies in 1926. The house is more-or less as seen in 1920s photographs apart from the loss of a cast-iron veranda on the N front outside the service range.
Country house, rock-faced squared rubble stone with Bath stone dressings and steep slate roofs with deep eaves and bargeboards. Numerous large quoined chimneys with ashlar string courses, cornices and heavy chamfered caps. Victorian domestic C16-17 style with big mullion windows, almost all with transoms, the mullions and transoms mostly of painted timber, in ashlar chamfered frames. Ashlar quoins, plinth, string course common to whole building. Cast-iron verandas on S and E sides, another removed on N side.
Complex plan with very complex roofscape, the original house essentially a gabled composition with short pyramid-roofed stair tower, now dominated by the massive square NW corner addition of the 1880s with its flat-capped hipped roof.
S entrance front is stepped back in 3 steps, crosswing to left, forward of 2-bay entrance range hipped at SE, forward of one-bay service range, with a lower (possibly 1880s) range at right angles across the E end. Gabled crosswing to left has deep verges, small hoodmoulded square attic light with Gothic glazing bars, first floor big 3-light with relieving arch and ground floor similar larger 3-light and relieving arch. Entrance range set back to right has roof hipped at angle to right and chimney on ridge to left. Two-light and 3-light window to first floor with mid-transom, door and floor-length 3-light below in 3-bay cast-iron veranda. Door has overlight with etched and coloured margins over segmental- arched doorhead with shields in spandrels, and half-glazed 6-panel door. Veranda has thin fluted columns carrying cast-iron tracery of broad shallow arches, the left 2 bays open, the right one and end bay infilled with glass and iron glazing bars.
Right return has 2-light each floor in angle to service range and a chimney on ridge running back from hipped angle. One-bay service range has 2 close-spaced chimneys, on ridge and right end, and 3-light each floor. For attached E range see below.
W garden front is equally stepped in plan with side of the crosswing to right, then slightly projected pyramid roofed stair tower and then far-projecting added NW corner block. Side of crosswing has a bargeboarded gable over 3-light with relieving arch and big ground floor 1-3-1-light canted bay window with painted stone mullions, coved cornice and tarred canted hipped roof, the string course stepped over. Roof of cross-wing is hipped steeply to left, leaving valley before steep pyramid roof of stair tower to left. Roof is not quite a pyramid as with short ridge and two Gothic wrought iron finials one behind the other. Wall face projects slightly and deep eaves are at slightly higher level than range to left but equal to eaves of NW addition. Eaves have unusual ashlar rounded block brackets. Ashlar quoins and mid-height cambered-headed stairlight with flat hoodmould stepped up from main string course. Shield plaque inscribed 'CB fecit 1871' above and relieving arch. Window is 3-light with sunk spandrels. To left, set slightly back in narrow space between stair and NW wing is first floor narrow single light.
NW corner block added in 1880s is massive, near-square with steep hipped roof crowned with cast-iron Gothic ridge cresting on all 4 ridges with iron finials at angles. Timber Gothic dormers with deep verges and 2-light windows with cusped heads and quatrefoils, with iron casements, one each on S, W and N sides. Deep eaves with ashlar brackets as on stair tower, quoins, plinth and stringcourse as elsewhere. S return has first floor big 3-light, W end has similar 3-light over floor-length 3-light with relieving arch, the centre light a door reached up 6 stone steps. The N side has high plinth, big 2-storey square bay, in ashlar apart from rubble stone below 4-light window each floor, single-light each side. Ashlar mullions and transoms. E side has chimney.
N front is in 2 halves, to right the N front of the big NW corner block wing (see above) with narrow deep recess to garden door between this and original house with crosswing gable to right of 2-bay service range. In the recess is narrow single light above a segmental-pointed headed with relieving arch. Half-glazed door, the recess glazed with lean-to glass roof on cast-iron pierced beam on 2 sunburst-pattern brackets. Crosswing has bargeboards, chimney on left roof slope, hoodmoulded blank ashlar plaque in gable over 3-light at first floor and floor length 3-light below, the centre light opening onto terrace. Service range to right has the 2 close-spaced stacks (cf entrance front) and 4-light and 2-light each floor, all with a mid transom, the lower windows larger. One Gothic dormer like those on NW corner block. The terrace in front has iron railings and a door beneath at right end leading into cellar beneath NW corner block.
Attached across E end is lower range possibly added in 1880s to similar design, one and a half storeys with steep hipped roof to E front and gables on S and N ends set one-bay back from hipped corners. The gables have bargeboards, unusual first floor cambered-headed 3-light windows without transoms but with a small square light over the centre light. Relieving arch over window, string course below and ground floor large window, 4-light to S end, 3-light to N, N gable projects beyond bay to left, whereas S one is flush but S end steps forward from service range to left with 2-light stair window in W return. N gable has also a little Gothic lancet in apex. To right of S gable and to left of N gable a ground floor 2-light with relieving arch. Axial ridge stack just in from S gable. E front is characterful: a steep hipped roof with 2 steeply-gabled tiny dormers set high each side of centre one of 3 bargeboarded gables. The centre gable is larger and the 2-light window taller with transom which the other 2 lack. Ground floor is within another cast-iron veranda, of 4 bays, like that on S front but with different design to columns, cast-iron glazing bars to glazed end bays. Ground floor has off-centre half-glazed door between 2 small rectangular windows, with relieving arches.
Square porch with plaster ribs and roundel to ceiling, inner glazed door with side and top lights, the top lights with double eagle crest and 'Unc je serviray'. Hall passage has square panels to plaster ceiling. Doors are pitch pine with long panels in pitch-pine frames. SW room is sitting room, SE room is study. SW room has moulded cornice and plaster rose with leaf and flower ornament. Pitch-pine lining to W bay window. White marble E wall chimneypiece with segmental arch, 5 half spheres of red marble, 3 to lintel 2 to console brackets and some incised ornament. Cast-iron arched grate. SW study has original shelved cupboards and grey marble chimneypiece with iron grate. Main NW drawing-room in 1880s addition has deep cornice with rosettes in coved frieze and ceiling panelled in thin moulded ribs into neo-Jacobean patterns. Painted grained door with neo-Louis XV overdoor painting of a cherub painting a portrait. Bay on N. E end has white marble late C18 or late C19 neo-Adam chimneypiece with fluting in frieze, centre panel with 3 rosettes, rosette corner panels and fluted pilasters with inset wreath panels. Yellow marble narrow strips over rosette panels of frieze and around fireplace. Remarkable later C19 cast-iron Aesthetic Movement grate with armature or iron squares in a brass surround, holding hand-painted tiles with peach and leaf design around an arched grate with shelves each side, the shelf recesses each with an ornamental brass baluster and the arched head of grate with cast-iron peach branch design. Above is an elaborate overmantel presumably added c1900 as mantelpiece has had to be extended on 2 ornate turned and fluted posts to carry it. Overmantel has 4 similar posts carrying 3 gables over mirrors, the centre one wider. Above the gables is shelf with 9 short columns and cornice, for display of ceramics. In left corner of S wall a remarkable cast-iron Gothic radiator case with pierced ornate panels, thin gothic shafts and marble top. Floor has cast-iron grilles over underfloor heating pipes. To centre of N front is fine panelled room, probably original dining-room later billiard-room with pitch-pine panelling, shelved recess with narrow shelves on pierced curved supports, the shelf edges with brass cresting. Recess has pierced curved head with sunburst spandrels and interlaced circles to frieze. Corridor runs E with 3 small rooms on N side with narrow fireplaces, one with chimneypiece painted a remarkable mottled malachite green. Kitchen at far end.
Stair hall has panelled plaster ceiling, segmental-pointed heads to window reveal and to doors into large NW rooms. Open stair with octagonal chamfered newels with octagonal finilas, moulded rails and chamfered timbers to balustrade, main uprights divided by a mid rail with a short upright beneath. Closed string. Landing and long corridor running E.
Above drawing-room in NW angle is another equal sized reception room with moulded cornice, embossed 'lincrusta' ceiling border and centre plaster rose. Pitch-pine doors and surrounds to windows on 3 sides. E end purple veined marble chimneypiece with black marble thin mouldings to the pilasters, framing a fine cast-iron grate with sunflowers to hood and green embossed tiles to cheeks with pomegranates and 2 tiles with roundels of hunting scenes in blue. Above is a very large Aesthetic movement overmantel in ebonised wood, with shelves for display of ceramics on little turned balusters, fielded-panelled side-pieces all framing a mirrored centre. First floor SW room has Tudor gothic iron grate in plain grey marble chimneypiece. Corridor running E has servants stair off to attic. One big room at E end with ribbled boarded ceiling and painted slate fireplace with fine grate on W wall.
Included as a substantial Victorian country house of considerable elaboration with remarkably complete surviving original detail.
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