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Latitude: 53.2303 / 53°13'49"N
Longitude: -3.3868 / 3°23'12"W
OS Eastings: 307521
OS Northings: 371265
OS Grid: SJ075712
Mapcode National: GBR 6N.0KSQ
Mapcode Global: WH76V.Y2DC
Entry Name: Bach-y-graig Farmhouse
Listing Date: 24 September 1951
Last Amended: 9 April 2002
Source ID: 1374
Building Class: Domestic
Location: About 2 km south-west of Tremerchion Parish Church. Bachygraig is approached from the Denbigh side by a private lane starting at Pont-y-Cambwll. Older farmyard buildings at left, terraced lawn at fron
Traditional County: Flintshire
Although the historic house of Bach-y-graig was demolished at the end of the C18, the remaining original outbuildings, which constitute the present Bach-y-graig farmhouse, preserve a little of the architectural character of the lost house; there remains in particular a substantial amount of early brickwork, important because Bach-y-graig is said to be possibly the first instance of this material in Wales. The original brickwork remaining at Bach-y-graig is in English Cross Bond, in well-fired bricks thought to be imported from the Netherlands, measuring about 55 mm by 220 mm.
The house was of the first importance. It was built in 1567-9 for Sir Richard Clough (d. 1570), whose initials are carved on voussoir stones of the rear arch of the surviving entrance archway. The date 1567 appears on the lintel of an adjacent doorway. Sir Richard was Sir Thomas Gresham's agent in Antwerp, and appears to have employed a Flemish architect, Hendrik van Paesschen of Antwerp, to build Bach-y-graig in the Renaissance character of the Netherlands. Sir Richard also built Plas Clough in Denbigh probably at the same date, where other Netherlandish features appear.
Approached from the west, the original layout was on three sides of a square, with the entrance range and archway to the west, the main house to the east, and a range to the south which may have been a warehouse, the ground storey of which was originally an open-fronted loggia facing the yard. The front (west) elevation of the surviving west range has lost both an original forward-returning bay at left matching that surviving at the right and an original tower above the central archway.
The house descended from Clough through the Salusbury family and came to Mrs Thrale (who later became Mrs Piozzi), in the late C18. The house was intact but in decline when seen by Dr Samuel Johnson, who toured with the Thrales in 1774. The main house was demolished by Gabriele Piozzi or his widow before 1817; the exact date of demolition is unclear but it may have been soon after or even during the construction of the Piozzis' new mansion, Brynbella, in 1795. Thereafter the west range, which had probably originally been the gatehouse and stables, became the farmhouse, and its north gable was reduced and the wall rebuilt in re-used bricks of various sizes. Numerous small alterations were made to the remaining parts. At a later date the yard-facing loggia on the south side was walled up.
A wrought-iron weathervane from Bach-y-graig is thought to have been reused at Brynbella stables; dated tie-irons (a typical Netherlandish feature) with the date 1567 may have been reused at Plas Clough; and a door may have been reused at Pentre Coch (Llanfair D C).
An L-shaped farmhouse consisting of a main range to the west and a south range. The house is in brickwork decorated by horizontal bands of stucco (much decayed), with slate roofs and brick chimneys. Plinth 1 to 1.5 m high.
The west elevation is the present front, preserving something of its original symmetry despite considerable losses. This is a four-window range plus a single advancing bay at right. These retain much original brickwork. C18 or early C19 sash windows in exposed frames, in altered positions; stone sills, stone drip moulds to lintels. At the centre is a tall archway with an ashlar arch, now filled with brickwork and incorporating a modern semi-glazed door with stone steps. A small modern circular window has been inserted in the angle of the advancing bay, and there is one upper sash window in the return wall. The east (yard-facing) elevation of this range also retains much original brickwork, but here also the window positions are altered. Three modern upper windows, one lower. String-course at mid height, riding over the rear arch of the original archway. This arch is of brick, but with a stone key, imposts and two voussoirs with the letters RC. Door at right with a lintel of pediment form decorated with strapwork and carrying the date 1567.
The north gable of the west wing has been rebuilt in reclaimed bricks in English Garden Wall Bond. This incorporates a wide full-height chimney stack.
The structure of the west range returns by one bay to the east, but adjacent to this return is a six-bay range thought to have been a warehouse, with a Tuscan loggia facing the yard, incorporating stone columns on tall plinths, an oak continuous architrave and stone cornice. The lower (loggia) storey is now brickwork-filled with modern windows or doors. The loggia cornice is continuous with the string course of the yard elevation of the house. The brickwork of the upper storey is also original. Five windows and one door position, the latter beneath a small gable containing a hoisting beam. This door is now replaced by a six-pane window. The upper window and door openings are all surrounded by unbonded brickwork jambs and arches with stone imposts and keys. Two stone upper windows with mullions, and one lacking its mullion, survive on the rear (south) elevation, also one original elliptical-headed doorway.
The east side of the yard, the site of the original house, is now occupied by C20 farm buildings.
In the former west range, now the principal part of the farmhouse, a living room has re-used wainscot and a fireplace with a large bolection moulding in timber.
Although only a fragment of the lost original mansion of Bach-y-graig, the farmhouse is still of prime importance as a very early instance of the use of brickwork in Wales; it also exhibits Netherlandish features reminiscent of the lost mansion and its C16 builder, Sir Richard Clough.
Other nearby listed buildings