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Latitude: 52.6404 / 52°38'25"N
Longitude: -3.1217 / 3°7'17"W
OS Eastings: 324196
OS Northings: 305325
OS Grid: SJ241053
Mapcode National: GBR B1.6N45
Mapcode Global: WH79Q.0WSQ
Entry Name: Former Sheep-Drying Shed, with attached walls, Leighton Farm
Listing Date: 20 March 1998
Last Amended: 20 March 1998
Source ID: 19519
Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence
Location: Situated on the NW side of Leighton Farm, with Piggery and Sheep Shed to E. Its attached wall continues S as West Stockyard Wall.
Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan (Ffordun gyda Tre'r-llai a Threlystan)
Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan
Locality: Leighton Farm
Traditional County: Montgomeryshire
Built late 1850s specifically for washing, drying and grooming sheep for agricultural shows, and a part of Leighton Farm, the model farm on the Leighton Estate. John Naylor had acquired the Leighton Estate in 1846-47 and embarked on an ambitious programme of building, principally Leighton Hall, church and Farm, which was largely completed by the mid 1850s. Naylor continued to extend and improve the Estate until his death in 1889. His grandson, Captain J.M. Naylor, sold the Estate in 1931, when Leighton Farm was bought by Montgomeryshire County Council.
Leighton Farm was a model farm where rational farming methods were employed using techniques derived from science and industry. It was characteristic of its period but especially notable for its scale. Apart from the rationalisation of farm design, its principal aims were to provide better shelter for livestock and fodder, the recycling of manure as fertiliser, and mechanisation, principally in the form of turbines and hydraulic rams.
The main farm complex is roughly square in plan and enclosed by perimeter roads (although important buildings were added beyond it). The farm was a piecemeal development but it is structured either side of a central E-W axis in which a threshing barn was built with hay and fodder storage buildings either side of it, all of which were linked by a broad gauge railway. On the N and S sides of this axis stockyards were built, served by 2 N-S service roads in addition to the perimeter roads. By 1849 4 small yards (Stockyard IV) had been built S of the Threshing Barn with a Stable fronting the road, these 3 elements forming the central block of buildings. On the E and W sides, fronting the road to the S, houses were built (on the W side with an office and further livestock sheds behind). After 1849 3 stockyards (Stockyards I, II, III) were built on the N side of the main axis. By 1855 there had been additions beyond the perimeter road, with the building of a Mill and Pig and Sheep houses (which enclose 2 further stockyards) on the N side and a further stock shed with yard on the W side. In the late 1850s a Sheep-Drying Shed and a further Fodder Storage Building in line with the main E-W axis had been added, followed by a Root Shed at the south-east corner of the complex in the 1860s.
The buildings were carefully designed to achieve a strong visual impact when approached from the roads to the N or W. The landscape was carefully controlled so that Leighton Farm could not be seen from the main Buttington to Forden road to W, alongside which was a mixed woodland plantation. The main entrance to the farm was intended to be from the N side where there is an imposing gateway and lodge beside the church. The pig and sheep houses in particular create a grand facade when approached from the N, but Stockyards I and II, the Fodder Storage Buildings, Stable and Poolton at the south-west corner, are all designed to impress when viewed from the outside.
On a sloping site and consisting of a single-storey shed with basement, and attached walls on N and S sides, although there is no evidence now of a former stone-lined dip said to have been used for washing the sheep. The shed is of brick with random rubble basement walls; slate roof with coped gables on moulded kneelers and with brick stack behind W gable. The front faces E where the gable end has 2 round-headed doorways, which have boarded doors with sunk iron handles and overlights. Above the doorways are breathers in 3 stepped lozenge patterns. The S wall has a stepped white-brick plinth and to R is a blocked doorway under a segmental head. The N wall has a similar blocked doorway to L, and a buttress at the NW angle. In the 4-window W wall are, in the centre, 2 equally-placed round-headed windows incorporating casements, flanked by similar windows under segmental heads. Above are breathers in lozenge patterns similar to E wall. Beneath, the basement has 3 buttresses with pronounced batter. To L and R are doorways under dressed stone lintels with sliding boarded doors, which have externally placed horizontal runners.
A sheep run is bounded by walls on S side of Drying Shed. The walls are of random rubble with dressed copings, and are curved on the E and S sides. In the E side are 2 octagonal piers with pyramidal caps defining the original gateway. (A wider opening was later cut through the wall further S.) The W wall is buttressed on its external face, has some brickwork in its inner face, and has an inserted field-gate at the SW angle. The gate defines the position of an inner wall of brick which survives only partially and follows the line of the S and E walls to the doorway to R in the S wall of the Sheep Shed. From the NE angle of the Sheep Shed is a short rubble stone wall ending in an octagonal pier with pyramidal cap.
Modernised internally with partitions and insertion of stairs to basement. The floor is said to have had apertures through which heat rose from the basement for drying the sheep.
The Leighton Estate is an exceptional example of high-Victorian estate development. It is remarkable for the scale and ambition of its conception and planning, the consistency of its design, the extent of its survival, and is the most complete example of its type in Wales. Leighton Farm is one of the principal foci of this development and is a Victorian model farm of national importance, representing the pioneering use of new technology, displaying a highly-structured layout and achieving an impressive architectural unity. Listed Grade II*, the Former Sheep-Drying Shed is an integral part of the farm complex and is a highly unusual building type retaining much of its original character.
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