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Latitude: 53.2345 / 53°14'4"N
Longitude: -3.7993 / 3°47'57"W
OS Eastings: 280004
OS Northings: 372345
OS Grid: SH800723
Mapcode National: GBR 64.07KQ
Mapcode Global: WH65B.MY1Q
Entry Name: Bodnant
Listing Date: 22 March 2001
Last Amended: 25 October 2006
Source ID: 25063
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Set in an outstanding garden (publicly accessible courtesy The National Trust) high above the east bank of the River Conwy and approx 3km S of Llansanffraid Glan Conwy.
Town: Colwyn Bay
Community: Eglwysbach (Eglwys-bach)
Traditional County: Denbighshire
The structure of Bodnant house was built by Colonel Forbes between 1770 and 1821 (Hubbard gives 1792 date) at a small distance from the original house called Old Bodnod. The late Georgian house, with 7-bay symmetrical S facade including outer wings, was bought in January 1875 by Henry Pochin, a wealthy industrial chemist and china clay magnate from Lancashire. The house was progressively rebuilt from 1875-6 in Old English style by W J Green of London who refaced the house with hard blue local stone, used Talacre sandstone for window dressings and quoins and replaced the sash windows with stone mullions and casements. An architectural drawing of 1880 by G Richards Julian (in estate office) shows the remodelled exterior before the Drawing-Room wing and conservatories were added.
The conservatory attached to the SE corner was built for Pochin by Messenger & Co in 1881-2 (contract dated Nov 1881) and the adjoining fernery was in place and planted by 1883. The conservatory originally had a gabled porch to the S side and there were double doors to the fernery.
Henry Pochin's daughter married the first Lord Aberconway and she and her son and grandson have further developed the house and hugely improved the gardens. The large Drawing-Room wing was added in 1898 to the NW tower of the house to designs by Ould of Grayson and Ould, architects of Chester. The Dining-Room was extended in 1911 including the bay towards the terraces, and the upper room over the porch (chimney-piece dated 1911) was added at that time. Other dates appear in the Drawing Room plasterwork - 1935 when the Shobdon panelling was inserted - and the Turret Room of 1936 which has panelling from Wheatley Hall, Doncaster.
Occupying an elevated site with W facade overlooking formal terraces stepped into hillside and the longer facade looking S over the celebrated gardens. Mixed style (Old English) with black-and-white gables over Jacobethan masonry and mullioned windows to lower storeys. Nearly symmetrical 3-storey S front of 5 bays with outer wings plus gabled bays forward to left and right; three gablets to centre bays. Slate roofs, hipped to wings; to rear of left-hand roof is a raised Gothic lantern at junction with main ridge. Gables with half-timbered facings under patterned bargeboards, groups of tall polygonal stacks with moulded cornices. Dark bull-nosed facings with pale ashlar dressings, stugged long-and-short quoins, moulded eaves cornices. Centre three bays with 2-light mullioned windows in moulded surrounds. Advanced ground-floor with 7-light canted bay flanked by segmental arches under hoodmoulds with finials, deep-set flanking windows; ashlar parapet containing heraldic panel has moulded coping linked to continuous sill band of main elevations.
Right-hand wing with long 5-light timber windows jettied on curved brackets over two 2-light mullioned windows; single lights in angle. Attched to right is exceptional 3-bay conservatory c1882 with raised, polygonal centre bay retaining original small-pane glazing and domed clerestorey with ironwork cresting and finials. Lower hipped roof of glazed fernery (now in fragile state) continues further right; the rest of the glazed range shown on 1914 OS map has been demolished.
Left-hand wing has advanced 3-storey splayed with arched braces to top storey and windows as before. To left again is 2-storey flank of W facade with 2-light mullioned windows on both levels.
W facade of main house is 3 storeys 3 bays with asymmetrical, projecting outer bays, splayed to right under black-and-white gable with cusped bargeboards. Other detailing as before. Recessed bay to left links to polygonal tower with steep conical slate roof; the tower is partly masked by the 1898 Drawing Room wing which comes forward and continues left along main terrace. Polygonal angle bay with mullioned windows over 3-sided ashlar loggia with simple classical arches and French windows under. Similar style of bay leads left again to giant splayed ashlar bay (Norman Shaw- style oriel) capped by a square black-and-white attic with cusped bargeboards and arched braces to angles. Far left gable has crow-stepped bay below paired polygonal chimneys.
N (entrance) front lies to rear of main ranges and consists of the following: to right is the polygonal tower attached to Drawing Room wing, then a set-back bay under a gabled upper floor and then the 3-storey porch with corbelled 4-light oriel window over heavily-moulded Gothic archway. To left of entrance porch is a further gabled bay with bellcote which runs forward from the main S range with prominent rear attics. Low 1-storey service range with gabled vents in slate roof and a carriage entry to yard under open timber, gabled roof runs N to end with 2-storey black-and-white service dwelling. This has spectacular paired ashlar stacks rising from rusticated ground-floor; far gable chimney now removed. Dwarf walls with Gothic-gabled gatepiers enclose the N end of the entrance court.
Gothic N porch gives access to longitudinal hall with Serliana-style openings leading straight ahead to staircase hall. Left-hand wall has a window of 6 mullioned lights with heraldic glass to family members who have been MPs or held high government office. Hall runs to right with panelled walls incorporating a fine C18 lugged chimney-piece in dark marble with a pale marble head and draperies. The outer angle of the room is pierced by an archway leading through to the great Drawing Room, added in 1898.
This exceptionally fine room has re-used fittings from Shobdon Court (Herefordshire) which was demolished c1930 and a chimney piece from Arlington Street in London. Mid-Georgian panelling with fluted Ionic pilasters, columns to entrance and window bays, pulvinated bay-leaf entablature over dentil cornice, Rococo-style plasterwork with foliage and baskets to ceiling borders. The W window bay plasterwork is dated 1934 marking a further change in the design. A pair of C18 doorcases under segmental pediments flank the marble chimney-piece to inner wall with canted window bay opposite. Triangular pediment to main entrance within fluted columned screen, round-headed niche in wall to right containing Antique vase.
The staircase hall has doorway stright ahead into the Dining Room remodelled in 1911 with its extended window bay, panelled walls with full-height chimney-piece incorporating a portrait of Henry Pochin at far end. To right side of staircase hall are paired archways on reeded piers, one leading up and the left arch leading through to Garden Room with strapwork ceiling of 1911 and canted timber chimney-piece within lugged Georgian surround. Beyond are the small Drawing-room and Library overlooking the terraced gardens. The interior of the conservatory retains its cross-plan though the pool has been changed, and the walls have patterned, coloured glazing; the roof is supported by scolled brackets and tie-rods with original threaded rods for vent operations.
Top-lit inner stair-hall with open handrails and turned balusters to stairs and galleries, panelled dados to cantilevered flights with closed strings and Jacobethan newel posts at first-floor supporting upper bedroom gallery. Octagonal glazed lantern with squinches over rectangular lightwell flanked by panelled waggon ceilings to outer bays. The main architectural features on first-floor include the Turret Room with full-height C18 panelling and foliage drops to pilasters flanking Georgian marble chimney-piece, and the Billiard Room. This is sited over the great Drawing Room and has Gothic pierced braces to top lighting and a carved stone inglenook chimney-piece with Arabic tilework.
Listed as a significant country house in the 'Old English' style, characterised by varied and dynamic massing, vernacular revival and 'Jacobean' detail. The architectural character of the house works with its highly picturesque setting in the Conwy valley, and as the centre-piece of the important gardens of Bodnant.
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