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A Grade II Listed Building in Usk, Monmouthshire

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Latitude: 51.7054 / 51°42'19"N

Longitude: -2.9053 / 2°54'18"W

OS Eastings: 337541

OS Northings: 201133

OS Grid: SO375011

Mapcode National: GBR J9.3PYJ

Mapcode Global: VH79V.LDGG

Entry Name: Plas-newydd

Listing Date: 30 April 2004

Last Amended: 30 April 2004

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 82781

Building Class: Domestic

Location: On the N borders of the town just S of the railway bridge; set back from and above the road within gardens.

County: Monmouthshire

Town: Usk

Community: Usk (Brynbuga)

Community: Usk

Built-Up Area: Usk

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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Built for Francis McDonnell JP, prominent Roman Catholic, in 1835, on the site of a cottage, on land bought from the Duke of Beaufort. McDonnell came from Ireland and was apprenticed as solicitor to the firm of Prothero, into whose family he eventually married. Gave land and money for the nearby Usk Roman Catholic church to be built 1847; his wife is buried there. House appears on Usk Tithe Map 1846 much as at present, though without the later coach-house courtyard. The verandah originally extended to right of door; a gabled porch was later added to the front door but is not extant. The ancillary buildings were built to S, with glass houses and kitchen garden extending as far as Castle Vale adjacent to the RC church.


Large middle-class house in Tudor Revival style. Rendered and painted with shallow-pitched hipped slate roof and long narrow stacks parallel with main ridge; small gabled dormer with Gothick glazing. A wide frontage, two storeys and attic. Main windows are cross-framed with square hoodmoulds; early plate glass sashes - some old glass retained. Centre bay projects and has a 2-storey canted bay, flat roofed to first floor and with a shallow-pitched slate-roofed verandah to full-length ground floor windows, supported by slender columns on stone bases and linked by wide cusped ogee arches; boarded inside. To each side is a two-window range: small blind gables with apex finials to the first floor end windows; long ground floor windows with verandah to left range. Doorway centre left with double 3/4-glazed doors. N side has a deep ground floor bay window, a 3-light window to first floor above and Gothick-glazed oriel window to rear, all overlooking the main garden. S side elevation has a 2-window range; here with Gothick glazing to full attic dormers and a central first floor triangular oriel-type window; blind window adjacent; paired small-pane sashes. Rear elevation is flat with a range of paired small-pane sashes and pentice, overlooking a part-walled service yard incorporating in the steep bank to rear an ice-house.


Hall is L-shaped with living room with garden views opening to left and dining room facing frontage to right; Tudor-style ceiling arch. Fine doors with narrow vertical panels, similar shutters and reveals. Drawing room has marble fireplace with spandrels carved with bullrushes and primrose keystone. Dining room has an elaborate wooden Renaissance-style C19 fireplace from Llantarnam Hall, an oak-leaf cornice and parquet and boarded floor. At rear is an early C20 inserted fireplace with peat burner; dado with painted 1920s lower surface. A very distinct division between the polite and service areas is a feature of this house, defined by a hall doorway. On the other side is a butler's pantry with glazed cupboards, red and ochre quarry tile floor to passage, a 'study' with black marble fireplace. Small hall with back stairs. To rear is a servants hall with high window, formerly with range, and cupboards. Kitchen adjaccent has quarry tile floor, dresser, plate racks, pantry with cool slab, meat hooks. Former dairy adjacent. Trap door to cellar, brick steps downs, vaulted ceiling. Main stairs have wreathed ramped handrail, grooved stick balusters and are lit by a roof lantern. Upper rooms of generous proportions have similar fittings to ground floor. Nursery at rear with fireplace and bathroom with original bath and fireplace adjacent. Again the distinction between the polite and service areas. Doors here are 4-panelled and the windows are small-pane. Rooms are on three levels and the first floor ceilings of the frontage are only just above window level to accommodate this: the range of service rooms includes besides nursey and servants bedrooms, day nursery, schoolroom, nanny's room.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a mid C19 residence, especially interesting as a contrast with near contemporary Porthycarne House opposite and for its reflection of social class division. Group value with other listed buildings in N part of the street.

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