Some historic manor houses in Wales are absolute gems, not just for the chapters of colourful history they bring with them but for the features, atmosphere, and land, plus the kudos for an owner – the next custodian to pick up the keys and enjoy living in such a special house.
Every corner you turn, flight of steps you climb plus garden area you discover at Goytre Hall offers you another layer of uniqueness and joy that such a special house and garden still exist and can still amaze with what it has to offer, even centuries after its original construction.
The house is thought to have medieval origins and was the home of Thomas Herbert, son of the first Earl associated with Pembroke during the 15th century, although Cadw have stated that there is no obvious evidence for this at the site and the provenance of the date of 1447 over the main door is unknown.
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But there’s no need to feel sad that the high profile past of this property might be an urban myth, as this remarkable abode can be dated back to around 1620 at least, so it still has centuries of history to offer you.
It is thought to have started life as a large, three storey L-shaped farmhouse but has since grown and morphed into a spectacular Jacobean country house that any Lord or Lady, or anyone else for that matter, would be proud to call their home.
It’s not a surprise to learn that the house has not been on the market for over 60 years because once it enchants you with its atmosphere, features and stunning garden you are likely to be captivated for life. The country home was awarded a Grade II listing by Cadw in 1952, amended in 2001, as ‘a 17th century home, with interesting 19th plus early 20th century alterations, which retains considerable character’.
The house is nestled within the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside, south of Abergavenny, on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park and, as the name suggests, close to the village associated with Goytre and also Nantyderry. The particular characterful home also comes with about eight acres of that glorious countryside and its parcel of land is enchanting.
Wandering through the garden as well as the extended land you will find large formally designed areas with sweeping lawns, box hedges, flower beds and ornamental ponds in contrast to the more natural development of ancient woodland, grassland, paddocks, a wildlife river and, of course the land has a small stream meandering through it, as any special country home should.
It’s a multi-functional garden too – for work, rest and play. There’s a vegetable garden and orchard to assist with meal time and a very inviting swimming pool surrounded by a terrace where you get some of the best views of the house and its development over the centuries, and the garden that constantly tries to entice you from your sunbed with offers of idyllic wildlife walks through your own land.
Within the eight-acre site there are outbuildings to explore as well, bonus buildings that used to support the main house, including a three bedroomed housekeeper’s cottage and a separate first floor apartment plus an unconverted former stable accessed through a rather fancy porte cochere, defined as a covered entrance large enough for vehicles to pass through, typically opening into a courtyard.
The estate agent suggests that this ancillary accommodation may provide opportunities for multi-generational occupation, business or leisure use or income, by way of holiday lets, subject to any necessary planning consents of course.
The amazing house itself is a wonderful collection of spacious rooms and layers of character, sprawling across four flooring and starting with a front door to whet your appetite laden with historic charm, from the rivets in the panels of wood to the robust hinges and large keyhole and latch.
The entrance nestles within the ‘bend’ of the L-shaped design of the home and the porch leads into a feature of many a grand historic house – a large reception hall to greet visitors because first impressions definitely do count.
And the impression this reception hall gives is one of personality, offering features such as a substantial fireplace, wood panelling on the walls, exposed ceiling beams and quarry floor tiles but it also establishes an ambience of a welcoming home that will hugs you with comfort as well as history.
From the reception room there’s a choice to go left to the morning room, ahead into the sun space or right into the drawing room and each journey will get you to a joyful destination. The morning room is a space that boasts a wealth of character, from the substantial fireplace, enveloped in carved wood details and wall panelling, to the chunky exposed ceiling beams.
The leaded windows on three sides all offer garden views surrounded by a historic frame but maybe the most intriguing feature in this space is a beast of a window seat tucked into a bay and closed off by the curtains for extra privacy if you require it.
Into the drawing room and as you would expect it is the biggest as well as the most impressive space, happily entertaining visitors with its grandeur via a huge stone fireplace at one end, utilized via an unusual archway plus flanked by two windows.
The exposed beams and wooden floor top plus tail the room with pleasing period character, assisted by the robust solid wood internal doors and a vast bay window that houses another built-in window seat, but this one is so big it can surely fit a whole family on it.
The sunroom is a bonus space that offers over 180 degree views of the backyard from its pretty arched home windows, and has two access points out to the greenery via two sets of French doorways.
Back inside and the formal dining room has a cosy and welcoming feel thanks to a fireplace and exposed beams, but is easily able to accommodate a large family gathering at a large central table bigger than the one currently in place.
The kitchen is found slightly detached from the main hub of the home but is great enough to welcome a table and chairs to be a sociable eating area too, with dual aspect towards the garden.
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The room has a Shaker-style kitchen that cooks will be relieved to find is more from the present than the distant past, although the range cooker nestled within a chimney breast is a classic country kitchen feature that is truly timeless.
The ground floor also offers a pantry and cold room off the kitchen, extra space that links back to the home’s country house past, as well as an utility area, cloakroom and boot room plus stairs down to the wine cellar, so technically the house actually has five floors of space.
Up to the first floor via one of the 2 staircases – one for that posh people and one for your servants – and there are six bedrooms and four ensuites or separate bathrooms waiting for you on this level.
The principal bedroom suite is an absolute stunner, with a double-height ceiling boasting two levels of windows, exposed supports and rafters that mesmerise, plus a pretty fireplace, walls panelling, an internal door that will oozes history.
There is easily enough space for a study area and the room can also showcase a window chair but unlike its ground floor versions, this one is substantial enough to include seating on three sides along with a table in the centre of its raised platform – not so much a window seat as a whole dining area.
But the main bedroom is not the only slumber space with stacks of character and features – many of the remaining eight can offer an unique space. One of these is currently being used as a study that is warmed physically by the addition of the log burner and visually by the wall panelling that is the perfect backdrop for a research in a historic home.
There are further bedrooms that can boast high and highly engaging ceilings of exposed wood, plus fireplaces, arched doors, garden views through leaded windows and wonderful nooks and crannies to create perfect and unique reading nooks and calming zones.
Across the three upper floors there are nine bed bedrooms and the study that includes, across the very top floor, the self-contained potential home that has a bedroom, sitting room, bathroom and a kitchen diner that is also so full of personality and charm that might not see your teenager for months on end if they decide to bag this bonus space.
The house has been extended through its chapters of history from Jacobean through Victorian to the 1920s and beyond. The estate agent describes the property as an unique opportunity to create a truly remarkable home with some partial updating and renovating , but with the glorious historic core of the building should always be at the heart of any restoration project as all the amazing, surviving features is what gives this particular home its soul.
Goytre Hall is for sale with regard to £1. 5m with Great & Country, call their Abergavenny branch on 01873 736515 to find out more. And don’t miss the best dream homes in Wales, renovation stories plus interiors, join the Amazing Welsh Homes newsletter , sent to your inbox twice a week.