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PANTYCELYN HALL, ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 403952

Map Reference SN58SE

Grid Reference SN5935581846

Unitary (Local) Authority Ceredigion

Old County Cardiganshire

Community Aberystwyth

Type of Site HALL OF RESIDENCE

Broad Class EDUCATION, DOMESTIC

Period 20th Century

Site Description Pantycelyn Hall was one of the first building to be constructed on the Penglais Campus site, which the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, acquired in 1929. The architectural scheme of the new campus was to be to the design of Sir Percy Thomas, but only Pantycelyn and two other buildings were completed of this scheme. Named after the eighteenth-century Welsh poet, hymnist and revivalist, William Williams, Pantycelyn, (1717–1791), the structure was constructed in the Neo-Georgian style as a hall of residence for male students in two phases from 1948 – the first phase completed, at a cost of £158,000, in 1951, the second completed in October 1953. Pantycelyn later served notably as the University’s Welsh-medium hall of residence from 1974 and has hosted several important figures including Prince Charles when he was a student in 1969 and the historian John Davies (1938–2015), who served as its warden for eighteen years from 1974–1992. The hall was threatened with closure several times in the 2010s and was closed in September 2015. Following student protests, Aberystwyth University began a £12m renovation of Pantycelyn Hall in late 2017.

The three-storey hall consists of two H-plan ranges of 3-9-3 bays, the northern of two-storeys, the southern of three storeys, flanking a recessed central seven-bay block. The building is faced with rock-faced Forest of Dean stone. There are sash windows throughout, with prominent forty-light windows lighting the principle rooms in the northern block. Above are hipped slate roofs and dormers behind plain parapets. The main entrance is in the northern end of the hall through a segmentally arched recess with a radial fanlight flanked by octangular windows. There is an additional entrance in the eastern façade of the central block through a simple moulded architrave with a tall stair window divided by two transoms above. The central and southern blocks comprise accommodation while the northern block also houses the senior common room and a second formal room, with plaster cornices and stone fireplaces, as well as a dining room.

(Sources: Cadw Listed Buildings Database, Ref No 87568; Sion Morgan, ‘Aberystwyth’s historic Pantycelyn hall of residence saved from closure’, Wales Online, 04.04.2014; ‘Aberystwyth Uni backs £12m for Pantycelyn halls revamp’, BBC News Online, 27.11.2017; ‘Aberystwyth's Pantycelyn Welsh halls reopening delayed’, BBC News Online, 13.09.2018; E. L. Ellis, The University College of Wales Aberystwyth 1872–1972 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1972); Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach and Robert Scourfield, The Buildings of Wales: Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), p. 48; John Davies, Fy Hanes I (Tal-y-bont: Y Lolfa, 2014), ch. 5.)
A.N. Coward, RCAHMW, 30.01.2019

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