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Terrace Walls and Screen at Margam Castle

A Grade II* Listed Building in Margam, Neath Port Talbot

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5624 / 51°33'44"N

Longitude: -3.7261 / 3°43'33"W

OS Eastings: 280447

OS Northings: 186250

OS Grid: SS804862

Mapcode National: GBR H6.DTQ0

Mapcode Global: VH5H2.CZJM

Entry Name: Terrace Walls and Screen at Margam Castle

Listing Date: 24 February 1975

Last Amended: 25 April 2000

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14163

Building Class: Domestic

Location: On the W side of Margam Castle and an integral part of the composition.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Town: Port Talbot

Community: Margam

Community: Margam

Locality: Margam Park

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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History

Contemporary with Margam Castle. In December 1831, Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot wrote to his cousin, W H Fox Talbot, 'I am going to make a terrace 130 feet wide & with a pierced quatre-foil parapet & flight of steps'. It was complete in 1833.

Exterior

Ornate terrace to W garden front of Margam Castle with central swept steps leading down to broadwalk. The terrace wall returns to the E to bound the S garden, whilst on the N side, an open Gothic screen returns to the NW angle of house.

The N screen consists of a low tiered wall on a plinth, supporting an openwork Gothic screen consisting of trefoil-headed lancets, above which are quatrefoils and Tudor rose finials (some missing). The screen is broken by tall ornate octagonal piers, with panels of blind trefoil-headed lancets, surmounted by domed traceried caps with large foliate finials. An entrance with C20 timber gates separates the NW angle of the house from the screen. The screen is of 5 sections, the central 3 set back. The 5th panel is lower, the wall surmounted by openwork quatrefoils, and meets the terrace wall which retains the W garden of the castle.

The W terrace wall is slightly battered and of snecked dressed stone, ashlar to the upper courses. Parapets project on a decorated corbel table. Where the N screen joins the terrace is a tall pier (heavily covered in vegetation). Curved braces, decorated with highly stylised dragons, sweep down to the terrace parapets. These are plain with saddleback copings with top roll mouldings. The parapets flanking the central steps are higher and more ornate, consisting of latticed openwork panels containing quatrefoils and with moulded copings. These are flanked by square piers with recessed traceried panels and chamfered capping stones. To the exterior sides, these step down to the plain parapets, underneath which are open trefoils. Short return walls bound the tops of the steps. The wide swept steps, aligned with the centre of the castle, are followed by 2 further flights of 8 steps separated by landings. There are 4 further sections of terrace walling to the S of the steps, with plain parapets and sweeping up to octagonal piers with flat capping stones. An ornate panel projects at the S end with openwork trefoil-headed parapets on a Lombard frieze between decorated piers. From here, the terrace returns to the E. (A garden boundary wall runs off to the W and becomes a ha-ha).

The S terrace wall is in 10 sections separated by piers. Plain parapets on a corbel table with saddleback coping with top roll moulding. The octagonal piers have niches to the front and alternating capping stones; either traceried domes with foliate finials, or flat and heavily moulded. All the piers are supported on the front side by large octagonal corbels. Projecting sections at W and E ends. The former has a raised openwork parapet on a Lombard frieze with trefoil decoration, flanked by square diagonally-set piers with moulded cap stones surmounted by domes. The projecting section at the E end is raised to match ground level. From the SE angle, the terrace wall turns N to join the service buildings of Margam Castle.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as a garden feature of considerable character and quality, which is an integral and highly visible component of Margam Castle.

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