Full Report for Listed Buildings
Summary Description of a Listed Buildings
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Situated to W of the junction of A488 and B4356.
Built on the site of a grange to Abbey Cwmhir, home of the Price family, High Sheriffs and MPs in the C16 and C17. One of the earliest stone buildings in Radnorshire and one of the most imposing of the developed sub-medieval gentry houses in the county. Remarkable survival of the plan form, internal partitions, mullion windows and other original features. Late C16, re-ordered 1638. C19 alterations have been largely removed and a long term programme of restoration is taking place (1991).
Two storeys with roof space attics and two cellars. Rubble stone with partial freestone dressings. The slate roofs are in the process of being renewed with stone tiles (1991). U-plan with central hall block and two flanking wings projecting to the east. Large lateral combined stack and stair projection to the west, combined stair and garderobe projection to the north wing, added three storey gabled stair turret in SE angle with timber framed upper storey, also narrow latrine chute to south wing (flushed from the wooden guttering). Four projecting rubble stacks with distinctive vertical freestone bands, two to each wing. Large sections of masonry have been rebuilt, principally in the late C19, during major works in the 1950's by Deacons of Kington and latterly in the late 1970's and early 1980's by Douglas Blain. In the mid 1980's a two storey stone oriel with flat roof was reconstructed on the east front based on the evidence from footings and internal joinery.
Stone mullion and transom windows throughout, hollow chamfered externally, reserve chamfered internally. Some with drip moulds but the original disposition and size of windows and drip moulds is not clear as in most cases they have been rebuilt or replaced. Windows inserted during the 1950's works are of different size and proportions to those they replaced and are cut from a darker red sandstone. Timber ovolo-section mullion windows in the corner stair and latrine projections have very small square openings, some with ogee heads.
Three C16 doorways of dressed stone with four-centred arches, moulded jambs and quatrefoil and armorial ornamental spandrels, that opening into the east end of the cross passage is the most elaborately moulded and also the best preserved. The other doorways to the west end of the cross passage and to the kitchen in the south wing, have been crudely rebuilt. A late C19 boarded door is set into the inner wall of each wing (the house was divided into two dwellings in C19). Above the east door is the outline of a blocked doorway which formerly gave access to a storied porch. There are three carved stone plaques on the east elevation but none can be presumed to be in their original position. A plain date stone reading J P 1638 now in the corner stair turret was placed there by D Blain who had removed it from the section of wall which was infilling the former oriel window opening. Above the main door is a stone incorporating the Price arms within a cusped quatrefoil and set in the rebuilt oriel is a further armorial stone, probably C19 in date.
The original plan as modified in the C17 survives: central range of hall and cross passage with first floor Great Chamber, north wing with two main rooms on each floor, south wing with parlour, original kitchen, pantry and buttery and on the first floor two large guest rooms either side of a small chamber with garderobe.
Hall - four main transverse beams with axial beams dividing the ceiling into fifteen compartments with counterchanged joists; the beams and the bressumers along the side walls and over the passage partition are all deep chamfered with no stops. Lateral fireplace to hall with flat four-centred arch, cavetto/ogee moulded jambs and decorative spandrels. Fragments of decorative wall plaster with Royal Coat of Arms (Queen Elizabeth I) and also those of the Sydney family, patrons of the Prices. Half spiral stairs constructed of stone rubble risers over timber baulks lead off to the side of the fireplace. The three main rooms on the ground floor have a cross arrangement of two deep chamfered beams and small stone lintel fireplaces. Fragments of a moulded plaster cornice which edged the ceiling compartments survive in the two end rooms of the wings; the north wing end room beam has straight cut stops. The former kitchen and scullery each have a single chamfered beam with stepped run-out stops. The kitchen has a large open fireplace with chamfered elliptical arch. The pantry is entered from the kitchen and houses stone steps to one of the cellars. The other cellar is beneath the buttery.
A panelled screen with heavily roll moulded stiles and door frames divides cross passage from hall. Two entrances, formerly with triangular heads with carved spandrels; the spandrel decoration including the Price arms and a Tudor rose. The upper panels of the screen are missing but were said to have had boss and strapwork decoration (original 1951 list description). Chamfered plank and muntin partition to lower end of passage; two round headed doorways, that giving access to the rooms in the south wing considerably higher than the entrance to the former buttery. Further plank and muntin partitions on the ground floor of the south wing, the upper part of the pantry partition being set with spaced diamond section uprights for ventilation.
North wing served by turret staircase housing curious arrangement of stone and timber winder stairs set around garderobes on three levels; the timber partitions of the latter were renewed in the 1980's. South wing has fine open well stair of probable 1638 date; heavy moulded handrail, closed string, turned balusters, ornamental newel caps and pendants (reconstructed in 1955). The insertion of the stair entailed a main truss to be cut through and this has led to distortion of timber partitions and failure of ceiling joists. A supporting beam probably inserted at the same time as the stair has a narrow chamfer and scroll stop.
On the first floor - Great Chamber with fine plaster ceiling in geometric pattern of moulded ribs and deep moulded cornice, largely restored on renewed lathing in 1980's. The plasterwork continues into the oriel by with similar but smaller section mouldings. First floor partitions are mainly square-framed but the south wing has some plank and muntin head height screens. Above one screen dividing a small chamber is an internal diamond mullion window. The west room in the north wing has square panelled wainscotting and a door gives access to a garderobe set within the winder stair turret.
Roof of largely original collar and tie beam trusses with queen posts, raking braces and both trenched and butt purlins. The trusses of the wings are 18" higher than the central block. Internal doors: some boarded doors hung on gudgeon pins, one C17 door with scribed mouldings and also early panelled doors. Original doorframes with mason mitres.
Reason for designation
Grade I for its powerful image as an outstanding great house in Mid-Wales.
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