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Latitude: 51.8399 / 51°50'23"N
Longitude: -4.9517 / 4°57'6"W
OS Eastings: 196751
OS Northings: 219815
OS Grid: SM967198
Mapcode National: GBR CL.VBFM
Mapcode Global: VH1RF.402W
Entry Name: Poyston including attached service ranges to NW.
Listing Date: 1 March 1963
Last Amended: 2 October 2002
Source ID: 12010
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Situated some 1.3 km E of the A40 and just N of the airfield at Withybush.
Traditional County: Pembrokeshire
Country house of mid C18 origins, altered in early C19 and 1900-2, the last to plans by D. E. Thomas of Haverfordwest. Recorded from C15, and a gentry house mentioned in late C17. The Reynolds and Prichard families preceded the Pictons who were in the parish in the C17 but only owned Poyston from the early C18, John Picton (d 1722) being the first recorded there. Thomas Picton (d 1727), Thomas Picton (d 1790), General William Picton (d 1811) and Major-General John Picton (d 1815) are all buried in Rudbaxton Church. General Sir Thomas Picton, killed at Waterloo (1815) and buried in St Pauls Cathedral was the most famous. He was born in 1758 in Haverfordwest as Poyston was then being rebuilt. Called a respectable mansion by Fenton in 1811, but by then not the main seat as General Sir Thomas Picton had bought Iscoed, Carms., c1806, and that became the Picton seat to 1917. Poyston was sold by the Rev. Edward Picton, the general's brother, before 1845 when it was owned and occupied by the Rev. Thomas Phelps Martin, owner also of the adjacent Withybush estate, and both estates were sold, c1850, to William Owen, architect, developer and four times mayor of Haverfordwest. Owen lived at Withybush. Poyston was altered 1900-2 for his son Dr Henry Owen, noted antiquarian, prominent in the foundation of the National Library. The library that he had added is an exceptional example of a gentleman scholar's book room. Occupied by Major Frederick H. Linton DSO (b 1884) in 1926.
The progress of the house would seem to be that the oldest part is the NW rear wing, the W outshut perhaps older than the E front, this being the house rebuilt in 1758, and the big S front block added c1820-30, altered 1900-2. This however is not consistent with the history, as there was little incentive for so large an addition after 1806, either for the Pictons or Phelps Martins, until William Owen in the 1850s. It is possible that the front block is a remodelling of a C18 structure, for the glazing bars on the first floor are thick for the early C19, but if so still a very extensive work. The front block was altered by William Owen with 2 stone porches, removed in 1900-02. The remodelling then included a rich timber cornice, the addition of the NE library, the stable range and the timber front porch. Inside, the SW room was opened into the entrance hall, and given a fine Arts and Crafts fireplace celebrating General Picton, the SE and NE rooms also had new fireplaces, the staircase was replaced, and armorial stained glass installed, to designs by A. J. Dix. In later C20, the rear wing E side was altered for an enlarged kitchen.
Country house, main range with NW rear wing. Main range unpainted roughcast over stuccoed ground floor, with slate hipped roof and ornate timber eaves cornice, of 1900, with dentils and modillions, to three main sides, and to added NE library block. Main range is just L-plan with longer E side than W, and two large stacks on rear wall. Three storeys, stucco ground floor with plinth and moulded band and thin surrounds to upper windows. Hornless 12-pane sashes to main floors, 6-pane square sashes to attic, and tooled stone sills. Three-bay broad S front has centre fielded 6-panel door in earlier C19 frame of top-lights and side-lights separated by thin panelled piers with roundels at intersections. Added c1900 timber lean-to porch is glazed, 5-bay with top lights and fan-traceried overlights over double half-glazed doors, and low gable over 3 bays. At right corner of main front is ashlar sundial dated 1724, but with c1900 lettering.
W end one-window range. Added projecting hipped 2-storey section to right, earlier C19 and formerly with W porch. Matching c1900 eaves cornice. Twelve-pane sash each floor to S, 2 similar to first floor W and one below set to left, and a C20 window in place of former door.
E end has 4-window range, closer spaced, the windows in third bay dummy. Relatively thicker glazing bars on first floor. NE projecting library block of 1900, matching, 2-storey, with hipped roof and dragon vane. S side tripartite sash to ground floor, E end 2-window range of 12-pane sashes. Rear N has 12-pane sash to left and half-length window to right with 12-pane sash above, and rear W half-length window with small sash above. Rear N of main range has nogged brick eaves, 2 large chimneys, and big lean-to with arched stair light. An added lean-to in angle to left gives access to NE wing.
Rear NW wing has 2-storey, 3-bay E front, painted rendered with brick eaves to a rough dentil pattern, and external N end chimney. Tall front with 9-pane sashes above, 12-pane below, those to centre and right aligned, blocked door and smaller sash to left, not aligned. N end single-storey range with similar brick eaves, board door, casement pair window and lean-to on N end. Outshut W rear has N end extending further to a rebated gable, once with large chimney, now removed. Door in rebate to left. W outshut has 3 first floor windows, cross-window lighting service stair to right and 2 9-pane sashes. Two small ground floor lights. Garden wall runs N with small outbuilding attached on E side, door between 2 windows. This links to rear of c1902 whitewashed roughcast coach-house and stable. N front has 2-storey accommodation block between projecting lower gables, of coach-house to E and stable to W. Coach-house long entry on E side with cemented lintel. Gable to N with small casement-pair window, lodgings to centre with 2 casement pairs to first floor, door in angle to left and then two doors with casements in mirror formation. Ridge chimney, main roof continues over stable which projects to right with centre gable over eaves-breaking first floor sash, and ground floor paired casement. Double door to left.
Entrance into front hall with c1900 panelling. Twin-arch opening of c1900 to left into SW room with elliptical timber arches on turned column on high base. SW room has fine c1900 deep fireplace: bolection-moulded timber surround, Delft tiles within, deep frieze and modillion cornice. Chimneybreast has fine Arts and Crafts embossed plaster: a branching oak with names of 9 Napoleonic War battles on scrolls, framing a wreathed portrait of General Picton, and concave-curved cheeks have Picton arms. Reeded earlier C19 ceiling border and earlier C19 panelled shutters. SE room has fine earlier C19 undercut acanthus cornice and floral scroll ceiling border between ribbonned reeded strips, c1900 panelling and fireplace surround, originally unpainted oak, now painted. Shelf over eared surround, the top moulding dropped like castellation. Delft-type tiles, and fine embossed-brass and iron grate. Elliptical arch from entrance hall to rear stair-hall which has c1900 single flight on N wall, heavy turned newel with acorn finial and turned balusters. Large arched stair window has fine leaded armorial glass mainly arms of places associated with Henry Owen, 1900, by A. J. Dix. Fielded-panelled 6-panel door into small NE study, with boarded dado and fireplace, c1900 oak surround with Owen arms in panel and Cornice and frieze stepped over, the motto 'Trwy Gymmorth Dyw' in frieze. Corridor with dado panelling runs N to library, actually a 2-level room with bookcases in upper gallery inaccessible from ground level which was probably a dining room. Six-panel door, panelled shutters and dado rail matching front rooms. Very fine late C17 to early C18 style woodwork including big chimneypiece on S, gallery on 4 sides, and deep-coved first floor ceiling. Fireplace has green stone bolection-moulded surround, Delft tiles, timber shelf on modillions, and overmantel with carved Owen of Henllys boar and hollybush, panels of roses, Prince of Wales feathers, leek, and HO 1902. Gallery projects far out with ornate console brackets beneath, moulded front beam with cornice under fielded panelled front with applied armorial cartouches, 2 each side, 2 each end. Centre N and S breaks forward with a little minstrels gallery, with curved sides and panel front. Panelled pilasters between panels. Gallery has 4 corner columns with entablature blocks, supporting raised centre ceiling. This has heavy late C17 style moulding linking columns, deep cove, and rectangular panel with plant trail border and raised octagon in centre with painted relief Welsh dragon and motto. Upper level, accessed from first floor, has bookshelves all around lettered A-S, with thin pilasters, frieze and cornice broken forward over pilasters. Similar lower shelves project, some shelves with hinged flaps. Fine Arts and Crafts fireplace with bolection-moulded black stone surround and Delft-type tiles, shelf on modillion brackets, as below, and overmantel in 5 narrow panels, each divided in 2, the lower with copper and iron candle-holders, the upper with embossed copper Art Nouveau flower motif. Art Nouveau motif also on strips between panels, and on frieze above, with HO initials.
Hall behind stairs has fielded 2-panel door under stairs to cellar. Nine steps down to 2 stone vaulted chambers. Earlier to mid C19 glazed door with sidelights to passage running W to former side door, now toilet. Fielded-panelled door N from hall into E rear wing.
Main range first floor has c1900 landing rails and dado panelling. Arch through to front block. Early C19 6-panel doors and panelled shutters. SE bedroom has c1900 fireplace with Delft-type tiles. Fielded-panelled door into centre bathroom. Plain SW room. Fielded-panelled door into rear wing. Attic stairs, to E of SW room, curving with stick balusters and moulded rail ramped up to square newel. Attic has corridor on front, fielded 2-panel doors with HL hinges and brass locks. C19 iron grate in one room.
Rear wing ground floor has small room each side, scullery E and breakfast room W, then 3 steps down to long kitchen, with lowered ceiling and N end fireplace with C19 brickwork. Two doors on W wall into parallel W rear wing, and a blocked window in NW corner. N door to right into outer service room, with remnant of NW corner chimney. W doors open into service stair and rooms of W rear wing, which has two rooms divided by thin brick wall. Rough joists support floor of thick broad floorboards, the undersides crudely cut back for joists. Deep recess at N end was a chimney with insloping masonry on left side. Marks of blocked opening on W wall. Dog-leg service stair appears rebuilt, using old timbers. First floor has various panelled doors, some with old hinges; fielded 2-panel door into first bedroom.
Coach-house and stable range of c1900 have high roof to coach-house and cast-iron stable fittings to stable.
Graded II* as a fine C18 to early C19 country house, with outstanding Edwardian library addition of 1902. Also for historical interest as the family home of General Sir Thomas Picton, soldier of note, and Dr Henry Owen, antiquary.
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