Monday, September 22, 2008

Newton House, Wales

A small reminder. My new book, The Lady Flees Her Lord will be out in two weeks. Am I excited. Yes.


Okay, Newton house is in Wales with a castle in the back yard.

I am going to start with the house. The first picture is the back of the house. The second overlooks the park.

The house was built in the 17th century, but is now wrapped in a gothic Victorian limestone facade. The landscape however is pretty well unchanged. When Capability Brown visited in 1775, he said "I wish my journey may prove of use to the place, which if it should, it will be very flattering. Nature has been truly bountiful and art has done no harm." In other words, he didn't think there was much he could do to improve it. The park remains more or less unaltered to this day. Some of the trees date by to the thirteenth century.

In this picture, you can see the deer. This is but one of the views across the house from the park and I have to say, it really was lovely. One ancient tradition relates to the white cattle found on the estate. They have been at Dinefwr for a thousand years and are a symbol of the power of the Welsh Princes. The laws of Hywel Dda, a 10th century leader of Deheubarth, refer to fines and payments recovered with white cattle.

While the outside of the walls was changed, and there was remodeling done inside over the years, the basic structure seems to have remained fairly well intact.

The original house was a fortified farmhouse. It had towers in each corner. Domed roofs were added to the towers in around 1750. It was really neat that each of the rooms in the corners had little hexagonal rooms off them (inside the tower) with stairs off them. Of course, visitors aren't allowed, but it gave the rooms a very unique look and feel.

The last thing I am going to show you is the ice house. Now if you have been following this blog you will know I have a fascination for ice houses. One of these days I am going to put them all up on my web site. Newton House also has an ice house. It is set off in the woods, and would have been used to help keep the meat from the deer park fresh. According to the guide, because of the location of the ponds servants would have cut the ice and carry it up to the ice house very early in the morning so as not to disturb their employers. It was a distance of about one mile.


Deer meat would be stored on shelves around the edge of the round house or hung from the roof.

Next time we will take a look at the castle. Not because it was regency, but always because it was there in the regency. And quite honestly what could have been better but your own ruin. People paid a fortune to have them built.

Until next time. Happy Rambles.