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Latitude: 52.6337 / 52°38'1"N
Longitude: -3.1227 / 3°7'21"W
OS Eastings: 324111
OS Northings: 304584
OS Grid: SJ241045
Mapcode National: GBR B1.71W6
Mapcode Global: WH79X.0288
Entry Name: Leighton Hall
Listing Date: 24 December 1982
Last Amended: 20 March 1998
Source ID: 8663
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Located approximately 1.4km S of Leighton church. The Hall is reached by private road on the E side of the B4388 Buttington to Forden road, and is set in landscaped gardens.
Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan (Ffordun gyda Tre'r-llai a Threlystan)
Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan
Locality: Leighton Park
Traditional County: Montgomeryshire
Built 1850-56 on the site of an earlier large house by the Liverpool architect W.H. Gee for John Naylor. The Hall range was completed in 1851. Naylor, a Liverpool banker, had acquired the Leighton Estate in 1846-47 and embarked on an ambitious programme of building, notably the church, Leighton Hall and Leighton Farm, all designed by Gee and completed by the mid 1850s. Naylor lavished money on the furnishing of the Hall: the interiors were executed by J.G. Crace to designs by A.W.N. Pugin (drawings for which are in the Victoria and Albert Museum) which are similar to his work at the Houses of Parliament; there are Minton floor tiles; and stained glass probably by Forrest and Bromley who made the glass for Leighton church. The great hall was designed to display Naylor's collection of paintings and sculpture, which included works by Turner, Landseer, Delaroche and Ansdell. A courtyard wing of 1852 which was attached to Leighton Hall Tower was demolished early C20. John Naylor's grandson, Captain J.M. Naylor, sold Leighton Hall and the Estate in 1931.
Picturesque high-Gothic style house consisting of a main range with clock tower in front (facing west), a short library wing to the S and a longer N wing. Behind the main range and continuing parallel to the N wing, is an L-plan service wing (which also incorporates the main stairway) which forms 2 sides of a courtyard at the rear. The hall is full-height, the wings are 2-storey with attics. Of brick, but the main elevations are faced in coursed, rock-faced Cefn stone with ashlar dressings, coped gables and slate roofs. Stone chimney stacks have tall patterned flues.
The symmetrically-planned entrance front to W comprises a 3-bay central range flanked by the advanced gables of the N and library wings. Advanced central clock tower is 3-storeyed and has panelled clasping buttresses leading to castellated turrets and a parapet of stepped battlements. The lower storey of the tower is a porch, the doorway to which has a moulded pointed arch beneath a gabled canopy with fleur de lys finials and a shield-bearing lion in a quatrefoil below the gable. The first floor has 2 windows with Y-tracery, stilted arched hood moulds and a continuous sill band. The second floor has 2x 2-light windows with cusped Y-tracery and a continuous frieze of saltire crosses at sill level. Beneath the parapet is a frieze of cusped chevrons. The side walls have windows similar to front, except the ground floor which has 2-light oriel windows in ashlar with Y-tracery.
Flanking the clock tower are shallow 4-light bay windows to ground floor in ashlar with blind tracery below the sills and a parapet with saltire crosses in bay to L, battlements to R. Above are 2-light mullioned windows with cusped heads and hood moulds, and a string course at sill level continuous with the clock tower and wings. The hall also has a parapet of saltire-cross panels (with intermediate pinnacles above corbels, now broken off) continuous with the frieze on the clock tower. The wings have gable stacks and plain moulded parapets with polygonal angle turrets on moulded corbels and with ball finials. In the upper storey both wings have 2-light windows similar to those of the upper level of hall. The N wing to L has single cusped lancets under hood moulds to L and R in the lower storey; the library wing has blind arrow loops.
The shorter library front consists of a pair of gables advanced from the main axis of the wing. The gables have plain parapets with pendant finials and corbelled polygonal turrets above the eaves with ball finials. In the lower storey are 2x cross-windows to R and canted bay with similar windows to L. In the upper storey are 2x 2-light mullioned windows with foiled heads and continuous sill band. The attics have similar one-light windows.
The N garden front is a 6-window range (1-2-2-1) with a roof line stepped down in 3 stages, and has coped gables with stacks. The highest block to R has an advanced gable with full-height bow window. This is balanced by a second advanced gable to L of centre. The bow window to R has mullioned, trefoil-headed windows in each storey, between which is a blind arcade of similar arches; above the windows is a panelled parapet. In the gable above is a small transomed window. The gable to L of centre has a shallow 6-light mullioned and transomed bay window with embattled parapet. Above it are 2x 2-light mullioned windows and a cross-window in the attic, all with hood moulds. The gables are linked by a continuous string course. Between them is a 2-window range with 2-light Decorated-style windows with hood moulds and foliage stops in the lower storey. In the upper storey the windows have cinquefoil heads and hood moulds with plain stops. Single-light dormers have coped gables with ball finials at the angles and spiked finials on the ridge, and stand on plain corbel tables below a parapet of saltire-cross panels. A single bay at the L end has a cross-window below a 3-light castellated trefoil-headed oriel window.
The short E front is stepped in plan, with advanced 2-window range forming cross-gable of service wing to L, a circular turret clasped in its angle with a single-window block (the end of the N wing corridor) and, recessed to R, the gable return of the N wing. The gable end to R has an external stack and cross-window to L in each storey. The single-window block has 3-light mullioned and transomed windows in each storey and a parapet of saltire-cross panels. A panelled door is in the side wall. The 2-window range to L has a plainer parapet, cross-windows and a corbelled sham chimney stack centrally-placed at first floor level. Above it is a small roof dormer. The 3-stage turret has cross-windows in the lower stages and a tall narrow round-headed window in the upper stage. The 2-stage belfry has open arcading beneath a conical roof with weathervane. Attached to the L of the service wing is a wall enclosing the SE courtyard. The courtyard elevations of the service wing are faced in brick and have sash windows under wedge lintels. Original rainwater goods survive, some of the hoppers of which are dated 1851.
The main range comprises the great hall, reached through the entrance porch in the base of the clock tower. The porch floor is laid with Minton tiles (designed by Pugin) and its walls are faced with linenfold panelling. It has a simple panelled ceiling. Doors to R and L lead to spiral stairs which have stained glass panels, and lead up to the clock tower and gallery in the hall. The doorway to the hall is under a Tudor arch and above it, in relief, is foliage with 'WELCOME' in archaic script. The half-lit doors have Perpendicular-style tracery with stained glass, above linenfold panelling. Clock cabinet in 2nd storey room of tower, with clockface under balcony facing Great hall: the clock was ordered from Wagner of Paris in 1855-6 and installed in the tower in 1858; ornate oak case with ornamental bronze work by E. Vittoz.
The great hall is the showpiece of the interior. It has a hammer-beam roof, with lions on the ends of the beams, which stand on wall shafts with foliage and shield corbels. The underside of the roof is composed of a frieze of Welsh family shields below a ceiling of stained glass consisting primarily of foliage in quatrefoils. Suspended from the ceiling, by means of knotted 'ropes' of iron, are 3 large cast iron chandeliers. These are composed of a large orb with pendant, and sprouting tendrils which form into the bodies of cherubs who hold further tendrils in their outstretched arms. Between each cherub is a bird or animal head in a shield on the central orb. A Tudor-style fireplace has a large overmantle with raking hood. The walls have linenfold panelling. There are galleries in each corner of the hall, and a larger one on the W side entered from the clock tower. All have wrought iron balustrading in Gothic style. To the W gallery is a pair of doorways formed of crocketed Tudor arches, flanked by empty statue niches. The upper W windows have stained glass which incorporates Naylor's monogram, heraldic devices, and in the margin lights Naylor's personal rebus (a nail with the letters 'o' and 'r').
From the hall there is the library on the S side, the service wing on the E side and a range of rooms in the N wing, parallel to which is a long corridor, which also gives access to the service wing. The doors to the main rooms have linenfold panelling in moulded surrounds with brattishing. The main rooms also have linenfold panelling around the walls.
From the hall, the first 2 rooms of the N wing have panelled ceilings with gilding and polychrome stencil painting of naturalistic foliage, on painted cornices of foliage trails and billets, decorated by Crace to Pugin’s designs. Each room also has an opulent alabaster fireplace consisting of a Tudor arch below a quatrefoil frieze, above which is a large mirror flanked by compound shafts and with brattishing above. The windows in each room have shutters with linenfold panelling. A third room in the N wing, immediately beyond the previous 2, has a plainer panelled ceiling (above a cornice of vine trails) which has gilded foliage bosses, and panels (some of which are lozenge-shaped) with stencilled foliage more stylised than in the other rooms.
The library has a panelled ceiling painted white (although the original stencil painting of naturalistic foliage is exposed in one small panel) above a cornice of foliage trails. It also has a large fireplace similar to those of the N wing, but in stone, which has a quatrefoil frieze incorporating Naylor's monogram and the heraldic device of dragons rampant.
The corridor of the N wing is laid with Minton tiles and contains the main open-well stair immediately behind the Great Hall. The stairwell is top-lit, having a stained glass octagon containing a variety of devices, including Naylor's monogram. The stair has a wreathed handrail, newels carved with foliage and rosettes, thick balusters, strings carved with foliage and a panelled dado.
The service wing includes an original strong room with cast iron door and safes. Most of the rooms have their original cupboards and there are also some large slate floor slabs.
On the first floor several rooms in the N wing have marble fireplaces. All the main rooms have doorways with embattled surrounds and doors with linenfold panelling, and linenfold panelling beneath the window sills. Within the roof are lead-lined troughs which collect water from the roofs, and which was then stored in a large cistern in the cellar. The cellars also have slate slab floors and ceilings, alcoves and compartments with slate shelves.
The Leighton Estate is an exceptional example of high-Victorian estate development. It is remarkable for the scale and ambition of its conception and planning, the consistency of its design, the extent of its survival, and is the most complete example of its type in Wales. As the centre-piece of this development, the hall is an appropriately grand exercise in romantic Gothic. It is especially notable for the quality of its interiors which rank amongst the foremost surviving examples of the ‘Houses of Parliament style’ of Pugin and Crace.
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