Full Report for Listed Buildings
Summary Description of a Listed Buildings
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
County Court (former County Hall)
At the junction of Castle Ditch and Shirehall Street, directly opposite Caernarfon Castle.
Erected in 1863 as Caernarvonshire Shire Hall by John Thomas, County Surveyor. The figure of blind Justice was carved by Robert Evans of Menai Bridge. The shire hall has stood on or near the present site since before 1294. It now houses both the Crown and Magistrates Courts.
Neo-classical style, with a symmetrical front of 7 bays (grouped 2:3:2) and 2 storeys, with a deep eaves cornice and projecting double Tuscan pilasters to the angles. Constructed of snecked rock-faced sandstone with Penmon stone dressings, and slate roof behind coped parapets incorporating a central skylight. The front elevation is dominated by the full-height 3-bay portico, reached up stone steps. The portico has 4 Roman Doric columns, an architrave which is continued across the entire elevation, and a frieze with inscription reading 'Victoria Reg County Hall AD MDCCCLXIII'. A pediment is on a cornice with mutules that is continued as the eaves cornice and the apex is crowned by a large figure of Justice. Doorways are in the bays R and L of centre. They have fluted consoles supporting moulded architraves, and double panelled doors. Windows have moulded architraves, with corbelled sills in the upper storey and with keystones to the central 3 bays. The windows are 12-pane hornless sashes (replaced horned sash upper R). To the L of the portico, where the ground level slopes downwards, are 2 sash windows lighting the basement. The angle pilasters each have a small vent strip between, and with a horned sash to the basement in the L-hand replacing an original door.
The symmetrical 3-bay R side wall facing Shirehall Street has angle pilasters and entablature similar to the front. The central doorway with double panelled doors and a surround with consoles to moulded cornice, with keystone. Windows are 12-pane hornless sashes in moulded architraves, and keystone upper centre. The rear has roughcast wall and 12-pane sash windows over a rear wing which has an entrance projection facing Shirehall Street dated 1989.
The full-height council chamber (now the Crown Court) occupies the 3 R-hand bays. It has a coved ceiling and a central domed lantern, and is panelled with profuse relief ornamanetation. An apsidal recess has a keyed elliptical arch on Tuscan pilasters, spandrels with roundels and relief ornament, and a scalloped plaster vault. Windows have panelled reveals and beneath the sills of the upper tier of windows is a rich foliage frieze with roundels, while betweeen the windows are plaster fielded panels. At the back of the council chamber is a raked gallery with panelled front and brass hand rail.
Reason for designation
Listed grade I as an exceptional work of C19 civic architecture, forming the principal component of a group of public buildings including the police station and former jail, and for its contribution to the setting of Caernarfon Castle.
Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]