Margam Castle, a Tudor Gothic mansion was, with it’s service buildings and courtyards, built between 1830 and 1840 and it is listed Grade I as a building of exceptional quality and with some spectacular features such as the staircase.
It was not until the 1820’s that Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803 – 1890) determined to build a new house at Margam.
The Margam estate had been in his family since 1536,however Thomas Mansel Talbot had demolished the original mansion house in 1787 to replace it with the magnificent Orangery that can be seen in the gardens today. Proud of this ancient family lineage Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot had always been attracted to romantic Margam. He wished to rebuild a suitable country residence which would compliment Margam’s illustrious history.
The site was deliberately chosen for its historic associations and picturesque position at the foot of a wooded historic hill, Mynydd-y-Castell, itself the site of Margam’s earliest habitation, with the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey and the eighteenth century Orangery visible to the West. The prospect of the house, rising above the Orangery and monastic remains to the west is unique in Wales.
Whilst the recognised and accredited architect is Thomas Hopper (1776 – 1856), it is rather interesting to find that another distinguished architect was closely involved with the project and almost certainly influenced the finished house with work on the interior and exterior, the stables, terraces and lodges, the Shrewsbury architect Edward Haycock (1790 – 1870). Thus we have two distinguished 19th Century architects involved with Margam.
However there is a third person who was to greatly influence the architectural style and finished design and this was C.R.M.Talbot who was greatly influenced by the architecture of two family homes borrowing elements from Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, ancestral home of the Talbots and residence of his cousin W.H.Fox Talbot ; and the idea of the octagonal tower from Melbury House in Dorset, the seat of his mother’s family, the Fox-Strangeways, Earls of Illchester.
Margam was really designed by three men Hopper, Haycock and Talbot and influenced by two earlier houses Laycock and Melbury whilst presenting an unique creation in sympathy with its sylvan surroundings, evocative of a rich and illustrious past – which is exactly what C.R.M.Talbot had in mind.
First Broadcast : 18th July 2006
A self confessed super fan of Most Haunted and editor of GhostMag.com. Matt’s passion for ghost hunting began when he moved into a haunted house in his second year of university in Leicester! His favourite location is the Niddry Street Vaults in Edinburgh.