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Kinsham Court


Kinsham Court is set in carefully-enhanced woodland scenery overlooking a natural cascade. Its picturesque scenery was admired by Richard Payne Knight and by Lord Byron, who wrote part of 'Childe Harold' here.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

This manor house was once part of the Harley Estate and was used as a hunting lodge.

Principal Building

Late C18 and early C19 with further C20 alterations. Brick, sandstone plinth; hipped slate roof. Irregular plan, main rectangular block, with former entrance elevation to west, extended to east, further minor accretions and entrance now to south elevation. Gable-end stacks and axial stack to east wing.

Three storeys to main wing, two storeys and attics to east. West front: coved eaves cornice. Five glazing bar sash windows, 6-pane to third floor, 12-pane to first and second floor with altered glazing to two windows to the right of centre on the ground floor, formerly with central doorway to this elevation. Entrance now through glazed part-hexagonal porch with inner 6-panelled door to south side. Interior: largely altered during C19 when entrance moved to south side with the creation of a new staircase and hall.

Lavish late C18 plasterwork decoration survives in a drawing room to the north-east and is said to have been by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard of Shrewsbury about 1760. Late C18 panelling also survives in a second floor room to the north-west in the main wing. Formerly part of the Estate of the Harleys, the Earls of Oxford, it was originally a hunting lodge and Dower house.

The house was apparently also used by Florence Nightingale's family and by Lord Byron who it is said, wrote or corrected "Childe Harold" here. During the C20 the house was owned by the Arkwright family; Sir John Arkwright wrote "Oh Valiant Hearts".

To the east of the south front is a large rectangular lead water butt with the date 1781. The house commands fine views and is situated above a steeply wooded dingle with the River Lugg below. (Burke's and Savile's Guide to Country Houses, Vol II, p 42).

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


Three miles east of Presteigne via the B4362 and a minor road.


18th Century

Kinsham Court, on a naturally picturesque site overlooking a waterfall on the River Lugg, was built in the early 18th century for the Harley family, Earls of Oxford, as a dower house. Internal alterations were made in the 1760s by the architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard.

19th Century

In the early 19th century the Picturesque scenery of the setting was widely appreciated. The owner, Lady Oxford, was advised by Richard Payne Knight, and Lord Byron wrote the first two cantos of 'Childe Harold' under a cedar in the garden, later claiming to have composed them in Italy and Greece.

The family of Florence Nightingale rented the house in the 1820s.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Waterfall
  • Kitchen Garden
Key Information



Principal Building

Domestic / Residential



Civil Parish