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Leighton Hall Tower

A Grade I Listed Building in Welshpool, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6334 / 52°38'0"N

Longitude: -3.1222 / 3°7'19"W

OS Eastings: 324147

OS Northings: 304555

OS Grid: SJ241045

Mapcode National: GBR B1.71ZL

Mapcode Global: WH79X.02JG

Plus Code: 9C4RJVMH+94

Entry Name: Leighton Hall Tower

Listing Date: 24 December 1982

Last Amended: 20 March 1998

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19523

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located approximately 1.4km S of Leighton church. The Tower is SE of Leighton Hall, reached by short private road E of B4388. A second (currently disused) service road leads to SW side of the Tower.

County: Powys

Town: Forden

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan (Ffordun gyda Tre'r-llai a Threlystan)

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan

Locality: Leighton Park

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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History

Leighton Hall was built 1850-56 on the site of an earlier large house by the Liverpool architect W.H. Gee for John Naylor. The Tower itself was erected in 1854-55 and was formerly linked to the Hall by means of a courtyard wing which was demolished in the early C20. Naylor, a Liverpool banker, had acquired the Leighton Estate in 1846-47 and embarked on an ambitious programme of building, notably the church, Leighton Hall and Leighton Farm, all designed by Gee and completed by the mid 1850s. The Hall and the Tower were the showpiece of the Estate. John Naylor's grandson, Captain J.M. Naylor, sold Leighton Hall and the Estate in 1931.

Exterior

Gothic style, highly picturesque in conception and detail. Five-stage octagonal tower narrowing at the upper 2 stages, with buttresses and higher W circular stair turret, with S wing of 2 storeys with attic and a gateway at right angles to wing. Of rock-faced Cefn stone with ashlar dressings. The buttresses are stepped and end at the upper stage with crocketed pinnacles set diagonally. The Tower has an embattled parapet, beneath which is a frieze of heads interspersed with shield-bearing angels, and which continues across the stair turret. Above the frieze the turret is hexagonal and has open cusped lancets in each face, with continuous sill band. The parapet is embattled above a string course with grotesques at the angles. In the upper stage of the tower are tall cross-windows. The turret has a balcony at this stage on large brackets with a balustrade consisting of 2 tiers of arcading. Above the balcony is a string course below a small lancet in an ashlar gable the S face. In the stage below, the tower has blind arrow slits alternating with small sash windows with cusped heads, beneath which is a frieze of blind quatrefoils continuing across the stair turret. In the stage below are larger cusped lancets alternating with large blind arrow loops, except for the E side which has a quatrefoil in a square panel with hood mould. In the lower 2 stages the details are confined to the 3 faces on E side, facing the garden. In the upper of the 2 stages is a balcony with arched openings in the buttresses. It has a parapet of pierced quatrefoils, a soffit of foiled panels and is carried by large brackets on head corbels. In the E face is a single-light window with stylised Decorated tracery (consisting of 2 mouchettes). Above it is a blank shield and the Naylor monogram (ICN) in relief beneath a trefoiled gable, and with foliage in relief and a fleur de lys finial. To L and R are blind stylised trefoil windows. In the lower stage is a door with studded ironwork flanked by shallow niches in the buttresses. In the faces to L and R are 2-light mullioned windows with Y-tracery and sill bands. The lower stages of the tower have plainer windows on the W side facing the courtyard, in contrast to the rich treatment of the E side facing the garden. The turret has tall narrow openings in the lower storeys.


The S wing has a garden front to E with an advanced gable to L and 3-window range to R. In the lower storey the bay to L has 2x 4-light mullioned windows with cinquefoil heads, with plainer 2-light mullioned windows in the upper storey under hood moulds and a single 2-light round-headed mullioned window in the attic. To R are 2-light mullioned windows with pointed heads and hood moulds, to L of which is a boarded door beneath a mullioned overlight in a doorway similar to window tracery. In the upper storey are 2-light windows with Y-tracery beneath gablets. Between upper and lower storeys are double continuous string courses. The S or road front consists of a gabled bay advanced from the main axis which has, at upper storey level, a sculpted panel within a 3-bay architrave with hood mould which has diamond stops. It consists of 2 blank shields flanking a large circle with a lozenge in the centre, above which are blind arches with foliage in the spandrels. This is linked with a 3-light mullioned window in an architrave, with a panelled sill incorporating sculpted heads in the attic. The rear entrance front is plainer and consists of ranges either side of a gateway across the service road and at right angles to the axis of the building. To R of the gateway is a 4-window range with 2x2-light windows with Y-tracery in the upper storey beneath gablets while further R are 2x2-light mullioned windows beneath gable, and between which is lozenge with pointed quatrefoil and foliage in relief, and which has a hood mould continuous with the windows. In the attic of the gable is a 2-light round-headed window. The lower storey has 2-light windows. The elevation continues a short distance L of the gateway where it is lower and embattled, and has a doorway to the tower under a segmental pointed head. The S wing has a central stack with 6 tall patterned flues.

The gateway has a 2-centred arch with boarded doors, above which is a coped gable with, on the S face, a sculpture of St George and Dragon. (The gateway is attached to the Library Garden to W. Attached on the N side is the wall of the courtyard to Leighton Hall.)

Interior

At the base of the Tower are 2 ashlar niches flanking a spiral stone stair which continues to the top of the turret. The top stage of the tower has an imitation vault of timber ribs on wall shafts with foliage capitals, and with a moulded cornice. The doorway to the turret has a hood mould, as does an empty niche to the R of it. In the floor of the top stage are thick glass panels. A timber stairway leads down to a concealed chamber top-lit only by these panels. The room is entirely fitted with cupboards and drawers with linenfold panelling.

In the S wing are Gothic-panelled doors, and red and black tiles laid in diaper fashion. A large room at the S end has doors with linenfold panelling, and a fireplace with a timber mantel and cast iron grille finely decorated with birds, foliage and the Naylor monogram in relief.

Reasons for Listing

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 Hall Tower is a robustly detailed exercise in romantic Gothic which is an architectural tour-de-force in its own right, and a highly picturesque focal point in the layout at Leighton Hall.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Terrace Walk S of Leighton Hall Tower
    Situated on SE side of Leighton Hall Tower, with the main gardens to E and N, and with a boundary wall immediately to W, beyond which is a service road and the library garden.
  • II Library Garden, Leighton Hall
    Located immediately S of library wing of Leighton Hall. The wall on S side of garden is the boundary with Tudor Croft.
  • I Leighton Hall
    Located approximately 1.4km S of Leighton church. The Hall is reached by private road on the E side of the B4388 Buttington to Forden road, and is set in landscaped gardens.
  • II Terrace Walk at Leighton Hall
    Situated on the N and E sides of Leighton Hall and with gardens to N and E.
  • II Wall attached to Library Garden wall at Leighton Hall
    Situated S of library garden on S side of Leighton Hall and forming the W side of a private road immediately S of Leighton Hall Tower. The wall is continuous with the wall of the library garden and i
  • II Boundary wall S of Leighton Hall Tower
    Situated S of Leighton Hall Tower and forming W side of a terrace walk and E side of a now disused service road.
  • II* Footbridge E of Leighton Hall Tower
    Situated E of Leighton Hall Tower, S of Serpentine Pond and NE of a terrace walk at Leighton Hall.
  • II Arbour at Leighton Hall
    Within landscape gardens at Leighton Hall SW of Serpentine Pond. It is linked by paths to W and N to bridge E of Leighton Hall Tower and bridge E of Serpentine Pond respectively.

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