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Plas Clough

A Grade II* Listed Building in Denbigh, Denbighshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1984 / 53°11'54"N

Longitude: -3.4117 / 3°24'42"W

OS Eastings: 305788

OS Northings: 367738

OS Grid: SJ057677

Mapcode National: GBR 6M.2KQM

Mapcode Global: WH76V.KVKY

Plus Code: 9C5R5HXQ+88

Entry Name: Plas Clough

Listing Date: 24 October 1950

Last Amended: 20 July 2000

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1064

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located approximately 1.2km N of Denbigh, set back to the W of the Denbigh-St Asaph road on a slight rise and set within its own park.

County: Denbighshire

Town: Denbigh

Community: Denbigh (Dinbych)

Community: Denbigh

Locality: Plas Clough

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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Denbigh

History

Plas Clough was built by Sir Richard Clough, the agent and partner of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange in London. Clough, son of a Denbigh glover, was created a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in his youth; he was based in Antwerp from 1552 until his return to Wales in 1567. It was during his period in the Low Countries that he made the acquaintance of the famous geographer and Cartographer Abraham Ortelius, whom he put in contact with the Denbigh man of letters and cartographer Humphrey Llwyd. Clough married the famous Katherine of Berain, known as 'Mam Cymru' on his return and he built Plas Clough as his primary residence immediately afterwards. Plas Clough was one of two country residences built within two years by Clough in the environs of Denbigh. The other, Bach-y-Graig, now survives only in fragment, the main block having been demolished in the early C19. This is known from engravings and descriptions to have been an extraordinary storeyed building of centralised plan, conceived entirely in the Flemish style. Whilst Bach-y-Graig appears to have served as a curious lodge-cum-office, with large associated warehouse ranges, the more sober and traditional Plas Clough was clearly intended from the outset as the main seat.
Both houses are of seminal importance for Elizabethan Welsh architecture in that they represent the earliest use of load-bearing brick in the Principality (the brick was almost certainly imported from the Low Countries). Of further significance is the use for the first time at Plas Clough of the crow-stepped gable, a traditional Flemish motif which was eagerly adopted into the architectural vocabulary of north Wales in the late C16 and early C17.

Plas Clough was altered in the C19 when it acquired sash windows and exterior roughcast. The prominent initials RC and the date 1567 appear on the facade in the form of tie plates. However, as neither of these is shown in a 1770s watercolour by Moses Griffiths, it is possible that they were reused from Bach-y-Graig.

Exterior

Elizabethan storeyed gentry house of U-plan with a part-open court to the rear. Of early brick construction with C19 or early C20 roughcast elevations; steeply-pitched, slated roofs with staged brick chimneys having simple cornicing. The principal, road-facing elevation is of 5 bays and is near-symmetrical. This has a 3-bay central range flanked by large cross-wings with flush stepped gables to the front. The central, entrance bay has a primary storeyed porch, formerly also with stepped gable, and now with plain bargeboards. This has an open lower stage and a projecting upper storey supported on Tuscan columns of sandstone. A recessed plaque has the painted arms adopted by Clough (the arms of the Holy Sepulchre) and, in the gable apex, iron tie-plates in the form of the initials RC and the date 1567; 4-light multi-pane window. C18 6-panel door in a wooden case of 4 panelled pilasters and 8 side lights. Flanking the porch are paired, unhorned sashes, 12-pane to the ground floor and 9-pane to the first; further paired 12-pane sashes to both floors of the gabled wings.

The left-hand return (S elevation) has further sashes and, to the L, 4 tall early C19 sash windows. A single-storey slated addition adjoins to the N, set back slightly from the facade; 12-pane window with cambered head, with boarded door to the R.

Interior

The main, front range is reported to have arch-braced roof trusses.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* for its special interest as a fine early-Renaissance gentry house built by Sir Richard Clough, one of the most significant contemporary figures in Denbighshire; especially important as one of the earliest surviving examples of the use of crow-stepped gables in Wales and as the joint-first example in Wales of the use of load-bearing bricks.

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