Cost: Free

The forgotten Troy House Estate, Monmouthshire: Uncovering its Historical Significance

Ordinary Meeting of Fellows (Fellows and Guests Only)

"The forgotten Troy House Estate, Monmouthshire: Uncovering its Historical Significance" by Dr Ann Benson FSA

Troy's past is that of an aristocratic seat (dukes of Beaufort) but it is rarely discussed in the history of the great country house. This research adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to draw on a wide range of sources, including archaeology and Welsh Poetry, to reveal the remarkable story of this forgotten Welsh house from its medieval origins through to the present day. Since the house has been under threat for a century or more, and a planning application for its conversion to apartments remains unresolved ten years on from its submission, it is timely that this research reveals its historical features before they are lost forever.

Estate building and landscaping activities are most likely to occur when two conditions exist simultaneously: the owner has sufficient wealth to implement his desired plans, and there is social stability to enable culture and fashion to flourish without the pressures of war and other disruptive forces. The ownership history was first established to inform when building and landscaping were most likely to have occurred. Given that few garden features are extant at Troy, the architectural history of the house also needed to be identified. Principle reception rooms generally overlook key garden areas; a room known to have existed in the Tudor period would most likely have overlooked a garden styled in the Tudor fashion. The architectural history of the house is positioned at the centre of the research to identify how the surrounding land was refashioned across time. Investigating the estate’s main components, first individually, and then cross-referencing the findings, not only extends current understanding of them as discreet entities, but provides a unique, holistic view of how they interrelated within the estate across time.

Previously unrecorded historical features are discovered throughout the landscape and house, and current understandings are challenged with comprehensive evidence. As a whole, the house and its pleasure gardens, the walled garden, the farm and the surrounding parkland is shown by this research as a rare surviving example, particularly in Wales, of a complete Medieval estate with Tudor, Jacobean and Carolean aggrandisement, and, as such, has a significant place in history.

This lecture will finish with a coloured 3D reconstruction of how the house and its surrounding gardens appeared in the late-seventeenth century using a short fly-through video.

Location: Burlington House