Thursday, September 18, 2008

Searching for Regency England


I promised one last blog on Margam. I wanted to show pictures of the original house, primarily because it should have been there in the Regency, the house we saw in the earlier blog having been built in the 1830's. The estate belonged to the Mansel family, a landowner and knight raised to a Baronetcy in the early seventeenth century and the peerage in 1711 by Queen Ann.

The title became extinct and the estate went to the Talbot family. The house was demolished around the end of the eighteenth century 1792-93. These bird's-eye view paintings give a wonderful overview of the house.

The house had its origin in the converted domestic buildings of the medieval abbey. The picture above is the north view, or the back of the house, and while the house stretches out to the east, at the centre west can be see the ruins of the monastic chapter house, and the absence of fine windows at the western end suggest this was the service and stores end of the back of the house. Coal was kept in the chapter house during this period.
The front of the house is very different, but clearly shows its expansion over the years. To the right, or the east is the medieval gatehouse, behind which is a walled in courtyard, the the far west Corinthian columns or pilasters rise up in grand style above a door way.

A summer banqueting house was set off to the far right from the main building and overlooked the deer park. While we can regret its loss, it is not hard to see why the owners might have wanted to replace the rambling old seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings with something more up to date. On the other hand, to set a novel in such a house is very appealing.

I hope you enjoyed these two pictures. I have one more house in Wales I want to show you in my search for Regency England next time.

Until then, Happy Rambles