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Castleton Farmhouse

A Grade II* Listed Building in St. Athan (Sain Tathan), Vale of Glamorgan

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.406 / 51°24'21"N

Longitude: -3.4045 / 3°24'16"W

OS Eastings: 302406

OS Northings: 168376

OS Grid: ST024683

Mapcode National: GBR HM.QQCF

Mapcode Global: VH6FG.YX1K

Plus Code: 9C3RCH4W+96

Entry Name: Castleton Farmhouse

Listing Date: 16 December 1952

Last Amended: 3 September 2004

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13140

Building Class: Domestic

Location: About 700m north-east of the Church of St. Athan and approached down a cul-de-sac.

County: Vale of Glamorgan

Town: Barry

Community: St. Athan (Sain Tathan)

Community: St. Athan

Locality: Castleton

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Saint Athan

History

The origins of this house are difficult to determine and its character now is principally of the early C16, with an overlay of a Victorian refurbishment. By tradition, it embodies parts of the C14 castle of the de Furber family, but other interpretations are possible. The immense thickness of some of the walls, and its position on the very edge of a steep bank, does suggest two building campaigns in the medieval period; and it may be that this is a C15 semi-fortified tower-and-hall which was then enlarged and improved in the early C16. This could account for the variety in wall thickness as well as some of the changes in floor heights. It is known that Castleton belonged to the Nerber family until 1528 when it came into the possession of Howell Adam, recorded by Leyland as being 'a man of mane landes' and it is certainly credible to suggest that he rebuilt the earlier Nerber house. By the later C16 it had passed to the Stradlings of St. Donat's Castle but they will not have used this house personally as they also owned the grander East Orchard (qv) on the other side of the valley to the south. This house then seems to have gone virtually untouched through the C17 and C18 and finally had a major refurbishment in the C19 which gave it the planning and appearance that it has today. Some of the ancillary buildings also date from this period, indicating a period of major affluence for the property. These, however, are not shown on the Tithe Map of 1839, so these buildings, and the improvements to the farmhouse, are probably mid C19. Since then only minor alterations have been made, mostly concerned with re-windowing.

Exterior

The exterior is wholly rendered and limewashed, probably over local lias limestone rubble, Welsh slate roofs. Three unit single depth range with a small wing added on the north-east end, two storeys, but with the east end having a significantly higher roofline.
The main south elevation has three windows on each floor placed very randomly with none above the other. From the left, a projection for the kitchen stair, a late C20 2-light casement on the ground floor and a smaller similar window on the first floor. Then comes a large area of blank wall in which the outline of the cross-passage doorway can be seen, a 4-centred arch with plain surround. Another casement as before on the ground floor, a C19 2-light casement on the first floor, a C20 glazed porch with a door set into a 3-light early C16 window which retains the head with sunk chamfers and spandrels, and dripmould over with square stops carved with crosses. Finally comes the taller section with a 2-light C19 casement on the first floor set into a blocked 3-light window of which only the dripmould remains; and below a late C20 pair of small pane french doors set into a blocked 4-light window with only the dripmould remaining. Three ridge stacks, on either gable and by the cross-passage; the west gable end of the higher roof is slate hung. The east gable has a C20 window in what is probably an enlargement of an early opening below, and above a steel casement also in an opening of increased size. The north elevation from the left has an apparently C19 single bay wing projecting from the higher section. This has a 2-light casement above a door facing west and a gable stack. On the wall of the main range is a C20 2-light small paned casement above a small C19 window. To the right the lower part of the main range is seen to be narrower than the higher part and in the angle is the stair projection with a roof pent to the higher part; this is windowless. Next comes a 3 over 6 pane sash below and a C19 casement above. Then a large area of blank walling which includes the blocked cross-passage arch as before. Finally a C20 2-light casement below and a smaller C19 one above. The west gable has a C19 lean-to which hides the ground floor of the main range and includes a boarded entrance door on the north.

Interior

The medieval planning is still readily recognisable with the three main rooms on each floor, although some have been given light C19 partitions at the time the house was improved by the addition of the north wing. The Service Room originally contained the cross-passage between the two now blocked doors, but it was converted to being the Kitchen in the C19 when it was also given the lean-to scullery. The house will probably have had a detached kitchen before then and there may have also been an intermediate arrangement. The Kitchen has an inserted fireplace and a winding stone stair in an outshut. This has a crossed slab roof and a plain 2-centred stone doorway. The Hall has a fireplace which has been filled in and a single very large chamfered ceiling beam with round stops. It has been suggested that this ceiling/floor is an early insertion, in which case the upper doors would have been to a gallery, but this is uncertain. A second winder stair, with modern timber treads, leads out of the north door. The Parlour has two large moulded plastered beams, and the ceiling compartments are decorated with multiple fleur-de-lys. Dressed stone fireplace with the lintel made up of two massive cantilevered stones. The northern end of the room was divided off as a corridor to give access to the north wing. This access is, however, through an existing vaulted passage with a C16 pointed arch door with broach stops, which demonstrates both that the floor has been lowered and that the wing may well have had a predecessor. The north-east corner has been partitioned off to form a cloakroom, and this goes right through the thickness of the wall into what may have been a garderobe. The first floor also shows evidence of floor height changes with the paired stone doorways showing a dropped floor, as does the similar door into the limeash floored garderobe in the north-east corner. All three first floor rooms have been divided by partitions and only the Great Chamber at the east end was historically heated. The fireplace here is blocked but the bressumer, which is elaborately carved with heraldic and symbolic figures (a lion, a stag, a fleur-de-lys and four different interlace designs) still remains visible. Nothing of the roof structure over the whole house is visible but it is believed to have been replaced, so probably as a part of the Victorian refurbishment of the house.

Reasons for Listing

Included and highly graded for its special interest as a late medieval farmhouse which has many important features and has not been greatly altered since the mid C19.

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