Friday, 27 May 2011
Video animation of Old Beaupre, St Hilary, Vale of Glamorgan
Old Beaupre, St Hilary, Vale of Glamorgan
This medieval manor-house of about 1300 was modified during the Tudor period and is home to a magnificently carved Renaissance porch that shows the influence of Italian design on Welsh architecture. It is now in the guardianship of Cadw.
The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century manor-house is substantial, arranged around three courts covering a large area. The main approach is marked by the impressive gatehouse of about 1586, formerly crenellated and dated, which still retains fluted Ionic pilasters and the Bassett coat of arms with the motto ‘Gwell anghay na chwillydd’ (Better death than dishonour).
The south hall range is entered from the inner court by a full-height, three-storey, late Renaissance porch dated 1600, which is comparable to the ‘frontispiece’ of other Elizabethan/Jacobean prodigy houses such as Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire. Frontispiece is a particularly appropriate term as the porch resembles the illustrated, rather architectural, frontispieces of books printed at this time. The porch displays good knowledge of the classical orders with Doric capitals to the ground floor, Ionic to the first and Corinthian to the second floor.
Despite its grand beginnings Old Beaupre had descended the social scale from manorhouse to farmhouse by 1709, and it later fell into dereliction. Today it stands largely roofless and floorless and without easy access. A small fragment of decorative plasterwork in the roofed section of the south-east range depicts a large Tudor rose and lion rampant. The substantial great hall with armorial shields and fireplace remains in the south range as a reminder of departed glory.
Glamorgan Inventory, Vol. IV, Part 1: The Greater Houses, 46-63.
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