Cwrt-yr-Ala (also known as Cwrtyrala)1025

Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Brief Description

The site features a house built to designs by Sir Percy Thomas in 1939, and a formal garden of the same date with terraces and a canal.

History

Cwrt-yr-Ala mansion was built about 1805 for Robert Rous. Its grounds were admired for the fine landscaping, including a string of ponds which appeared as one sinuous piece of water. In 1937 the Regency villa, contents and 1250-acre estate were purchased by Sir Herbert Merrett, chairman of the coal conglomerate, Powell Duffryn, and owner of Cardiff City Football Club. He demolished the 19th-century villa and had a new seven-bedroom house built to designs by Sir Percy Thomas in 1939.

Detailed Description

A ‘natural' garden with sloping lawns was created by the Rous family. Close to the house was a parterre. There was also a round pond with a central fountain. To the north of the formal garden was a mature yew hedge. To the west was a walled kitchen garden, with a woodland area beyond that.

The Merrett family introduced substantial changes to the garden. New features included stone walls and steps, with balustrades and paved terraces on the west and south of the house. The parterre was replaced with a sunken garden with a central canal, but the mature yew hedging was retained.

Features
  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is a neo-Georgian mansion.
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  • Pond
  • Description: There is a string of eight long narrow ponds, which give the impression of a continuous sheet of water. The ponds were formed by damming the Wrinstone brook.
  • Drive
  • Description: There are two drives.
  • Planting
  • Description: Formal gardens.
  • Kitchen Garden
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  • Fountain
  • Description: Lead fountain.
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  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
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  • Icehouse
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Garden Terrace
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Michaelston
History

Detailed History

The manor of Michaelston-le-Pit was bought by Robert Rous from the Fonmon estate in 1788. The site had a farmhouse called Cwrtyrala, which was probably where the manor house of the de Raleigh family had been. Rous began to build a villa on the site in the 1790s. Robert Rous died in 1806, leaving the estate to his nephew, Thomas Bates Rous. Thomas built a much larger house on the site in 1819-20. The last member of the Rous family to live in the property died in 1907.

Between 1908 and 1934, the house was occupied by the Cardiff brewer, William Henry Brain. The house was then sold to Sir Herbert Merrett, who demolished the building and replaced it with a house of neo-Georgian style. This was designed by Percy Thomas in 1939-40.

It seems that the original garden layout only had two ponds, the others being added before the Ordnance Survey first edition maps were produced in the 1870s. The parks and gardens were mainly established by the 1840s. A tithe map of this date shows their outlines.

Associated People

Just one person associated to Cwrt-yr-Ala

Contact

Telephone

01443 336000

Official Website

Click Here

Owners

    References

    References