The Court, St Fagans 4293

Cardiff, Wales

Brief Description

The Court is now a nursing home, with some very fragmentary remains of the 1920s garden laid out by Gertrude Jekyll.

History

The house was built in 1907, and gardens laid out at the same time. These were re-designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Planting for the new layout began in 1926.

Features

Style

  • Arts And Crafts
  • Nursing Home (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
History

Detailed History

The Court is south of St. Fagan's Castle on the west side of Cardiff. The house was built in 1907 for Robert Forrest, chief agent to the St. Fagan's estate. Forrest died in 1910 and the estate was taken over by William Tatem, shipping magnate. The estate was bought by Sir David Llewellyn in the 1920s, and his wife Magdalena consulted Gertrude Jekyll regarding improvements to the garden. The Court is therefore one of only five gardens in Wales with which Jekyll was involved, which makes it all the more sad that the garden is now lost.

There are letters from Magdalena Llewellyn to Gertrude Jekyll, which give a detailed description of the layout of the grounds at the time. There was a sunken drive lined with trees between the house and the western lodge. Trees above the drive included silver birch, holly and beech, under-planted with azaleas and rhododendrons. There were specimen cedar trees and flower beds against the house walls.

Changes by Lady Llewellyn included the levelling of the bank south of the drive, thus creating a platform on which an octagonal ‘Wendy House' was built. A rock garden was made to the north of this. A pavilion was added to the north of the drive, below which was a previously-established woodland garden.

An area of lawn and field to the south of the house had been altered by the Llewellyn family to include a tennis court, riding area and cricket pitch. This area offered great possibility for improvements. Jekyll designed and planted a new area to the south of the house. This included a central broad grass path flanked by wide borders and yew hedges. The central path led to a mature sweet chestnut tree. There was also a sunken area with ponds and lavender-lined paths. Planting began in 1926.

The rural setting of the site was very soon under threat. The site was sold in 1954, and was converted for use as a local authority nursing home. By the 1990s, the wide borders were long-gone, though some structural features could still be indentified. More areas of the garden were destroyed during extensions in the 1990s, along with housing development on both sides of the drive. Very few traces of the garden survive.

Period

  • Early 20th Century
Associated People

Just one person associated to The Court, St Fagans

References

References