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Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage' Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage'
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Margam Castle & Estate


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History

Margam Castle & Estate (built 1830-1840)


Location, Margam Park, South Wales


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Background

This impressive mansion house was built by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890). He had always been attracted to romantic Margam and wanted to build a suitable country residence which would compliment Margam's illustrious history.
The castle, in the shade of the green slope of Mynydd y Castell is only a short distance from the ruins of the chapterhouse and orangery pleasure gardens. The young squire was determined that his new house would be the envy of the country and suited to his lineage, rank and fortune.

The Architect

Thomas Hopper 1776-1856

Thomas Hopper was chosen as the architect with the style of the building to be Tudor Gothic. Encouraged by Talbot, he let his imagination run riot which resulted in a sea of towers, turrets, pinnacles, cupolas, battlements and gables. Margam Castle was as romantic as any gothic enthusiast could wish.


Margam Castle

Sir Christopher Rice Manel Talbot (1803-1890)

Margam Castle viewed from Capel Mair
Coat of Arms of Mansel Talbot above doorway
Opulent furnishing inside Margam Castle
Built at a cost well over 50,000.00 the equivalent today of several millions of pounds, the house is centred around 3 courtyards and was built using local sandstone. Harder stone was used inside for the staircase and hall. Oak and pine were used for rafters and floorings and cast iron railway lines support and strengthen the stone landings of the staircases.
The guttering and water pipes were of lead with the Talbot crest on each drip box above the down pipes. The roof was on so many levels an army of men was needed to sweep the gutters.
The owner's pride in his family history is shown in the stonework by the great number of shields and coats of arms of the branches of the Mansel family. Most of the work was completed by 1836 with the interior decoration beginning with the gothic style being continued in the entrance and staircase halls.
The staircase hall was flagged and fitted with fleur-de-lys and ribband carpet in pink on a rich brown. Later, gothic seats were installed around the edge of the staircase hall each carved with monograms of CRM Talbot. The library, drawing and dining rooms were sumptuously decorated.
Gold leaf, carved marble, fine furniture, French rococo panelling, crystal chandeliers, Chinese lacquer porcelain vases, paintings by Rubens and screens, Canaletto all completed the opulent furnishing of the rooms.

Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot (1840-1918)

Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot
CRM Talbot died in 1890; his daughter and heiress, Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot made various changes to the house.
New bathrooms and plumbling were installed and the central heating improved. The billiard room was added, being built over the small inner courtyard.
Jacobean in style it became the popular haunt of gentleman guests invited to her large house parties in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. A large skylight of plain coloured glass lit the room.

Captain Andrew Mansel Talbot Fletcher (1881-1951)

The estate was inherited by Captain Andrew Mansel Talbot Fletcher following the death of Miss Talbot in 1918.
He and his family frequently stayed here during the summer holidays. He often opened the grounds to the public, hosting fates and celebrations. He altered the castle little although he did convert the old stable block into a squash court and garage in 1930.
American General Dwight Eisenhower at Margam Park during WWII

Margam Castle during World War II

During World War II both British and American troops were posted at Margam Caslte. The American General Dwight Eisenhower visited shortly before D-Day to prepare the soldiers for war. US Forces in Margam Park

Margam Estate Auctioned after WWII

Following the outbreak of the second World War the trustees of the Margam Estate decided to sell the house and contents along with a large portion of land. The 4-day auction organised by Christies of London took place between 27th & 30th October 1941.

David Evans Bevan, Neath

In 1942 the Margam Estate was purchased by David Evans Bevan of Neath. He never lived in the building and it gradually fell into decline. In 1973 he decided to sell, encouraged by Lord Heycock and Glamorgan County Council purchased the estate for 400,000.00 - gradually a programme of restoration and improvement was undertaken.
This work has contined with the present owners Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

Source: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Inside Margam Castle - Interactive Photo Section

Mouse over images for brief desciption
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Stained Glass in doorway in Entrance Hall to Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Interior of Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Fireplace in Entrance Hall to Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Stained Glass window in Entrance Hall to Octagonal Tower - Margam Castle
Part of fire surround in display cabinet from the Billiard Room dated 1892. The left-hand panel was carved with the letters E.C.T., the initials of Emily Charlotte Talbot, the last of the Talbots of Margam (1840-1918).
Images Courtesy: ODPDS Professional Photography - www.odpds.co.uk



EXPLORE KENFIG - THE COMPLETE HISTORY (E-RESOURCE)

History of Kenfig & surrounding areas - Prehistory to the Present Day


MARGAM HISTORY

  • Bronze / Iron Ages & Roman Era
  • The Monastic Era (1147-1536)
  • The Mansel Era (1536-1750)
  • Talbot Era (1750-1941)
  • War Years / Sir David Evans-Bevan
  • The County Council Years

  • KENFIG COMMUNITY




    Acknowledgements


    Bibliography

    • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
    • Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group

    Webpage Author

    • Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2011



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    Capel Mair (c.1470)

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