Old Vicarage

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The Malthouse
QR Plaque

While it is not known when the first Vicar lived at the Vicarage on Castle Street, there was a building on this property before the Civil War. In 1841, the property was owned by Alexander Jones, Esq and occupied by Walter Jones. Rev. Arthur Wyatt was the first Vicar known to live at the Vicarage. His predecessor, William Powell (1777-1863) lived at The Dells on Abergavenny Road. Until 1958, the Vicarage was the residence for the Vicars of St Cadoc's Church.

It is now a private residence. The new Vicarage is located on Primrose Green.

The Old Vicarage (Malthouse) is a Grade II listed building of special architectural or historic interest, designated by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments in the Listed Building Schedule as part of an unusual 19th century terrace with consistent later C19 detail with a slight Arts and Crafts tinge i.e. in the use of small red clay tiles and vernacular casement windows. The history of the building is set out in the Schedule as one of a terrace of three houses, probably originally five, with later C19 domestic revival detail, small casements, red tile roofs and tiled pentice roof over projecting ground floor. Possibly a remodelling of an earlier C19 range.

From some time in the 1880s it seems that the property became officially known as ‘The Vicarage’, part of the living of St Cadoc’s, Raglan which, until 1902 when the advowson was transferred to the see of Llandaff, was in the gift of the Duke of Beaufort. In 1901 the Duke of Beaufort sold most of his Raglan estate, including this property, to the Crown who, in 1921, sold it – with the adjacent dwelling, now called Exmoor House - to the Church in Wales.

In 1970 a new vicarage was built on land at the rear of the property and the old house plus part of the land was sold off for private occupation. A covenant was placed in this 1970 contract of sale restraining the new owners from giving it a name with ecclesiastical connotations; they chose ‘The Malthouse’ - a sly reference to the fact that they brewed their own beer rather than from any historical evidence as to the building’s former use!

Evidence garnered from maps and census records indicates that until the 1880s the official Raglan ‘Vicarage’ was outside the village on the Raglan to Abergavenny road at what is now The Dell Farm, although the vicar himself did not necessarily live there. We know, for instance, from the 1871 census that the then vicar, Arthur Montague Wyatt, was living in the centre of the village, probably in this very house in Castle Street though it was not yet called ‘The Vicarage’. His widow Ann Elizabeth Wyatt continued to live here, possibly right up to her death in 1887, whilst the new vicar, the Revd. Henry Plantagenet Somerset, occupied ‘The Vicarage’ on the Abergavenny road. Mr Somerset had been appointed to the Raglan living, on Mr Wyatt’s death in 1874, by his kinsman and local land owner the 8th Duke of Beaufort. In 1881 he had married Charlotte Elizabeth Wynter who bore him three children before her tragically early death, probably in childbirth, in 1886.

It is around this period that this terrace of houses on the west side of Castle Street, must have been remodeled and given what is still essentially its appearance today. The newly designated ‘Vicarage’ got a noticeably ecclesiastical make-over with its striking 6-bay timber-framed porch and well crafted internal woodwork in the main reception rooms which were enhanced by such features as window shutters, carved and pierced curtain pelmets with discreet small crosses and by attractive brass door furniture. It had now acquired the necessary degree of gentrification for its new status as ‘The Vicarage’.

We can be certain that by the time of the census of 1891 the remodeling was complete and that ‘The Vicarage’ had been formally relocated to Castle Street. Mr Somerset, now a widower, was living here, with his 2 sons, aged 8 and 5, and a daughter aged 7, plus governess, cook, housemaid, schoolroom maid and groom. Richard, the eldest of the three children has left his initials [R.H.P.S.] scratched on a bedroom window. Mr Somerset left Raglan in 1893 when he was appointed to the living of Crickhowell and by the time of the 1901 census had married Elizabeth Walton, the children’s former governess!

The next occupant of ‘The Vicarage’, from 1893 to 1903, was the Rev. Charles Matthew Perkins and we learn from the 1901 census that his household consisted of five persons – the vicar, his wife, two daughters and one housemaid. From 1903 until 1924 the Raglan incumbent was Robert Shelley Plant; the 1911 census shows a household of four, the vicar, his wife Annie Maude, a widowed ‘aged servant of small independent means’ and a 24 year old general servant.

David James Sproule came in 1924, followed by Thomas Wright in 1928, by Charles Duck in 1939 and by William Joseph Price in 1952. The last vicar to live here was Arthur Vernon Blake who became vicar of Raglan in 1958 and who, with his wife Pauline, son Paul and daughter Margaret, lived here until July 1970 when they moved into a new house built, by Eric Jones of Raglan for the Church in Wales, in what had been their back garden. Access to this new 1970 ‘Vicarage’ was, and is still, from the lane known as Primrose Green. A number of today’s Raglan inhabitants remember vicars Duck and Price and many more knew the Blake family and Pauline Blake’s parents, Mr & Mrs White, who, in their later years, also lived in this house.

‘The Malthouse’ is the northernmost of the range of 3 houses and is distinguished by the large projecting porch, which is in fact a 21st century reconstruction (built by Anthony Davies of Abergavenny) of the Victorian original! The whole of the terrace fronting on to Castle Street gives the appearance of having been designed as a whole and of having been built at the same time by the same builder since the roofing and windows are fairly uniform throughout. However that uniformity belies the interiors of the individual houses which vary considerably in character. As previously mentioned the present facade seems to have been remodeled in the 1880/1890 period from a much earlier range of buildings - the original walls show signs of being partly constructed from stones salvaged from Raglan Castle along with local bricks. The house also extends westward along Primrose Green (in forner times the Abergavenny road) where the doors to the old coal chutes can still be seen in the wall. Domestic offices in this back range included kitchen, scullery, larder, pantry, store room with loft over and boot room. The back yard led to a wash house with copper, a stable, piggery and coach house. There were flower and kitchen gardens, a paddock and orchard, making it a commodious, comfortable and well equipped home for the Raglan vicars and their families.

The above text prepared by Roger and Jean Hancock, The Malthouse, Castle Street, Raglan, NP15 2DS, 31st July 2013, amended 3rd August 2013.

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