History in Structure

Hean Castle

A Grade II Listed Building in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

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Latitude: 51.7216 / 51°43'17"N

Longitude: -4.6967 / 4°41'48"W

OS Eastings: 213828

OS Northings: 205986

OS Grid: SN138059

Mapcode National: GBR GF.4R3Q

Mapcode Global: VH2PD.JZWL

Plus Code: 9C3QP8C3+J8

Entry Name: Hean Castle

Listing Date: 7 May 1997

Last Amended: 7 May 1997

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18451

Building Class: Domestic

ID on this website: 300018451

Location: On high ground 1 Km N of Saundersfoot village, in a fine setting in extensive private landscape gardens. The main front overlooks a terrace with a low parapet wall. Gardens to the E.

County: Pembrokeshire

Community: Saundersfoot

Community: Saundersfoot

Locality: Hean Castle Estate

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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The name, hêngastell, may refer to an Iron Age hill-fort on the site. The oldest part of the present house is the NE wing, of about 1840. This appears to supersede a house in a Georgian style seen in Potter's drawing, and was built for Thomas Stokes. In 1861 he sold the house to his brother-in-law, Edward Wilson, and in 1863 the industrialist C R Vickerman acquired Hean Castle. He employed the Manchester architects Pennington and Bridgen to rebuild the house, 1875-6; Thomas David of Laugharne, builder.

In 1897 C R Vickerman died and the property passed to C H R Vickerman, who removed to St Issell's House in Saundersfoot and in 1899 sold Hean Castle to Sir William Thomas Lewis, 1st Lord Merthyr. The house was enlarged in 1926 by the addition of a NW wing in similar style. For the duration of the War the house was occupied by a school evacuated from Wandswsorth, but the family retained a flat in it. The house remains in Lewis ownership.


A main range of Victorian-Tudor buildings in an ambitious style extends E/W. It is approached from the W, and from the entrance a long rear corridor connects the principal rooms. The main reception rooms face E or S to the gardens. The outline in both plan and elevation is irregularly composed, but the E half of the main S front is advanced for extra emphasis. There are octagonal turrets at the corners and a high tower in a central position set back from the front. This tower has an octagonal stairs-turret at its SW corner rising to a higher level. The parapets are all crenellated. There are return wings at E and W and a rear service range.

The main building is of two storeys, in a masonry principally of small regular rock-faced courses of a red stone brought from Runcorn. All the stone dressings are in a lighter sandstone. A darker stone is used for aesthetic variation in bands and in a battered plinth beneath a string course at ground storey window-sill level. All the roofs are concealed behind parapets. The windows throughout are dressed in a lighter coloured sandstone and are glazed in plate glass.

The main range faces S. At each end is an octagonal corner tower of three storeys, with gargoyles at the angles beneath the battlements. The elevation is crennellated throughout, partly on plain corbel courses and partly on corbel tables. In the left part of this elevation are minor rooms, less lavishly treated architecturally: part is advanced and part recessed. The windows are in groups of one, two or three with single transoms and low pointed arches. The top storey of the left corner tower has lancets under label moulds. The sills at all floor levels are merged into string courses and there are quatrefoil decorations beneath the top windows of the left tower.

The principal rooms occupy the advancing right half of the main elevation. There is a garden entrance door and a corner oriel at the left corner of the advancing part. The central bay window is of two storeys, mullioned and transomed with side lights. The Vickerman arms are displayed on a panel at first floor level. The right corner tower is similar to that at the left but with an additional string course at first floor level. Its first storey lancet windows are heavily moulded with blank apexes and the top storey lancets are within square frames.

The W elevation consists of the return of the minor half of the main front as far as a large covered carriage-porch at the main entrance, and to the left an extension, slightly advanced, of later date. The porch belongs to the original construction and is crenellated, with a parapet on a corbel table, and large pointed arches on all faces. The arches have label moulds with carved faces as stops. Above the W-facing arch are little carved shields with the Vickerman monogram and the date 1876. The main door to the house is vertically boarded with massive forged ironwork. The part to the left of the entrance, added in 1926, is similarly detailed but the principal red stone is from Llanddowror. There are leaded lights in one lower window and above transom in the upper windows.

The E elevation consists of the return of the major half of the main front at left, abutting the retained older house at right. Beside the octagonal corner tower is a door, and a setback at which there is an octagonal corner oriel. A single-storey bay window with two mullions and two transoms, and side lights with two transoms. To the right of this is the preserved side elevation of the house of c.1840: a two-unit design with the left unit advanced and gabled. Similar masonry in rock-faced small courses of a local sandstone. Contrasting courses and battered plinth in a darker stone, also rock-faced. Lighter sandstone bands at sill level and as quoins. Slate roof, central chimney. Windows with mullions and transoms. The return of the latter building at N is in rendered brickwork.


The house retains its layout and interiors of the Vickerman period. There is a framed ceiling to entrance corridor with canted sides. High-ceilinged rooms with exposed framing of the ceilings. Large central staircase in three flights with exposed soffit framing and a very large bottom newel displaying carved arms

External Links

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Gate Lodge
    The N entrance gate lodge to Hean Castle, 1 km N of Saundersfoot.
  • II Monument at Hean Castle
    Located to the SW of Hean Castle, on the right hand side of the main approach from the W gate. The column stands in front of a little gazebo set into an earth mound.
  • II The Cottage
    At E side of the road passing through Coppet Hall, ½ km N of Saundersfoot village. There is a low wall with slate coping and iron railings at the front and an iron gate between stone piers.
  • II Preaching Cross at St. Issell's Church
    In the churchyard of St Issell's at the N side of the church, on sloping ground.
  • II* St Issell's Church
    1km north of the village of Saundersfoot. The church stands in a large undulating graveyard through which a stream passes.
  • II Rear gates to Saint Issell's Churchyard
    Forms the rear entrance to the churchyard, close to the Old School.
  • II Saundersfoot Railway Tunnel (Middle )
    On the coastal pedestrian route between Saundersfoot and Wiseman's Bridge, known now as the Miners' Walk. It is one of a group of three tunnels on the Countryside Commission's Pembrokeshire Coast Path
  • II Principal entrance gates to Saint Issell's Churchyard
    Forms the main entrance to the churchyard, close to the war memorial.

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