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The Tower

A Grade I Listed Building in Nercwys, Flintshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1493 / 53°8'57"N

Longitude: -3.1375 / 3°8'14"W

OS Eastings: 324023

OS Northings: 361951

OS Grid: SJ240619

Mapcode National: GBR 70.5LC4

Mapcode Global: WH77C.S34J

Entry Name: The Tower

Listing Date: 22 October 1952

Last Amended: 12 December 1994

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 15255

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Situated in its own park off the main N-S road from Mold by-passing the village.

County: Flintshire

Community: Nercwys

Community: Nercwys

Traditional County: Flintshire

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Mold

History

The Tower (or Broncoed) is first mentioned in 1465 by the poet Lewys Glyn Cothi, who describes the murder here of Robert Bryne, linen draper and ex mayor of Chester, by the owner Rheinallt Gruffydd ap Bleddyn. The fortified tower-house which gives the place its name is the earliest section and is probably c1440-50. It acted as a semi- fortified solar tower adjoining which, on the NE side there was a contemporary or perhaps earlier open hall range. This was entirely rebuilt in the second quarter C17 as a front-facing range with end chimneys and 2 gabled sections to the rear. This in turn was cosmetically altered in the early C18 and then again by the Reverend Hope Wynne-Eyton in the early C19, who added a series of brick service ranges to the NE and NW. At some point in the second half C19 the facade was refenestrated and given a parapet in Tudor-Gothic style. Further Gothicization to the interior appears to be contemporary with this. A water colour by Moses Griffiths of the 1780s shows the tower as it is now though with differing detail to the windows. Similarly, an engraving published in Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1846 shows the tower block as it is, though again with different windows, and with the main range un-Gothicized. This implies that the cross-windows and parapet post-date the engraving, and are perhaps attributable to John Wynne-Eyton, the son of the Reverend. Despite some refacing, the alteration of the ground floor rear window, and the addition of cross-windows, the tower block has survived relatively unchanged.

Exterior

The tower block is of 2 storeys with sunken cellar below and parapet above. Rectangular plan with a full-height semi-circular projecting stair turret to R of main face. Rubble construction with fine quality freestone and sandstone ashlar. Single large, depressed- arched window openings to ground and first floors of front and rear elevations with moulded reveals and simple returned labels. C19 cross-windows with leaded lights, the upper ground floor ones with good C19 heraldic glass. The stair turret has 3 chamfered slits and a pyramidal stone roof with C20 weather vane. Large projecting parapet at roof level with stepped machicolations, the corners off-set and carrying very fine carved stone gargoyles in the form of dragons and beasts. Cross-loops to parapet with splayed inner faces, 2 to the front, 4 to the rear and 7 to the sides. The roof is medium-pitched and of slate. Within the roof-space however, 2 previous roof structures are visible, the earliest, probably late C15/early C16 with very shallow-pitched, chamfered and stopped trusses testifying to a near-flat roof as expected. The upper window to the rear face has carved heads at the label stops, the costume-detail of which is correct for mid C15. Above the label is a contemporary carved shield bearing the arms of England quartering France modern, supported by a mermaid and a griffin. On the NE face (facing the main range) the roof-line of the former hall is visible where there is a contemporary moulded hood.

Adjoining the tower to the SW (L), stepped-down and slightly advanced, a square, 2-storey addition, probably a garderobe tower and of first-half C16 date. Rubble-built with dressed quoins. A parapetted gable to the L, shown on the Moses Griffith water-colour has gone, the front having been raised slightly during the C19 alterations and given a coped parapet. 2 small, splayed lights to each storey, one each facing front and rear. The main range adjoins the tower to the NE (R) and is stepped-down. Rubble-built with a medium-pitched slate roof behind an early C19 coped parapet, replacing a standard roof with gabled dormers. 4 bays with a division visible between the first 2. C17 chimneys flank the central bays, that to the R a projecting stepped and kneelered end- chimney. Both have been given off-set paired stacks with simply- moulded coping in the C19. C19 stepped entrance to L bay with stopped-chamfered Tudor arch, geometric spandrels and simple returned label. Above this a 2-light window with dividing transom. The 2 central bays have 6-light mullioned and transomed windows to ground floor with cross-windows above, both with segmental relieving arches visible above. 2-light mullioned windows to the 4th (right hand) bay. The parapet has a moulded string-course and capping, the latter stepped above square dormer lights at bays 1, 2 and 3. All windows are leaded. The bay to the far R (bay 4) is entirely of C19 date and terminates in a sloping stepped wall with decorative crenellations. This continues NW at a height of 10ft where it turns again at right angles to terminate about 60ft to the NE in a modern entrance.

The rear elevation is asymmetrical. 2 adjoining plain gabled wings with end chimneys. Near-flush casement windows, that to the L gable 2-part, leaded and with brick-cambered head. To the R gable, 3 windows: a late C19 French window with a 2-part C18 leaded casement above. Then, to the R a large 6-pane window. Plain square casement windows to upper gables. A further 2-part leaded casement to R infil between th gable and the tower. To the L and projecting infront a late C19 single-storey flat-roofed extension with parapet and 2 and 3- light mullioned windows. A modernised conservatory infills the space between this and the advanced tower.

Adjoining the main range to the NE, and partly screened by the sloping wall adjoining the main facade to the R, early C19 service extensions. Of brick with slate roofs. To the L a 2-storey range with projecting stepped end chimney to the R. This block is continuously-roofed with the NE pitch of the NE gable, the roof of which it extends. Multi-pane near-flush tripartite casements to both floors with cambered heads and projecting stone cills. 9-pane window above. Projecting outwards to the L a contemporary single-storey extension with window as before and extruded porch with hipped roof. Plain boarded door with plain fanlight. A further storeyed wing to the R of this, set back and with window as before to first floor. Cambered-headed entrance with boarded door and above a 6-pane window as before. Advanced modern extension infront of this with similar, though modern fenestation. Finally a single-storey range stepped-down to the R with a 3-pane cambered window. A modern covered walk-way adjoins to the front.

The listing excludes the modern cottage and outbuildings adjoining to the R.

Interior

The tower block has 6ft thick walls and segmental stone barrel-vaults to the cellar and ground floor room. The latter is entered from the NE face (main range) via a continuously-moulded 4- centred-arched entrance. C19 Jacobean-style moulded dado-panelling with carved and fluted frieze. Similar wooden cornice, highly carved with foliate forms. 9-panelled door with segmental arch and panelled, shaped upper surround with central carved heraldic shield. C19 Tudor-arched fireplace with heavily-carved and fluted surround with pilasters and heraldic corbels. Large overmantel with fluted pilasters, moulded cornice and heraldic panel. In the SE corner a primary chamfered Tudor-arched doorway giving access to a newel stair in the stair-turret projection. In th SW corner, a similar doorway gives access to the garderobe (?) tower. This with similar inner doorway and corbelled ceiling. The upper floor has been sub-divided in the early C18 and contains 2 equal-sized rooms with coved ceilings and narrow cornices.

The main range has simpler moulded dado panelling to the entrance hall and stair-well with wooden moulded cornices and boxed beams. Tiled floor of lozenges with interlace motifs and foliate border. On the tower wall, 2 carved stone corbels, originally supporting the hall roof. These depict an eagle and a dragon/griffin and are primary. A Victorian tracery window at the end of the entrance hall contains good heraldic glass. 2 C19 open Tudor arches lead off to the R giving access to the stairwell and drawing room. The latter has a plain Gothic fireplace and part of a late C18 architectural bookcase, originally from Penbedr Hall. In the stair-well a fine early C18 wide dog-leg stair, the L balustrade of which is a C19 copy and presumably replaces a wall in this position originally. Turned balusters with clustered baluster newels with flat tops and a sloped, moulded rail. To the R of this, behind a stud wall, another dog-leg stair. This is C.1630-50 and was reduced in width and turned into a secondary/service stair in the early C18. Shaped, pierced flat balusters, moulded rail and ovolo-moulded newels with geometric finials. This is part-boxed, but continues to the second floor, this last section being plainer.

Large early C18 2-panel doors, moulded and fielded to 3 first floor rooms. Similar, though smaller closet doors flanking chimney breast in the front facing SW room. In the NE room a contemporary bolection-moulded painted fireplace with panelled frieze and moulded mantelpiece. In a rear-facing room, contemporary window shutters with moon-lights.

Reasons for Listing

One of the most significant examples of medieval domestic architecture in N Wales retaining much of its integrity and with interesting later features.

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