Hensol Castle 1693

Pontyclun, Wales

Brief Description

The site is a mid-18th century landscape park, including a large lake and a serpentine pond. It is associated with a major house that is an early example of the Gothic style in Wales. The main features of Hensol Castle survive more or less intact. The park contains some good bridges and an interesting island folly.

History

The core of the house dates from the late-17th or early-18th century. The park was mainly laid out in the mid-18th century.

Detailed Description

The main features of the park are shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1877. These include the drive running from the main entrance at the north-east side of the site. The drive passes over an ornamental bridge and ends in a small forecourt at the castle. There is a path from here to the lake, which lies to the west of the house. The lake is on a north-south orientation, with a small wooded island near the western shore. The island has a folly on it, which is now difficult to see. At the south end of the lake is a disused boathouse. There is a wood on the north side of the site, bounded by a ha-ha.

The walled kitchen garden may have its origins in the 18th century. There is a stream flowing into the garden in a stone-lined channel. The 1877 Ordnance Survey map shows a pattern of paths and beds, but the site now only has rough grass. In 1923, a sale catalogue described the kitchen garden as follows:

‘The Kitchen Garden through which a stream passes, spanned by rustic bridges, is walled on all sides and contains fruit trees of all descriptions, with a big Vinery containing the famous single vine which is reputed to be six months younger than the famous Hampton Court Vine. Peach House, Melon House, Orchid House and Hothouse, all heated from the Stoke Hole. Range of brick frames, Potting Shed, Pot Store, etc.'

The glasshouses retain most of their frames and some glass, but are in a poor state of repair. A vine is still alive in the largest of the three glasshouses. There had been an orchard to the north of the kitchen garden, but this is now a plantation of conifers.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house has a core which dates from the late-17th or early-18th century, with later modifications. It was Gothicised in 1735 and extended in the 1840s.
  • Earliest Date:
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  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: Bridge on the main drive.
  • Lake
  • Description: The lake lies to the west of the house. The lake is on a north-south orientation, with a small wooded island near the western shore. The island has a folly on it, which is now difficult to see. At the south end of the lake is a disused boathouse.
  • Pond
  • Description: There are two ponds. These were originally one serpentine mill pond, which was split some time after 1877.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: Walled kitchen garden.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Glasshouse
  • Description: Three glasshouses, one large, two small.
  • Boat House
  • Description: Disused boathouse.
  • Folly
  • Description: Folly on the lake island.
Stream, Canal
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Pendoylan
History

Detailed History

The Jenkins family occupied the site in the 17th and early-18th century. Early improvements to the site may have been made in the late-17th century, but the main development was from the mid-18th century onwards. Charles Talbot gained ownership in 1721, adding the east and west wings in the Gothic style in 1735.

At the beginning of the 19th century Benjamin Heath Malkin noted a ‘very fine piece of artificial water, measuring twenty-five acres' and a five and a half acre pond between the house and the mill. Malkin describes the grounds as ‘rich and pleasing', and attributes most of the development to William, Lord Talbot, who died in 1782. The house passed through many different ownerships, being extended by Samuel Richardson in the 1790s and re-modelled by Rowland Fothergill in the 1840s. The planting of informal gardens and other additions were undertaken during this period.

The house became a mental hospital run by Glamorgan County Council in 1927. The hospital has since closed, and the estate has been taken over by a neighbouring hotel.

Associated People
Contact
References

References