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Latitude: 51.5815 / 51°34'53"N
Longitude: -3.1059 / 3°6'21"W
OS Eastings: 323467
OS Northings: 187539
OS Grid: ST234875
Mapcode National: GBR J1.CMG8
Mapcode Global: VH7BB.3HWZ
Plus Code: 9C3RHVJV+HJ
Entry Name: Plas Machen
Listing Date: 3 March 1952
Last Amended: 22 August 2003
Source ID: 2905
Building Class: Domestic
ID on this website: 300002905
Location: At the end of a track S off the A468, some 900m Se of the church at Lower Machen.
Locality: Plas Machen
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
Tagged with: Building
Remaining part of a substantial C16 mansion house, seat of the Morgan family until they moved to Tredegar House in the 1660s. A large part of the mansion was demolished in the earlier C19 and the remaining part restored by Habershon & Pite for the Tredegar estate c. 1869. Archdeacon Coxe's volume has an engraving of 1801 showing the whole building, the demolished part replaced by the wing coming forward to the left. The demolished part, as described by Coxe, had a circular room called the hunting room with a rich stuccoed ceiling depicting Diana in the middle with seats, churches and hunting parties in 12 surrounding compartments.
Sir John Morgan, alive in 1491 had a second son Thomas, esquire to Henry VII, alive in 1536, and he was the first to be called of Machen. His son Rowland followed, High Sheriff in 1557, and during his time Machen was described as a 'fair house' by Leland, in 1575. Rowland's son Thomas was MP for the county 1588-93, High Sheriff 1581 and died 1603. Rowland Morgan had inherited also Tredegar on the death of Miles Morgan, and Machen became a subsidiary property, though occupied by the family. William Morgan was knighted in 1633. Thomas Morgan of Machen and Tredegar was MP for the county in 1654-5, his son William (died 1680) was MP 1659-79. John Morgan of Machen and Tredegar, died 1720, is buried in the church. The house was deserted by the family c. 1800.
House, purple rubble stone originally lime-rendered, with stone-tiled roofs and numerous C19 brick chimneys each with red brick base and white brick square diagonally-set shafts. East front range has 2-shaft chimney at right end and axial 3-shaft chimney on ridge. Two storeys with two-storey gabled porch. Stone mullioned windows with leaded glazing and iron opening lights, the windows mostly Bath stone ashlar and possibly mostly renewed in C19. Hoodmoulds with square stops generally. The porch has a four-centred arched moulded entry with double wave mouldings and hoodmould, and board door with C19 strap hinges. One 4-light stone-mullion window above with hollow mouldings and Tudor-arched heads to lights, and hoodmould. Porch has right side C19 2-light matching window and corbelled chimney breast above, to C19 single-shaft chimney. Chamber within porch has square-headed diagonally-boarded door (panelled on inside). Range to right of porch has projecting lean-to stair with similar 2-light window and then 2-storey range with two 3-light mullion windows each floor. Windows are all similar to that on porch, but irregularly disposed. Door in C19 lean-to porch to right with stone-tiles on 2 chamfered posts. C19 square-headed door. Left gable end has a small single light each floor, similar, but ground floor one with a diamond stop to the hoodmould.
Set back to left of porch is slightly projected gable with 3-light flat-headed windows on 3 floors, all lights square-headed, the attic and first floor windows roll-moulded, the ground floor window ovolo-moulded.
C19 projecting wing to left has massive E end-wall external chimneybreast with red brick quoins, top and two diagonal shafts.
S side to garden is in 3 parts, the C19 wing to right has 3-light windows, one to first floor, 2 below, all recessed roll-moulded. Straight joint to gabled centre section (presumably the end of the main range) with pair of large C19 3-light mullion-and-transom windows to each floor, each with single hoodmould. Massive C16 external chimneybreast on left side wall with tapering rubble stone shaft with single big shaft above. Set-back wing to left has two 2-shaft stacks one at left end and the other on ridge to right. Two-storey and attic front with quite different mullioned windows of purple sandstone, hollow-moulded with sunk spandrels and incised crosses on small boss above each depressed-arched light, and heavy hoodmoulds. Two irregular bays, centre one with gable over attic 2-light, first floor 3-light and ground floor 4-light, all with hoodmoulds. To right is door with stone lintel, and in angle to the big chimneybreast two small square single light windows in chamfered frames one above the other, under eaves, the lower one of limestone.
The rear is on a steep bank, with main rear wing projecting to right with lean-to against its left side. Spine range has stair-gable visible to left of main rear wing and step in roofing to left of the axial chimney. A smaller and later rear wing is to left, with short section of rear wall of main range to extreme left. This has blocked 2-light window to first floor, as those on front, and section of stone shelf to left over big corner buttress. There is a small stone-walled garden in angle between this and the smaller rear wing Rear wing has W end single-shaft chimney-stack, N side 2 casement-pair windows, one with stone voussoirs one with timber lintel, and blocked basement door. Gable end has straight joint to right of centre, suggesting that this wing is later than lean-to on side of the main rear wing. Lean-to has door, C20 window above and loft window. One gabled dormer on side of main rear wing above lean-to. Square stair-turret in angle between lean-to and rear wing with battered base and stone top, the angle to the wing slightly splayed with one tiny loop light. End gable of wing has battered base, deep-set basement window with relieving arch over, ground floor deep-set narrow loop with stone slab lintel to splayed opening and blocked window to left of centre with relieving arch over. Two small attic windows with rebuilt sides.
Interior not fully inspected. The stair hall has earlier C19 open-well stair with stick balusters, column newels, closed string and ramped rails to banister. Six-panel doors. Stone-flagged floor. Two four-centred arched doorways to first floor rear and right. Stone winding stair in small stair turret beside entrance porch. Stone-vaulted basement to rear wing.
Graded II* as a substantial Elizabethan gentry house of one of the principal families of the county, with surviving detail including mullioned windows.
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