Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Llandovery College  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Situated in own grounds and set back on E side of A40.  


Broad Class

Private school building of 1849-51 by Fuller & Gingell of Bristol. The college was founded by Thomas Phillips (1760-1851) of London, former East India surgeon, to provide education at moderate cost, particularly for those intending to become clergymen. The money was raised by public subscription, mostly from Llandovery and the county. The design in 'Collegiate Gothic' style was chosen by competition and the foundation stone laid on 13/12/1849 by Bishop Thirlwall. The architects acted as their own contractors to keep the price to £3,500 which led to Fuller's expulsion from the Institute of British Architects and eventual move to Canada where he designed the Houses of Parliament, Ottawa. The original Tudor Gothic building contained a large hall for examinations (the present library), 4 classrooms, a cloakroom, a dining-hall, a committee room, a library, a teachers' room, dormitories for 30, a sick ward, service rooms and a separate house for the Warden. Originally of local purple rubble stone with Bath dressings, it was clad in grey roughcast in the C20, painted in the late C20. Lady Llanover gave the land and was a trustee, Phillips gave some 7,000 books to the library. First known as the Thomas Phillips Institution, or the Welsh Collegiate Institution, it became known as Llandovery College in the 1880s. Alterations after 1851 include: clock on the tower 1873; in 1875 repairs and 2 of the 3 dormitories still unfinished were then completed, more dormitories were provided, and a new dining-hall behind the main range, panelled in 1884. Four new classrooms added 1888 and a sanatorium. Major extension 1901-3 by Austin & Paley of Lancaster, in well-detailed Northern English C17 style, including range to rear of warden's house facing N (with staff dining room and servants hall) and dining-hall with rooms over facing E and service rooms behind. Built by G Mercer of Llanelli for some £10,000, of a blue stone from Swansea, a red stone from Cilyrychen, Llandybie,and some Staffordshire blue brick. The old dining-room became 2 classrooms, and additions included 2 more classroms (in SE wing), dining-hall 71' by 28' (approx 21.6, x 8.5m) with 4 studios and 5 bathrooms above, and several new dormitories.  

College comprising several linked buildings, principal front range of 1849-51 in collegiate Gothic style was originally of local purple rubble stone with ashlar dressings, but clad in roughcast in C20 and painted more recently. The additions behind are all in rubble stone. Those of the later C19 are plain wings extending to rear of original range, but those of 1901-3 are more architectural, primarily the 2-storey E facing dining-hall-block, also the taller 3-storey SE classroom block and the low linking N range between the dining-hall and original building. The original college building comprises an entrance tower 67' high (approx 20.4m), large single-storey school hall to right 62' by 30' (aprox 18.8m x 9.1m), and a 4-bay range to left in style of a Tudor house with 2 advanced gables, comprising former staff rooms to left, and warden's house to right. All windows are Bath stone mullioned with segmental-pointed heads to top lights and generally with transoms, except to smaller upper windows. Entrance tower is of 4 stages, ground floor advanced as battlemented porch with Tudor arched entry, the hoodmould linked to string course under battlements with stepped centre battlement over shield plaque. Corner gargoyles. Tall second stage has long 2-light through 2 floors, carved panels between floors and cusped heads to both levels, then chamfered string course under stepped-in narrow third stage with deeply recessed square clock panel to front, blind lancet to N and S sides. Chamfered string course to stepped-in top stage. This has long narrow flat-headed 2-light with cusped heads to lights each face, and string-course with corner gargoyles under embattled parapet. Within the porch, original stone is exposed, Tudor-arched doorway with double early C20 panelled doors with traceried large overlight. Concrete flat roof. Hall to right of 5 bays with steep-pitched roof, big traceried windows divided by 2-step buttresses. Windows are 3-light with segmental-pointed heads and triangular heads to lights both above and below transom. Stone corbels to gutter. S end has big canted bay with hipped roof. To left of tower is domestic Tudor style composition of 5 bays with advanced gables in second and fifth bays, the second gable smaller, and with porch to warden's house in angle to right. Recess to left of tower has 2-light window each floor, with mid transoms and pointed heads to lights, upper one breaking eaves in dormer gable. The gable to left has big S side-wall corniced stone chimney and 2-step buttresses to each side of front which has 3-light similar window each floor, and coped gable and finial. Recessed third bay and fourth bays have 2-light windows to right and single-lights to left, pointed heads and transoms only to ground floor right window, others simply flat headed. Ground floor left has projecting porch with lean-to roof against side wall of left gable, stepped parapet with shield plaque, segmental-ponted door in triangular-headed surround with double doors and low buttress to right. Gabled bay has 3-light each floor, ground floor window with high transom and pointed top lights, the others flat-headed, with trefoil plaque in shouldered coped gable. Side buttress to left. N return has stuccoed canted bay with parapet, 3-light to first floor and 2-light above, in eaves-breaking gabled dormer. Stair light each floor in bay to left and then big coped gable over 3-light window each floor above shallow square stuccoed bay with 3-light transomed window. Bay windows have pointed top lights and carved heads at corners. The additions behind the original block comprise: a 2-storey parallel range behind the school hall, raised from original one-storey classroom range (of which a traceried S end window survives). Gabled wing to right at right angles (behind hipped stair roof of original range). A further C19 addition of 2 storeys runs back beyond stair roof with C20 glazed addition open to S, in gap to another 2-storey C19 range, with 2-window S front, black brick heads to 3-light long windows. This abuts left end of 1901 tall 3-storey classroom range in rock-faced purple sandstone with tooled brown sandstone quoins, raised sill bands and pink cut sandstone flush bands above ground and first floor windows. One-plus-5 bays, the first projecting with bargeboarded gable, long flat-headed window to top floor, large cambered-headed 3-light mullion window with 2 transoms to first floor, and moulded cambered-headed pink stone doorway with sunk spandrels and hoodmould stepped over shield plaque dated 1901. Panelled double doors. Two-step low buttress to left. Plainer range to right with narrow small-paned sashes in pairs with some singles and triples. String course over ground floor flush band, dripstones over first floor flush band. E gable end has chimneybreast and ashlar mullioned windows with top-lights, single-light left, 2-light right. N 3-bay return has 2 shallow slate-hung gables to left over mullion and transom windows, and projects to left of dining-hall. Dining hall range facing E, is lower, long 2-storey, 4-bay range with parapet and 4 low coped gables, 2 each side of centre stack. Four pairs of first floor mullion and transom windows, armorial plaque on chimney breast. Ground floor large pink stone canted bay with hipped roof each side of central raised chimneybreast, of 1-3-1 mullion-and-transom lights, and outer 3-light mullion-and-transom windows. N end has obelisk finials on parapet corners, and 2-light first floor small mullion window to right of large chimneybreast. Range between rear of dining-hall and former warden's house is also of 1901: plain 2-storey range to left with one-storey outbuilding extending N, then 3-storey range to right joining to warden's house: C17 style with 2 coped gables over eaves breaking windows each side, stone mullion windows, 2-storey canted bay to right, and door in centre with side light, in surround with shaped head. Large E end stack and smaller ridge stack.  

Entrance hall with plaster bust of Rev T Price (Carnhuanawc), Tudor-arched doorway with double half-glazed doors with tracery, to large stair hall with timber open-well stairs with closed string, plain square balusters, ramped rails and octagonal newels. Panelled dado. Large hanging light with 4 brackets. Former school hall now library to right, large room with open timber roof of 4 collar trusses with Tudor arched braces on corbels. Diagonal struts and iron tie-rod over collars. Gallery at N end originally shallower with short sections against side walls, but infilled in C20 to a single gallery, originally with stick balusters to front, now panelled. Segmental pointed S end arch to bay window, doors on E wall with triangular heads. Corridor N from stair hall with segmental-pointed arch, double framed ledged doors. Rear stairs, stone, dog-leg with iron newel, stick balusters and ramped rail. Former Warden's house at N end has open-well stair with continuous rail, stick balusters, and chamfered newel. Behind hall, altered rear wing (former dining-hall area) has bust of Rev J Williams, 1858, signed by J Edwards of London. Dining hall has good interior of 1901-3: panelled doors, heavily moulded beams with moulded brackets and pendants. Marble fireplace each end set in panelling, dado panelling, 3-bay serving recess on back wall with square piers and depressed arches, cornice each side of raised centre with 3 leaded windows.  

Reason for designation
Included as a collegiate Gothic boarding school of architectural interest, with good additions of 1901. Of historic interest as an important C19 public school foundation.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]