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Latitude: 51.6838 / 51°41'1"N
Longitude: -3.8268 / 3°49'36"W
OS Eastings: 273802
OS Northings: 199918
OS Grid: SS738999
Mapcode National: GBR H2.5053
Mapcode Global: VH4JZ.MY82
Entry Name: Swiss Gables
Listing Date: 22 December 2003
Last Amended: 22 December 2003
Source ID: 82324
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Just N of the Church of St Matthew on the W side of the minor road through Dyffryn.
County: Neath Port Talbot
Community: Dyffryn Clydach
Community: Dyffryn Clydach
Built-Up Area: Neath
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Former vicarage to Dyffryn church built 1881-4 to designs by Henry Ward of Stafford for Howel Gwyn of Dyffryn. The vicarage is said to have cost the exceptional sum of £7,000, more than the church which cost £4500, and was built for the first vicar, the Rev J.L. Thomas who moved in in 1884. The timber framing appears remarkably to be more than decorative, the posts of 9 inch square timbers, the decorative pieces of 8x4 inches, matching the thickness of the yellow brick infill. The framing is said to be all pitch-pine and the windows of mahogany.
Former vicarage, timber-frame with yellow brick infill and roofs of banded bi-colour fishscale plain tiles with crested ridge tiles and finials in terracotta. Tall yellow brick chimneys on stone plinths, with diagonal shafts and stone caps. Plinth of long rock-faced stone blocks. Windows are slightly proud of wallface, mullion-and-transom, mostly with transom at mid height, with roll mouldings and metal opening lights. Traditional box-framing with much decorative timber secondary framing, the yellow-brick carefully cut to fit the curves. Two storeys with some attics, L-plan, square main house with NW service wing. All gables have remarkably ornate carved bargeboards with pendant finials.
E front of three bays has 2 gables, a 3-light large window each side of porch and a smaller 3-light window to first floor each side under slightly jettied gables, while centre has a small two-light. Small window in each gable. Decorative framing includes diagonal beams in gables, opposed curved beams in ground floor panels. Right end chimney of two shafts. Porch is timber-framed also with Tudor-arched front door and cusped traceried side lights under gable with big quatrefoil with coloured glass. Three cusped lights to each side. The roof has fish-scale tiles banded with straight-ended tiles, crested ridge tiles and finial..
S front has big projected gable to right with canted ground floor, glazed in 1-3-1 lights, angles chamfered above have brickwork curved out to oak corner pendants at first floor sill level. Diagonal cross bracing and a carved rosette in centre panel under first floor 3-light oriel window. Carved brackets carry jettied attic gable with quatrefoil pattern panel in framing, otherwise herringbone bracing. To left ground floor has a big 4-light window and first floor a shallow canted oriel of 1-2-1 lights under a smaller jettied gable. Patterned framing below oriel and to sides on both floors. Tall chimneys with 3 shafts on ridge and at W end. W end has yellow brick chimneybreast with single-light to ground floor right. A single bay to left has ground floor door and a big 3-light transomed stair-light above.
Service range at right angles has 3-light window each floor to right and gable to left with small attic light over first floor 2-light. Band of decorative framing between floors, carved rosette in gable. Two tall ridge stacks. W end of service wing has two big 3-light kitchen windows, diagonal bracing in panels above and first floor 3-light. Two-light attic window in gable. Single storey outbuilding running N has single-light each side of door, banded tile roof and N end chimney.
N side has projecting gable-end of front range, with chimneybreast, to left. Chimneybreast has stone cornice at eaves height. Framing each side. Door and small 2-light first floor window in W return. Range to right has 2 ridge stacks, similar 2-light to first floor left over ground floor 2-light, then gable stair-light with 3-light windows to attic and first floor over low ground floor 4-light and door. Another small 2-light to first floor right, then the single storey outbuilding, which has E side 3-light window.
Within porch is tiled floor, cusped pine roof trusses and secondary Tudor-arched half-glazed door with later coloured glass. Each door has painted inscription over: 'Pax intrantibus' and 'Salus exeuntibus'. Hall has coloured tile floor to stair at far end. Pitch-pine woodwork within. Doors are of 6 long panels in deep-chamfered frames with moulded architraves. Staircase has open well, turned balusters, big chamfered Gothic newels with inset quatrefoils and roundels and rounded finials. Closed panelled string and ribbed underside to stair.
SW dining-room has timber chimneypiece with carved frieze of linked roundels rosettes, tapered piers and embossed patterned tiles around fireplace. Plate shelf at picture-rail level, with small paired brackets. SE drawing room has timber fireplace with carved lily on each pier and panelled frieze with inset tiles of delicate design, early Arts and Crafts type. In the corners a bat and a bird (night and day) in blue-grey and gold, four tiles of Morris-like scroll and two centre tiles each quartered with rising and setting sun and waxing and waning moon design also in blue. White marble frame to fireplace which has patterned tiled cheeks. Tiles also to floor in front, within a white marble kerb. Cornice with egg-dart moulding. NE room, now kitchen retains moulded cornice. Service wing entered from door at foot of stair has short tiled passage N to garden door and longer passage W to kitchen. Cellars under rear of main house. First floor has arch on landing and plainer Gothic chimneypieces, painted and with patterned tiles to grate surrounds. Inset mirrors in SE room fireplace, passion-flower tiles in NE room.
Included for its special architectural interest as an elaborate half-timbered house of late Victorian date, with original interiors.
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