Fonmon Castle 1350

Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Brief Description

Walled, terraced, and informal gardens form an attractive setting for this ancient castle, continually occupied since the medieval period. The grounds incorporate an interesting small keep which was once set in its own garden.

History

The medieval castle was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. It has been greatly re-modelled, notably in 1762.

Visitor Facilities

The castle is open on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons between April and September.

Detailed Description

The walled gardens to the north of the house survive. There are greenhouses in the lower walled garden, from where a gateway leads to the main kitchen garden. The layout of the kitchen garden is largely that from the Victorian period. It is still productive, and includes a herb garden as a new feature. The third walled garden is the scented garden, which has a new thatched summerhouse. There is a further walled enclosure beyond, which leads to the lawn.
Features
  • Castle (featured building)
  • Description: The medieval castle was extensively re-modelled in 1762 to create an elegant Georgian house. There were further changes in the 19th century.
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  • Stable Block
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  • Ha-ha
  • Description: The ha-ha, which runs south from the stables, is thought to date from the late-18th-century.
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  • Drive
  • Description: The main drive was diverted to the west some time before 1878.
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  • Orchard
  • Description: The 18th-century orchard still survives.
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  • Planting
  • Description: There are greenhouses in the lower walled garden.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The layout of the kitchen garden is largely that from the Victorian period. It is still productive, and includes a herb garden as a new feature.
  • Tower
  • Description: The Watch Tower, a battlemented structure. The origin of this tower is obscure. It may be a medieval angle tower, or could be a later folly using re-used stone. It forms an attractive garden feature.
  • Planting
  • Description: The third walled garden is the scented garden, which has a new thatched summerhouse.
  • Summerhouse
  • Description: There is a new thatched summerhouse in the scented garden.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The castle is open on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons between April and September.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Rhoose
History

Detailed History

The castle is thought to have been built between the late-12th and early-13th century by the St John family, in whose possession it remained until the 17th century. It was bought by Colonel Philip Jones in 1656 and the Boothby family, his descendants, still live at the site.

The St John family lived at Fonmon from around 1200 until around 1430, at which time it became their secondary residence. After years of tenanted occupation it was rather neglected by the time Philip Jones bought the property, but he instituted ambitious improvements both to the castle and the gardens. This included walled, terraced and informal gardens around the house. These are shown on a map dating to the 1760s as a complex of walled enclosures. A large orchard is also shown to have existed at this time. This feature still survives

Robert Jones III undertook the next significant phase of improvement. He married Jane Seys in 1762, and major works were undertaken on the house. This included the inclusion of a set of deep sash windows, giving clear views of the gardens, which were also re-designed. All the walls to the south of the house were removed except those around a watch tower or keep. The origin of this tower is obscure. It may be a medieval angle tower, or could be a later folly using re-used stone. It forms an attractive garden feature. The walls around the tower were removed in the late-19th-century.

A tithe map of 1840 also shows stables to the south-west of the castle. The ha-ha, which runs south from the stables, is thought to date from the late-18th-century. The main drive was diverted to the west some time before 1878. Having previously run to the south façade, it now ran to a new main entrance on the west side. At this time, a new retaining wall was constructed at the east side of the garden.

Contact
References

References