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Latitude: 52.2515 / 52°15'5"N
Longitude: -3.4692 / 3°28'9"W
OS Eastings: 299802
OS Northings: 262492
OS Grid: SN998624
Mapcode National: GBR YL.063T
Mapcode Global: VH5CX.TNBW
Entry Name: Doldowlod House (partly in Nantmel)
Listing Date: 15 November 2004
Last Amended: 15 November 2004
Source ID: 83227
Location: In its own grounds on the E bank of the River Wye and the W side of the A470, approximately 6km SSE of Rhayader.
Community: Llanyre (Llanllŷr)
Traditional County: Radnorshire
Doldowlod was purchased by the engineer James Watt of Soho, Birmingham, in 1803. The present house, originally attached to an older farmhouse shown on the 1840 Tithe map, was built by his son James Watt junior (1769-1848) in 1843-5, modelled loosely on his Birmingham residence, Aston Hall. The architect was Robert Mylne. This relatively modest house comprised an entrance hall, dining room, drawing room and library, with service rooms contained within the attached farmhouse. The old house was demolished and an extension was built by James Watt Gibson-Watt (1831-91), who inherited Doldowlod in 1874. The extension, said also to be by Robert Mylne (although the Rhayader architect Stephen Williams is a possible alternative), closely matched the materials of the 1840s house, but in a more irregular, picturesque design. Changes were also made internally. The earlier entrance hall was converted to a study and the earlier dining room became the entrance hall. Drawing room and library were combined into a single room and a new library and dining room were contained within the extension, which also housed service rooms. The 1889 Ordnance Survey shows the service end of the house extending to a service wing left detached from the main house after some of the service rooms were taken down in the late 1940s.
A Jacobean-style country house of 2 storeys and attic, of coursed rock-faced stone, diamond-pattern slate roof and stone stacks with octagonal freestone shafts. A string course is between storeys. Mullioned and transomed windows have octagonal-pane glazing and hood moulds. Shaped gables have freestone copings and finials, and the roof is concealed behind a coped parapet.
In the 8-bay SW entrance front, the 4 near-symmetrical bays on the R side constitute the 1840s house. Of this earlier house, the 2 central bays are brought forward and the 1870s entrance is L of centre. It has a doorcase with Tuscan pilasters and entablature, and balustrade with strapwork enrichment and pinnacles. Double panelled doors are under a round-headed overlight. To the R is a 3-light window and in the upper storey both central bays have smaller 3-light windows, and above them the parapet has an open balustrade. The outer bays of the 1840s house have shaped gables. The L-hand bay has a pair of 3-light windows (inserted in the 1870s in place of an earlier entrance), a 2-light oriel in the upper storey and 2-light attic window. The slightly wider R-hand bay has a 2-storey 3-light canted bay window with strapwork balustrade to the parapet, and small single-light attic window.
The extension of the 1870s has a higher roof line. Beginning at the R end next to the earlier house, is a bay set back (incorporating the dining room), with 2-storey 3-light canted bay window under a strapwork balustrade, and a 2-light dormer with shaped gable. Next, brought forward, is a higher 3-stage tower with 2-light windows, balustrade with angle pinnacles and higher turret on the rear R side with onion-dome roof. On the L side of the tower are 2 bays lower than the remainder of the house, comprising service rooms. Of these, the narrower R-hand bay has 3-light windows and 2-light dormer with shaped gable. The wider outer gabled bay has 3-light windows and 2-light attic window.
In the 4-bay SE front the 3 L-hand bays were built in 1843-5, and the gabled bay forward on the R was added in the 1870s to house the library. The L end bay has half-glazed doors with mullioned overlight, and 3-light oriel window in the upper storey. The next 2 bays have 3-light windows in the lower storey, and smaller 2-light and 3-light upper-storey windows. Two dormers have 2-light windows under shaped gables. The R-hand bay has a 2-storey 3-light canted bay window with parapet, and 2-light attic window. Attached to the R end is a rubble-stone wall with boarded door, leading to the courtyard at the rear.
The 2-bay NW end wall has, on the R side, 3-light window in the lower storey and cross window above. On the L side are a pair of narrow transomed lights in the lower storey and a single similar window above. At the rear of the house, where a narrow courtyard faces a steep bank, part of the service rooms were taken down in the late 1940s. It has a short gabled wing housing a service stair. Its N wall has 4-pane sash windows lighting the stair, and barred windows in its gable end, of which one retains its pantry mesh. On the S side of the wing, where the rear wall of the main house is scribed roughcast, is a 3-light mullioned and transomed stair window inserted in the 1870s. The rear of the 1870s library, at the end of the SE front, has a corbelled first-floor stack, and 2-pane sash and replacement windows.
The present entrance hall was originally the dining room. It leads to an L-shaped corridor which gives access to the main rooms. Rooms of the 1840s retain marble fireplaces and Jacobean-style coffered plaster ceilings. The 1870s library has an ornate wooden chimneypiece. The contemporary dining room has a less ornate panelled ceiling, and a wooden chimneypiece with double pilasters. The Jacobean-style open-well staircase, also of the 1870s and modelled on the staircase at Aston Hall, has ornate square newels, balustrade with open round panels, and ornate tread ends. Panel doors have blind round heads with radial tracery. Windows have panelled shutters. The open-well service stair is unusually fine, with turned balusters and square panelled newels with ball finials.
Listed grade II* for its special architectural interest as a fine and well-preserved Jacobean style country house, built for one of the leading industrialist families of the late C18 and early C19, and as the centrepiece of an estate retaining strong C19 character.
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