Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Gwernyfed High School  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Located in former parkland, on rising ground and approached by a winding drive for approximately 300m from the entrance gates on the road.  


Broad Class

The house was built in the former parkland of Old Gwernyfed in 1877-1880, by William Eden Nesfield for Captain Thomas Wood, Grenadier Guards, son of Col. Thomas Wood of Old Gwernyfed and Littleton, Middlesex. It is one of Nesfield's later houses, in a more plainly Jacobean style, after the waning of the enthusiasm for the Queen Anne style, and Nesfield having by then parted from Shaw. The building became a school in 1950.  

Main NW front set overlooking the enclosed front courtyard, and with stable block on the left. The right end of the elevation is partly covered by a C20 school entrance building. Red and grey sandstones, with paler limestone dressings and red tiled roofs. Central three storey gabled porch, slightly set forward, with the entrance under a slated roof bracketed off impost columns, all raised on 5 steps with brick risers. The outer entrance arch is moulded with high stops, an inner moulded arch with fleurons and massive oak door with moulded ribs and ironwork. Coats of arms carved on either side of door, a demi-lion rampant and a cock, and legend TAURUS GAVD ET IN SILVIS, and DEUS HAEC OTIA FECIT (not Nesfield?!). Three-light moulded and transomed window to first floor and 3-light window in attic gable. To the left of the porch bay, two wide gabled bays, with similar mullioned and transomed windows, double to ground floor, 7-light in first bay and 4 in second, diminishing on upper floors. Gables coped, with ball terminals. Outer bay is attached to stable block. The build to the right of porch element is further recessed, of 2 storeys, mullioned and transomed windows, and 2 canted hipped timber dormers to attic with sunflower terminals. Expressed stack with ribbed brick flue. Pierced ridge tiles. E elevation behind stables has small courtyard with many intersecting roofs, including timber framed gables with pargetting between studs. Ribbed brick stack. The rear elevation steps down from the SW end in 3 stages. Stone mullioned and transomed windows, and major external stone stack with inset ribbed flue to former drawing room in SW end. Single storey link has large gabled window and lead covered roof ventilator. The garden (SW) front, overlooking the fountain garden, possibly laid out by W.A.Nesfield, the architect's father, is symmetrical, with central canted 3-storey flat roofed bay, one bay either side with attic dormers separating off the 2-storey end bays, which are gabled behind the flat roof and lead parapet with sunflowers, TW monograms and pies. All windows mullioned and transomed, and garden door from drawing room to right of centre bay. Iron downpipes throughout carry date 1877.  

Porch opens into end of a low hall with dado panelling. Blocked fireplace with Gothic arcade on the timber lintel, and Tudor arch. Ceiling of 12 panels of moulded plasterwork divided by cross beams. Staff room at NW end has plaster dentilled cornice and floral plaster ceiling. Elaborate fireplace with eared surround. Room central to garden front has modillioned cornice and Carrara marble fireplace, with framed looking-glass over. Doors at further end of hall open to drawing room, now school library, which has inglenook containing moulded fossil-limestone fireplace with gothic demi-columns and sunflower panels either side. Door left from hall leads to stair hall, with large black marble bolection-moulded fireplace, and open well stair, having turned balusters and Jacobean-style carved square newels with terminals carrying family crests. Triple timber arcade at stair head. Walls panelled, with impressive 4-light double transomed windows, the quarries with silver-stained devices. Stair well has coved ceiling, with floral patterns enriched with gold. Passage to garden door has fireplace with iron moulded insert dated 1879. Floral pattern ceiling.  

Reason for designation
Included at Grade II* as a late house by Nesfield, a leader of the domestic revival style in the Victorian period, still retaining much of the original character, despite recent school additions.  

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