History in Structure

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Radyr Chain

A Grade II Listed Building in Fairwater, Cardiff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5014 / 51°30'5"N

Longitude: -3.2443 / 3°14'39"W

OS Eastings: 313724

OS Northings: 178788

OS Grid: ST137787

Mapcode National: GBR K1C.JR

Mapcode Global: VH6F5.QJ6C

Entry Name: Radyr Chain

Listing Date: 16 August 1993

Last Amended: 18 July 2002

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14134

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Set in its own grounds beside the roundabout on the Llantrisant Road (A 4119).

County: Cardiff

Town: Cardiff

Community: Fairwater (Tyllgoed)

Community: Fairwater

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Find accommodation in
Llandaff

History

Dated 1894, built for a Mr Hallett, who is said to have been a local shipbuilder; in the manner of E W M Corbett, the Bute estate architect. The billiard room was added in 1912 for Mr J Williams. Since 1968 Radyr Chain has been the residence of the Principal of the University of Wales, Cardiff.

Exterior

The house is built of red brick with freestone band courses and dressings; red plain tiled roofs with cresting and red brick stacks. In a restrained Tudorbethan style; two storeys and attic. Consciously asymmetrical design to the 3-bay main elevation; the 2-window left-hand part forms the hipped end of the garden front, the central part is stepped back at each storey and the right hand part is advanced and gabled. Mullion-and-transom windows, 2-light to right and 3-light to centre including the distinctive staircase window with pointed-arched lights and twin transoms; some windows have leaded glazing. Further detail includes a deeply dentilled cornice to the left hand part which has a central chimney breast. The central part has a high parapet with gable over datestone (inscribed 'AD 1894') and crenellated, square-shaped, finials that spring from corbelled shafts; below this the first floor is stepped forward beneath a slope ornamented with a foliage frieze. To ground floor the porch is again stepped forward to the line of the flanking bays and has offset 4-centred arched entrance with 6-panel door and robust freestone surround including foliated capitals and deep cornice. Right hand part has 2-storey splayed bay capped by a stepped, crenellated parapet and gable finial and kneelers. The deeply dentilled cornice is continued to left along the 3-bay, ivy covered, garden front which has advanced and splayed bay to left. 2 and 3-light windows to right including squared ground-floor bay to library, with leaded glazing, and French windows to centre under a lean-to verandah; tile-hung gabled dormers flanking octagonal chimney stack. The west side has simpler detail but continues the cornice and repeats the bay window parapet ornament. At right angles is a short corridor, with Tudor doorway, to the attached single-storey billiard room added in 1912 - see datestone initialled 'JWW'. This rectangular range is also red brick with tiled roof and has parapet to front and a broad (7-light) splayed bay with leaded glazing; brick chimney stack to left end. North side faces small yard.

Interior

The interior was not seen at resurvey and the description is taken from the listing inspection (August 1993).
The main entrance is into a porch with stained glass inner door. The hall beyond retains fielded-panelling to dado with a horizontal row of panels over those placed vertically; broken-pedimented timber doorcases to the main rooms. Interesting openwell staircase up to first floor with 'rising-arched' balustrade, turned balusters, huge newels with carved finials and swept handrail, undercut to outer-side for finger-grip. The stairs are lit by the large 3-light window with heraldic glass. To south is the library (possibly formerly the morning-room) with deep plasterwork band to the ceiling in the form of a shouldered panel with segmentally-rounded ends; the walls are also wainscotted below stucco-bordered panels with heraldic ornamentation to corners including fleur-de-lys, portcullis and Tudor roses. Beside this is the large drawing-room, the ceiling of which has broad, oval-shaped, stuccoed border with olympic-like torches pointing inwards from the four corners. The dining-room is also wainscotted and has free-Tudorbethan chimneypiece with fluted pilasters. The staircase up to the attic has alternate diamond pierced uprights and is lit by a circular window with Art-Nouveau coloured glass. Steep back stairs with turned balusters. The billiard room is barrel vaulted with paired ribs to both ends that include interlaced ventilation panels; similar design to the frieze which continues over the bay window. The room is wainscotted with inset carved rectangular panels of foliage and vines. At the far end the wainscotting is canted forward flanking the Arts and Crafts manner, tapered, chimneypiece which has a semicircular hearth; the overmantel has carved panels of the Scottish thistle and the English rose. This billiard room also retains its original furnishings manufactured by Burroughs and Watts of London.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its special interest as an unusually complete example in South Wales of a late-Victorian villa retaining consistently good interiors.

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