Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Norton Court  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
On the N side of the junction of two lanes to the N of Norton Brook, approximately 1.2km W of Skenfrith village.  


Broad Class

Originally one of the properties of the Abbey of Parc Grace Dieu, in 1545 it was granted by Henry VIII to Sir Thomas Herbert of Wonastow, whose nephew Watkin Herbert occupied it in the mid C16. By c.1600 it was in the possession of the Walter family of Grosmont, whose descendants occupied it in the late C17 and early C18. Begun probably in the late C15 or early C16 as a timber-framed building, of which some fabric has survived in the roof, and rebuilt and enlarged in stone probably c.1600, the house was enlarged and re-modelled in the earlier C18. A former outbuilding was linked to it c. 1900. Recent work on the interior has uncovered many historical features previously concealed by relatively modern alterations.  

The first impression of the front of this house is that dates from the late C17 or early C18. It is 2-storeyed, with a recessed centre between slightly-projecting wings under hipped roofs, a 1st-floor band, a plastered cornice and almost symmetrical fenestration, with keystones to the ground-floor windows. It is built of roughly-coursed red sandstone rubble with quoins, and roofed with a mixture of blue and purple slates, the ridges and valleys protected with lead flashings. Apart from the end bays the plan is rectangular on a NW-SE axis facing SW, and at the NW end a set-back L-plan service wing projects at right-angles, the front of the linking portion now covered by a recent forward extension under a carried-down roof. The recessed centre of the main range has a doorway to the right, with a C19 panelled and glazed door under a pitched wood and slate canopy, 2 vertical-rectangular windows to the left with keyed flat-arched heads and cross-window joinery with casement openings, and 2 windows at 1st floor aligned over the outer ground-floor openings, with similar joinery. The left wing has one window on each floor like those in the centre. The right-hand wing, which is broader, its roof swept over the eaves, also has one window on each floor but they are offset left of centre and that at ground floor is square, with 2 mullions rather than one. There is a small brick chimney near the left end of the main roof ridge, and about the middle of the SE return wall is a massive side-wall chimney of stone. This wall has a small 1-light window at ground floor near the front corner, and a small blocked window on each floor near the rear corner.The rear wall, which is built of smaller and less regular rubble masonry than the front, is sparsely and less regularly fenestrated. Near the centre of the ground floor is a 2-light stone mullioned window with chamfered mullion and reveal; towards the SE end the sides and top of a formerly similar window frame the top half of a modern glazed door, now enclosed within a large modern polygonal conservatory; above this there is a small 1-light window to the left and a casement window to the right like those at the front; and towards the other end is another modern glazed door and another casement above. To the left of these are 2 blocked windows with wooden lintels, vertically aligned and the lower somewhat above ground-floor level. The projecting service wing at the NW end has small-paned top-hung casement windows: one at ground floor and 2 at 1st floor of the side wall, and one on each floor of the SW gable; and its rear wall has 4 small windows at ground floor (3 being segmental-headed), a single casement at 1st floor like the others at the rear, and a short tapered brick chimney on the gable.  

The most important element of the interior is the SE wing, probably added during the rebuilding c.1600, containing a large parlour at ground floor and a chamber of equivalent size above, with timber-framed partitioning from the rest of the house on both levels. The parlour has a pair of axial ceiling beams with deep chamfer, and plain joists (recently exposed). At its SE end is a very wide stone fireplace with an enormous stone lintel, the opening approximately 1.5m wide and 1m high, with a moulded surround. To the left of this is a square-headed staircase doorway with chamfered surround: this was recently exposed when a straight C19 staircase mounting up the rear wall in this corner was removed, and the spiral staircase within it was restored. To the right of the chimney breast and set back is a splayed window. The chamber above has a pair of axial beams with small chamfer (the joists under-drawn), a close-studded partition wall with a mid-rail, and in the rear wall a recently-exposed rectangular fireplace with a moulded surround and very deep stone lintel. At the head of the spiral staircase is a garderobe, the shaft passing down through the SE corner of the building. The chamber in the centre of the house is partitioned from the NW wing by a timber-framed wall like the first. The roof, which shows much evidence of alteration at various times, incorporates re-used timbers, some of them with smoke-blackening.  

Reason for designation
Included as a substantial Monmouthshire vernacular house with a highly interesting structural history, the parlour end retaining late C16-early C17 internal features of high quality.  

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