Historian’s Report

In his article on Abercamlais in Country Life, the author[1] described it as “… almost entirely an early-Georgian House, and so a comparative rarity among Welsh mansions…”.  

Robert Scourfield who co-authored, with Richard Haslam, the Buildings of Wales Powys (Pevsner Architectural Guides)[2] has described Abercamlais recently in correspondence as one of the best surviving early Georgian houses in Wales.  He also states that what sets Abercamlais apart from many other similar historic buildings in Wales are:

  • Externally the C17th structural evidence and the C19th and C20th alterations by (or attributed) to the well-known C19th and early C20th architects, George Gibert Scott.[3] & William Douglas Caröe.[4].
  • Internally the excellent state of preservation which is quite rare in Wales, including the superb plasterwork and the open-well staircase.[5].
  • Its very well documented history over the last 400 to 500 years.

The buildings and structures around the main house are of particular historic and architectural merit in their own right and contain a number of listed buildings and structures.  These are referred to below with a summary of the reasons for their listing:

  • Pigeon House (also known as the Dovecote) – Grade II* included “… for its exceptional interest as an elaborate architectural dovecote of the C18.” [6]
  • Bridge over the River Camlais – Grade II included “… for its special interest as a well-made single-arched bridge of definite character which has group value with the dovecote.” [7]
  • Bridge over the River Usk – Grade II* included “… for its exceptional interest as a fine large river bridge probably of C17 date, closely associated with an important historic estate.” [8]
  • Suspension bridge over the River Usk – Grade II included “…  for the special historic interest of the walled garden and for group value with the other listed items at Abercamlais” [9] as well as being a “… remarkable piece of Victorian engineering on a minimal scale.” [10]
  • Walls of walled garden north of the river – Grade II* “…as a well-preserved C18 kitchen garden walls with exceptional early C19th glass houses retaining unusually complete heating systems associated with the cultivation of tropical plants.” [11]

In his article on Abercamlais in Country Life, the author[12] underlines the importance of the setting of the house amongst the adjacent buildings, bridge and other structures stating that:

“… the pair [of bridges] at Abercamlais and Penpont are unique, and illustrates the importance to each estate of farming the land on each side.”

“Not the least remarkable feature of Abercamlais is the juxtaposition of the farmyard to the house.  Rebuilt and adapted during the agricultural prosperity of the 18th and early 19th centuries, they were never moved away from the house…”

FOOTNOTES
[1] Richard Haslam
[2] Published by Yale University Press in November 2013
[3] British architect (1811-1878) influential in the Gothic revival and renowned for his work in ecclesiastical architecture
[4] British architect (1857-1938), renowned for his work in ecclesiastical architecture and as a major figure in the Arts & Crafts movement
[5] Described as “exceptional” in the listing document (record no 6785)
[6] Source – extract from Historic Wales Report
[7] as above
[8] as above
[9] as above
[10] Source – from listing document record no 6788
[11] Source – extract from Historic Wales Report
[12] Richard Haslam

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