Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

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


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Situated at the end of a long private drive which leads NE from the B4340.  


Broad Class

Country house of the Powell family, built 1739-57, altered in 1840s. On the site of a house of the Jones family called 'Neuadd Lawdden', which an inventory of 1666 suggests was substantial. Elements may survive within the present building. The Jones heiress, Avarina Le Brun inherited in 1703 and was married to William Powell of Llechwedd Dyrys on the opposite side of the valley, where the Powells had been since the C14. Sir Thomas Powell, died 1705, was a leading London judge. William Powell died in 1738 and left the estate to his son, Thomas, MP 1741-7, who was married to the wealthy sister of Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London and began the present house in 1739. The name of the architect is unknown, it curiously appears to reuse slightly Baroque windows from a large house (there are 14 of them) of the early C18, possibly Llechwedd Dyrus that seems to have been dismantled at the time. Completed in 1757, the date on a rainwater head, with the initials of Thomas's brother, Rev William Powell, owner 1752-1780. Thomas Powell, owner 1780-97, commissioned an ambitious but unexecuted landscaping of the park from J Davenport in 1791, but died aged 52, leaving his son William Edward Powell aged 9. Nanteos was tenanted until he came of age in 1809, with some repairs done in 1798. As first illustrated in a poor print of 1809 there was no porch and possibly a blind arched recess each side of an arched door. The estate by the early C19 was of some 30,000 acres(12,150 hectares), rentals in 1815 totalled £7,831/14/6d(£7,831.73) with lead-mining interests including the Cwmystwyth and Ystumtuen mines but the estate was indebted to some £30,000. W E Powell, High Sheriff 1810, MP and Lord Lieutenant 1816-54, was much involved with the development of Aberystwyth in the 1820s, though mostly resident in London. Although the debts were high, plans were made 1814-17 by John Nash or G Repton, when Nash's cousin, J Edwards, was the agent, for altering the house and building 2 lodges, a dairy/ice house and 2 cottages, for gamekeeper and gardener, of which one lodge may have been built. Edwards also initiated alterations to the gardens. In 1827 the old stables were demolished and presumably rebuilt in 1830s on a grand scale (payments in 1837-9). Unspecified but extensive work was done in the house in the 1831-2 from the payment books, and then more alterations were made after Powell's second marriage brought money in 1841. William Coultart added the rear service range in 1841 after a fire and made plans for adding wings to the front, of which the E wing was built. In 1846-8 the NW dining room was remodelled and a NW addition made with butler's pantry, bedrooms and workrooms, the attics were altered and the portico added, all to designs by Edward Haycock. Haycock also made plans for a lodge 1847-8. The work done by Coultart and Haycock is not easy to distinguish from the accounts: Haycock's portico and Coultart's wing cost £2,880, Haycock seems to have refitted much of the interior and may have started work in the 1830s in which case the stable design could be his. There is said to be a reference to him in the accounts in 1832 and he was paid £60 in 1839 (when Coultart was paid £19). In 1854 William Thomas Rowland Powell inherited, he was MP 1859-65 and is said to have spent some £11,000 on the house in 1862-7, of which the Billiard Room is the only recorded structure, perhaps designed by R K Penson, who designed the new lodge and gates in 1857, possibly replacing a Nash lodge. George Ernest John Powell, inherited 1878, High Sheriff 1880, was a noted figure in literary and artistic circles, friend of Swinburne and a pioneer of Icelandic studies in Britain. He died in 1882 and was succeeded by a cousin William Beauclerk Powell, who reduced the debts and improved many of the farms. By 1898 the estate was of 4,336 acres(1,756 hectares). He died in 1911. His son, Edward Athelstan Lewis Powell died in 1930, and his widow, Margaret Powell, died in 1951. A distant relative Mrs Elizabeth Mirylees then inherited, moved here in 1956, in 1958 a new roof was built which involved the lowering of all the ceilings on the top storey.  

Three storey and basement mansion house of English Palladian style in coursed squared local stone with sandstone dressings and facing to centre bay. Added earlier C19 columned porch in Grinshill sandstone with 3 bays within faced in yellower rusticated stone. Flat or very low roofs (altered 1958) behind parapets with urns. Ashlar modillion cornice, band over ground floor and plinth. Rusticated raised quoins to outer angles. Large brick chimneys of earlier C18 type with arched panels. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION: Symmetrical front elevation of 1739 (datestone barely legible) with raised ashlar plinth. Seven-window range, broad 2-bay outer sections and narrower 3-bay centrepiece. Ashlar modillion cornice and parapet with urn finials on ashlar piers to outer angles, and 4 urns to centre parapet which has ashlar blind balustrading between piers. Centre 3-bay section has deeply rusticated C19 ashlar within portico, and smooth ashlar above, possibly a sandstone. Blank roundels to upper storey with thin moulded surrounds, 3 first floor tall arched lights separated by broad piers with plain bases and thin moulded capitals at arch impost level, and arches have thin moulded heads. Mid C19 sashes with iron glazing bars and radiating bars to head. Ground floor has 2 sandstone steps and 1848 portico with 4 columns, pilaster responds and full entablature with triglyph frieze and cornice. Flat blocking course over. Columns are Tuscan with moulded bases and capitals and 4 pilaster responds match. Two arched sashes with iron glazing bars and radiating bars to heads and centre arched-headed door with iron radial-bar fanlight over a plain overlight. Half-glazed C19 timber door. The large 2-window sections each side have ashlar band above ground floor and square-headed windows in rusticated ashlar surrounds. Ground floor 18-pane lights with voussoirs and keystones. First floor windows have large scrolled pediments like those on W side, framing triple keystones, and bracketed sills. Window pediments may be re-used. Top floor has square 6-pane fixed lights with rusticated surrounds and triple keystones. Roof parapet is in local stone with ashlar to coping , angle piers and urn finials. To right is added lower EAST WING by W R Coultart 1841, 2-storey 2-window range in coursed squared local stone with ashlar dressings. Raised quoins to SE corner, flat-headed windows in rusticated surrounds with voussoirs and keystones, band between floors and moulded cornice under parapet with 2 sections of blind balustrading. 18-pane sashes to ground floor and 15-pane above. Single-storey BILLIARD ROOM added to right in 1862-7 in similar materials, with Bath stone triple-arched window with moulded caps to piers and moulded arched heads. Moulded ashlar cornice, parapet with ashlar coping. WEST ELEVATION of 5 bays spaced 1-3-1 but without centrepiece, matches front with similar quoins, band, cornice and parapet with urn finials to angles, but walling is of rougher rubble stone and there are 10 of the Baroque window surrounds, oddly used on the attic and first floors. The left attic window evenly spaced but the windows below set slightly further out, perhaps altered in dining-room rebuilding 1846. Six-pane fixed lights to top floor, 15-pane timber sashes to first floor except 12-pane to left. Some moulded stone sills to first floor appear to be reused. Ground floor has, to left, added dining-room window by Haycock, squared bay in sandstone ashlar with entablature, cornice and parapet and large square corner pilasters with moulded plinths and capitals framing 3 long narrow sashes of 4-8-4 panes in plain ashlar walling. Stone sills and low plinth. Remaining openings have ashlar keystones, otherwise oddly plain reveals. Three full-length 18-pane windows to centre (the right one altered as French window with overlight) and a 15-pane hornless timber sash to right, with stone sill (this was a dummy window in plans of c1814). Two lead downpipes with lead brackets and very fine moulded lead rainwater heads with Powell crest, 'W P' and '1757'. To left is low 2-storey 2-window NW extension of 1846 by Haycock, in similar materials with quoins to NW angle, plinth, band and cornice. Rubble stone parapet . Plain stucco surrounds to windows, 15-pane timber sashes to ground floor and 9-pane similar sashes above with stone sills. Parapet conceals slate gable roof with red brick stack to rear gable. EAST ELEVATION has similar stone walls and coped parapet. Originally 5-window, but left 2 bays obscured by 1841addition which has lean-to passage along back added in 1860s. Windows without Baroque heads, simple stone voussoirs. Centre service door with overlight in rear porch. REAR: Irregular rear in rubble stone, the right third stepped slightly forward and presumably rebuilt in 1846 with the dining-room. Coped parapet and mainly rubble voussoirs to flat heads of openings. Two massive chimneys on parapet, stone heightened with red brick, with arched panels to each face of brick section. Left stack has square brick shaft and added brick external chimneybreast up wallface. Right stack is larger and probably of 1846, with stone impost bands each side of arched panel. Small brick stack on centre. Upper floor left has a sash with unusual elongated octagonal panes, mid C19, and then a slightly lower sash has unusual intersecting Gothic glazing bars in upper sash. To centre are 2 long narrow stair lights with square attic lights over. To right is left side of projecting part of rear wall with 2 close-spaced inserted windows in red brick surrounds each floor, long 10-pane and 12-pane to first floor and 4-pane and 6-pane to attic and small parallel-roofed C19 toilet addition at ground floor. To right NW range projects. Attached at NE angle is rectangular 2-storey SERVICE RANGE of 1841 by Coultart containing Estate Office, Battery Store, Gutting and Plucking Rooms, Bakery and Ironing and Laundry Rooms. Coursed rubble with slate hipped eaves roofs. Hipped slight projections to each end of N side, and hipped return running S at E end of S side. Big square red brick stack on ridge of SE return and another brick stack towards W end of main ridge. Timber louvred ventilators at intersection of main roof and SE return and on hip of S return. S side has the projecting return to right, then a small courtyard framed on left by the connecting link to rear of main house. Squared stone. S end of return to right has large paired casement to ground floor centre with stone voussoirs and first floor triple casement with timber lintel, W side has boarded door, then main range set back to left has 12-pane hornless sash to right, door with blocked overlight to left, and first floor centre 9-pane hornless sash. Connecting link to left has E side 12-pane hornless sash to ground floor and 9-pane above, all with stone voussoirs and slate sills. Rear N has 3 cross-windows to ground floor and tall door to right, with cross-window above left window and 12-pane sash above right window. W side has 2-storey 3-window range, 9-pane sashes above, 20-pane below.  

ENTRANCE HALL has fine stone fireplace (possibly by Sir Henry Cheere) based on William Kent design of c1720, with egg-and-dart surround, piers with floral drop, large side scrolls with grotesque heads, cornice with lattice frieze and finely carved centre floral panel. Doorways with plain square-headed architraves, but centre N door set in much larger Doric doorcase with fluted Roman Doric columns, triglyph frieze and broken pediment with bust, uncertain date possibly 1846-8 by Haycock. Moulded plaster wall panels and overmantel, and neo-Grec cornice with large mutules, probably by Haycock. Panelled window recesses and fielded panelled shutters. SW MORNING ROOM (library on 1814-17 plan) has an earlier to mid C19 character with unusual octagonal panels to doors in reeded frames with comer roundels. Panelled split-level window shutters. Ceiling with elaborate stepped cornice with a rope-scroll soffit and rich leafy scroll border. Centre acanthus rose with leaf sprays set in shallow coved recess with leaf-moulded circle around. Large W wall elliptical-arched recess with curved reeding set in panels of pilasters and fielded panelling. Re-opened blank window within. Guilloche decoration to arch. Chimneypiece of 1840s with coloured marble panels set in flush black marble framing. Fine cast iron grate. Thick N wall between Morning Room and Library with lobby opening onto garden. Lobby has 4-rib Regency vault with quatrefoil to centre. Brick arch over window. W LIBRARY (Mr Powell's Room on 1814-17 plan) is mid C19 in character, having plain marble fireplace and fire grate by TB Lewis & Son. Panelled window reveals, elaborate plaster ceiling with richly ornamented cove and Regency-style 6-panel doors with multiple mouldings. NW DINING ROOM remodelled in 1845-7 by Haycock (on site of much smaller room, called Evidence Room on 1814-17 plan). Heavy panelled ceiling with panelled soffits to main raised beams which are on moulded brackets, smaller cross beams between, all plastered with egg-and-dart mouldings to panels. Six-panelled doors with planted mouldings in panels, cornices on ornate console brackets. N wall grey marble chimneypiece with console brackets and iron grate. SILVER VAULT has barrel vaulted stucco ceiling. BUTLER'S QUARTERS in added NW wing have slate flagged floor. Entrance hall gives onto rear stair hall, not central to entrance hall. STAIR HALL is divided by a massive pair of Tuscan plastered columns each with its own entablature block above and modillions in cornices, matching hall cornice. Two half-column responds. Fielded 6-panel doors in moulded architraves to entrance hall and side lobbies. Blank recess on S wall possibly indicating that hall is remodelled. Panelled dado. Lozenge pattern stone-flagged floor. MAIN STAIRCASE of c1750, open-well with short connecting flight on N wall. Wide treads, bracketted tread ends, heavy ramped rail spiralled at foot. and triple column-on-vase balusters to each tread. Plaster panels and panelled dado to walls and 2 long stair lights with stained glass armorial panels and coloured glass margins, c1850. Haycock was probably responsible for the wall panels and the rich panelled ceiling. This has 9 panels with moulded borders and ornament to ribs around centre square which has a small moulded rose. Elaborate cornice with egg-and-dart moulding under modillions with rosettes in soffits between. BACK STAIR to E of main stair, dog-leg, mid C18 with heavy turned balusters and thick moulded ramped rail. Brackets to tread ends. Stair light has intersecting glazing bars to top sash and brightly coloured glass. NE KITCHEN fireplace has slate flag floors, broad N fireplace arch of squared stone voussoirs and range marked 'A.W. Vicars Aberystwyth' and 'Improved Patent Gradient Range'. Massive C19 fitted dresser. STORE with slate flag floor, meat-hooks, plate rack and copper basin and boiler. BACK HALL passage has flagged floor, servants' bells and room name plates, and turns E behind former SE front room (dining-room on 1814-17 plans) which has been subdivided into 3 small rooms in the C19. 1841 E WING has small rooms. BILLIARD ROOM reached by passage behind has 1860s deep-coved plaster ceiling with moulded cornice and 6 glass panels in centre flanked by panels with neo-classical corner rosettes. FIRST FLOOR landing and gallery remodelled by Haycock, c1848. Stair rail continued along LANDING front, and colonnade beyond: paired centre columns and half column responds, opening to long axial gallery. Enriched frieze below cornice. Axial GALLERY in three parts, main centre part with columns on S wall matching colonnade, disguising that saloon is not on axis. Greek cornice with triglyphs and mutules all around. The wall columns frame the door to the saloon and a false door each side, in shouldered architraves. Slightly set back to each side of the colonnades are arched doorways with moulded arches and pilasters, those to E of stair giving access to S to subdivided SE room and N to back stairs. Broad arches with pilasters and triple keystones open into outer galleries, full-height pilasters in angles. Outer galleries have a central feature each side: a large panel in shouldered surround with head breaking into pulvinated frieze of an ornate broken pediment, and ceilings with mutule cornice but not the triglyph frieze. W gallery has 2 opposed doors at E end, both arched with pilasters, opening onto bedrooms, and one each side at W end, square-headed with cornice over bolection-moulded frieze. The E gallery has one corniced door each side at E end with cornices. Both galleries have end windows in shouldered architraves. SALOON or MUSIC ROOM in centre of S front has sycamore floor replaced 1799 after dry rot. Remarkable French Rococo style decoration probably of the 1840s by Haycock, suggested by some heaviness of the moulding and the outsize mirrored panels, which cannot be C18. Antechamber at N end divided from main room by an arcade with 4 scagliola plaster columns. Fine N doorcase with pediment on consoles and leaf-scroll frieze, and 6-panel door. Flat ceiling with applied rococo scrollwork. Big wall mirrors with quadrant-curved rebated corners, one each side of door and one on each side wall, in moulded surrounds with plaster loops in angles. Main room has extensive use of gold leaf throughout. Dado rail, plaster big wall panels similar to mirror frames, marble fireplace on W wall and very large mirror opposite in shouldered surround with rococo scrollwork above and below. Chimneypiece is very fine in 4 colours of marble with big console brackets and carved drops below, and centre relief panel with fox and goose motif, possibly mid C18 by Sir Henry Cheere. Fireplace has brass surround and iron grate. Very large oval mirror over fireplace with rich rococo scrolls all around. S wall has mirrors between windows. Rococo scrollwork also over and between the arches of the N arcade. Rich cornice with leaf-scroll frieze, dentils, acanthus modillions with rosettes to soffits between and moulded border to sunk ceiling. Ceiling has oval centrepiece, 4 corner roundels and 4 rectangular panels with concave-curved ends, one each side of oval. The roundels have relief fruit motifs, the side panels have cartouches and leafy floral sprays and the oval has a reeded border with leaf ornament, large centre pendant rose with spiral acanthus, in a rich surround of floral and fruit plant trails. SW NIGHTINGALE ROOM, the main bedroom, has elaborate stucco ceiling with rococo branches and leaf trails framing relief busts of Shakespeare and Milton. Dentil cornice. N wall chimneypiece with painted timber surround to grey marble, bolection-moulded frieze with fruit festoon on centre panel, and cornice over. Wall panel above with eared corners and broken pediment with flower vase in centre. Fireplace has fine 'Ironbridge' grate of c 1790, incorporating reliefs of the iron bridge and neo-classical vases and motifs. BATHROOM adjoining, former DRESSING ROOM, has grey marble fire surround with panelled pilasters and curved corners to panelled lintel. Timber surround with moulded frieze and cornice. NW DAMASK ROOM or PINK ROOM over dining room is of c1846-8 with plain moulded cornice and N wall marble plain fireplace with grate. MACAW ROOM has 6-panelled door, dentil cornice and timber fire surround and mantle. Two rooms in subdivided SE corner, BOUDOIR and BLUE ROOM have similar earlier C19 Gothic arcading to frieze, cornice and small cove with fluting around ceiling. Marble fireplace. NE POWELL ROOM has dado and long fielded panels, moulded stucco cornice and fire grate by W Davies. The TOP FLOOR has 1950s ceilings, following removal of the attic storey above. Six-panel doors to rooms. A cast-iron fireplace to one bedroom at NE, with twisted columns. S rooms retain early C18 raised fielded panelling and dado rails. C19 mouldings to windows, shutters and doors. Remnant of stairs to attic storey and roof, now blocked, still traceable. Roof was formerly of 3 ridges, remnants of original pegged trusses. CELLARS with slate steps and flagged and cobbled floors. Wine cellar with tiled floors and brick and slate wine racks. Elsewhere, wine racks of 1848 with segmental-headed brick arches. Massive stone arch to centre chamber and 2 blocked C18 2-light wooden windows. Gerald Morgan (2001) saw rough ceiling beams, now masked, possibly reused sections of scarfed crucks. Massive timber door to half barrel-vault beneath main entrance, with side chambers vaulted in brick. Front wall has sash windows with narrow glazing bars. SERVICE RANGE of 1841 in poor condition: C19 staircase with ramped rail, turned newels and stick balusters.  

Reason for designation
Included at Grade I as gentry house substantially of 1739-57 with surviving original features including the stair and some outstanding later features of the 1840s, such as the late Rococo saloon. Nanteos is the major surviving Georgian house of the region.  

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