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Vaynol Hall

A Grade I Listed Building in Pentir, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2018 / 53°12'6"N

Longitude: -4.1918 / 4°11'30"W

OS Eastings: 253696

OS Northings: 369434

OS Grid: SH536694

Mapcode National: GBR 5M.2874

Mapcode Global: WH546.LS39

Plus Code: 9C5Q6R25+P7

Entry Name: Vaynol Hall

Listing Date: 22 February 1952

Last Amended: 22 September 1997

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4173

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located at the centre of Vaynol Park, SW of the Old Hall, and having gardens adjoining to the SW.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Bangor

Community: Pentir

Community: Pentir

Locality: Vaynol Park

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire

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History

Vaynol was given to the crown after the last of the Williams family died without issue in 1696. Before 1723 the estate was granted to John Smith, MP, chancellor of the Exchequer and Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1764 it was left to Thomas Assheton of Cheshire, who took the name Smith; marriages of various descendants introduced Duff and Vivian into the name. The Vaynol Estate was enlarged enormously from the wealth created by the Dinorwic Slate Quarries, one of the two most important in Wales. However, much of this property was sold by Sir Michael Duff in 1967, and after his death in 1980 the remaining part of the estate was sold, passing out of the family.

Vaynol Hall replaced the Old Hall as the principal house in Vaynol Park. It is of early-mid C18 in origin, and was extensively remodelled in the C19 to create the present vast building. Successive early C20 works include alterations in 1901-5 and in 1912, the demolition of a wing in 1959, and conversion into flats.

Exterior

Of white painted stucco with slate roofs behind high parapets. Three storeys; 'L'-plan. The SE front is of 10 bays; with a canted 3-storey bay, and the right hand wing also set forward and canted. The ground floor windows are set in shallow arched recesses; all 16-paned sash windows, mostly horned. A panelled door with overlight is set in the canted bay. The parapet has a band and slight cornice. Set back at the SW end is a 2-storey stair projection with an especially tall window. The NE front has the main entrance from the driveway in the re-entrant angle, facing NE; a classical portico added in 1910 with a winged symbol on the fascia. Behind is a lobby with a domed roof. The SW front is of 7 window bays, including a splayed ground floor on the right. The garden to this side is bordered on the SE side by a rebuilt brick wall with acorn finials and closed to the SW by a balustraded wall with a concrete handrail, terracotta balusters and oval fluted urns.

Interior

Classical mid-Georgian interior with a complex plan. The principal rooms are in the eastern part leading off a N-S rectangular inner hall, in line with the former main entrance, and an E-W corridor ending to the W in a tall staircase hall in a Rococo manner. Elaborate plasterwork to many rooms and panelled doors throughout, together with wall-panelling, especially to the corridor. Various fine marble chimneypieces. The grand staircase is set in a panelled hall with a cantilevered upper flight; barley-twist balusters, foliated tread ends and a marbled handrail. The stair well is lined with striking plasterwork arranged in vertical, mainly naturalistic trails (e.g. similar to that in Powderham Castle, Devon). The archway at the top has Gothick detail to the soffit. The inner hall has fluted columns and broken-pedimented architraves; garlanded urns enrich this ceiling. One of the public rooms to the E has a Rococo ceiling. Beyond, the main drawing room is finely fitted in a Palladian manner reminiscent of the work of William Kent; including deeply coved cornice over panelling, punctuated by fluted Corinthian pilasters. The quality of this work is not at all provincial but in fact reflects the latest English fashions; this may be due to John Smith, the leading politician, who became the owner in 1723, and probably would have acquired knowledge of the foremost styles of the day from his London connections. At the end of the corridor is an added circular lobby in a Grecian style, perhaps contemporary with the portico itself, the walls decorated with trompe l'oeil paintings depicting local scenes, including the Dinorwic Quarry and Vaynol, and the lantern dome is carried on marble effect iron columns. Marbled floor. The library to the NW has fluted Ionic pilasters.

Reasons for Listing

Graded I for the exceptional interest of the fine mid-Georgian interior of this country house at the heart of Vaynol Park. Of group value with other listed items at Vaynol.

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