Monday, 23 March 2009
Castell Coch Part I
Castell Coch is a Gothic Revival castle near Cardiff and it was owned and restored by the fabulously-rich John Patrick Crichton-Stewart, Third Marquess of Bute and his skilled architect, William Burges. Burges was a somewhat eccentric character, greatly influenced by the work of Augustin Pugin (who designed the interior for the Houses of Parliament and a wonderfully talented man). Lord Bute's wealth came from his inherited portfolio of land holdings in Scotland, England and Wales, which included the land and mineral rights of the coalfields beneath the Welsh valleys, and most of Cardiff, including the Dock area . . . The astute marriages of 3 generations of his family left him the richest man in the world. Lord Bute loved nothing better than a project - and the Medieval ruins of Castell Coch overlooking the Taff gorge, once the stronghold of Gilbert de Clare - proved to be an excellent project indeed.
Work began in 1875, but sadly Burges died in 1881 so never saw the finished castle. It is similar in the interior to the fabulous Cardiff Castle which Lord Bute and 'Billy' Burges also restored previously, only not quite so 'over the top' and it is incredible to think that for such a wonderful and impressive building, there are only 'his and hers' bedrooms and NO guest bedrooms at all! In fact, it was only really lived in by the widowed Lady Bute whilst the titles and estates were being passed into her keeping following her husband's death.
The approach to the castle.
This aspect in particular, is very like Cardiff Castle, with the covered walkway.
A quiet corner of the kitchen.
The dresser was absolutely massive.
A splendid range and huge table.
Lord Bute's many-windowed bedroom.
The hip bath, which would have been placed in front of the fire before being filled, and his elegant wash stand.
This unusual cupboard, like the other furniture in the castle, was made in the Bute workshops.
More tomorrow . . .