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Latitude: 53.2449 / 53°14'41"N
Longitude: -3.5 / 3°30'0"W
OS Eastings: 300001
OS Northings: 373038
OS Grid: SJ000730
Mapcode National: GBR 4Z0X.1H
Mapcode Global: WH65H.6PLR
Entry Name: Plas Newydd
Listing Date: 6 October 1952
Last Amended: 2 June 1998
Source ID: 153
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Strikingly located on a rocky rise some 1.6km NW of Cefn Meiriadog village; located immediately W of the lane running NW from Cefn Meiriadog to Glascoed.
Town: St Asaph
Locality: Groesffordd Marli
Traditional County: Denbighshire
Fine Elizabethan storeyed gentry house; built in 1583 for Ffoulk ap Robert (1540-1607) and his wife Grace Holland and twice dated. Apart from the replacement of the former wooden newel stair with a shaped-balustered staircase in the third-quarter C17, the reduction of one chimney and the relocation of an important post-and-panel screen to the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans, the house remains (in plan-form and external appearence) largely unaltered. It represents a particularly stylish and sophisticated version of the vernacular storied end-chimney, cross-passage house-type, most popularly adopted during this period by the North Walian gentry caste. In addition to the end chimneys (that at the parlour end serving the attic floor only) the house has an additional lateral chimney serving the hall and upper parlour or solar above, a feature typical of the earlier of this class of houses. The most curious (and seemingly unparallelled) aspect of the design is that the kitchen bay is raised up by about a metre, with a cellar below and with the corresponding first-floor chamber similarly stepped-up. It seems that this elevation of floor-levels at the service end was probably necessitated by the inclusion of a rock-cut cellar which would otherwise have had minimal head-room rendering it impracticable. The kitchen has its own external entrance, accessed via a raised, stepped platform to the L of the main cross-passage entrance. However, despite its vernacular character, the inclusion of large stone mullioned and transomed windows to the main rooms and two generous gabled dormers to the attic floor (one dated) suggest an emulation of more polite domestic architecture beyond the ambition of most houses of this date and context. An early C19 single-storey service range runs parallel with the main house and is connected to it by a low modern link block.
Large storeyed end-chimney house with further, lateral chimney incorporating a now reduced stair projection, forming an L-plan with the main block; constructed of squared local limestone blocks with finely-tooled quoins, built on rock foundations (partly exposed). The original rubble gable parapets have been removed, as have those to the dormers, although the original half-round eaves moulding and double kneelers survive; slate roof with tiled ridge. Tall primary chimneys to R and rear, that to the L reduced by half, probably in the late C19. The garden (S) side has a round-headed entrance to R of centre with small square light to L with chamfered reveals; above this is a 3-light mullioned window. To the R there are further 3-light mullioned windows to the ground and first floors with 2-light windows to the cellar and attic, that to the latter contained within a large gabled and kneelered dormer. To the L are large 4-light mullioned and transomed windows to the ground and first floors, with a dormer above, as before. 3-light ground-floor and 2-light first-floor window to the far L. The E and W gables have small contemporary single and double light windows to the upper floors, the latter with further 2-light and 3-light windows to the ground floor. The E gable has a projecting rock/rubble plinth with a privy outlet at dado height with projecting stone trough.
The N side faces a service court with remains of (apparently) original cobbling. Round-headed cross-passage entrance as before, partly-blocked with a 2-light window insertion and a further 2-light mullioned window to the first floor above. Stepped-up to immediately the L is a further, similar entrance; this is the former kitchen entrance and is approached via a stepped platform which also originally served as a mounting block; C20 boarded door. To the R is the large, gabled lateral chimney projection with adjoining and associated former stair bay. This has been altered and now extends with lean-to roof to the E, occupying half of the projecting breast. It has a chamfered square-headed, oak-framed entrance to its E side. Adjoining to the N and W are two further, connected lean-to additions, both C20. These are further extended westwards in a modern flat-roofed, single-storey link block of rubble construction. The link block connects the main house with a C19 single-storey rubble service range, with squat chimneys and pitched slate roof. This lies opposite the primary block and closes the service court on the N side.
Conventional three-unit cross-passage plan, though the service court entrance to the latter was decommisioned early on. This is now partly obscured by a third-quarter C17 L-shaped stair with moulded rail and flat, shaped balusters; the majority of both these and the rail are modern oak replacements and are associated with a similarly modern first-floor balustraded landing. Stopped-chamfered ceiling beams to passage and main (former) kitchen beams. The kitchen is accessed via a stepped-up entrance with moulded oak doorcase which leads off from the passage to the L; C20 boarded and studded oak door. Wide end fireplace with segmental arch with dressed voussoirs. At the southern end of the passage is a further moulded doorcase giving access via stone steps to a low cellar; original boarded and studded oak door (from which all others are copied). Similar door and doorcase opposite, leading to the former hall. The garden (S) cross-passage entrance retains its original draw-bar, which has early scratched graffiti.
High-ceilinged square hall with fine moulded main and subsidiary beams to ceiling framed in three ways; stopped-chamfered joists. Large lateral fireplace with segmental arch and voussoirs as before. In the NW corner the return flight of the staircase is visible as it cuts across the upper part of the hall; this has a boarded cupboard beneath, which incorporates reused sections of a primary post-and-panel screen, together with a polygonal-sectioned oak newel, relocated as a corner post. This was clearly formerly the newel for a wooden spiral stair and probably represents the remains of the original stair before the C17 replacement. To the R of the fireplace is a moulded doorcase as before, formerly giving access to the stair projection. The fine screen dividing the hall from the parlour has been removed to the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans, though is shown in situ in early C20 photographs; it is dated 1583. A modern brick wall now replaces this. Further moulded beams to parlour ceiling suported at the wall on curved stone corbels. Two original post-and-panel screens to the first floor, with grooved decoration and Tudor-arched entrances to former upper parlour/solar and central room; stopped-chamfered ceiling beams and a projecting lateral fireplace with flat stone lintel supported on curved corbels. Square-headed chamfered oak doorcase to former stair projection. The attic has a 5-bay roof with two partition trusses with wattle and dawb infil panels. At the W end is a further corbelled fireplace, as before.
Listed Grade II* for its special historic importance as an exceptionally well-preserved example of an Elizabethan regional gentry house.
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