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Middleton Hall Park, Grounds and Gardens (The National Botanic Garden of Wales)

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Map ReferenceSN51NW
Grid ReferenceSN5226318178
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Period18th Century
Forming part of the estate of Sir William Paxton, the early nineteenth century park, grounds and gardens are associated with Middleton Hall (NPRN 17569) a grand classical mansion completed in the late 18th century . The park is shown in some detail on the 1st edition OS County series (Carmarthen. XL.7-8; 11-12 1887-8). The park and grounds fell into decay following the fire of 1931 that destroyed the house. More recently the National Botanic Gardens have been set up in the grounds (see NPRN 307111) and some original features have been restored.

The park was described as narrow and ill-planted in 1799, but its ultimate layout had been established by 1815. Middleton Hall replaced an earlier Middleton Hall (NPRN 412598) located elswhere on the estate, and Paxton's estate encompases the earlier Middleton Estate (NPRN 418691).

Paxton's Middleton Hall stands on a rise in a generally broken and hilly landscape. Together with the still surviving service block, court and stable yard (NPRN 31623), it formed a grand architectural composition laid out along a common axis. To the south of the stables is a great double walled kitchen garden with a later orchard enclosure on the north. Where the Great Glasshouse now stands was a large garden and shrubbery area centered on a fountain and ringed by a great carriage circle. This was not an original feature. These various gardens were embedded in a large irregular shrubbery area. There is a well preserved icehouse (NPRN 31622).

The great park, some 2.0km east-west, had at its heart a string of five lakes in the valleys south and east of the house. These were linked by cascades and spanned by some seven bridges. Boathouses and bath buildings were built on their shores. As many as six drives fanned out across the park, crossing over the bridges. The two lodges still remain, Middleton Lodge on the north and Allt-goch Lodge to the east. A range of earlier field boundaries and tracks are preserved within the former park area (NPRN 401339; 401679; 401730-1). Two former tree clump earthworks can also be recognised (NPRN 401339; 401730). These could have been adapted from earlier enclosures.

Paxton's Tower (NPRN 79044), an eyecatcher banqueting house, stands on a commanding summit some 2.0km north-east of the house. It was set within its own small 'park' enclosure with at least one lodge building (see NPRN 96507).

Source: CADW Register of Parks & Gardens: Carmarthen., Ceredigion., Pembroke. (2002), 50-56

John Wiles 14.11.07

1. This garden is depicted on the Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25-inch map of Carmarthenshire XL, sheet 11 (1906). Its main elements on that map include orchard, woodland, lawns, greenhouses, isolated geometric copses, conservatory, carriage drive, kitchen garden, lodge, parkland, walled garden.
C.S.Briggs 07.07.05

2. Middleton Hall, though lacking original house and now largely covered by a National Botanic Garden, still preserves some original eighteenth-century landscaping in fine rolling countryside, the main feature of which is a string of lakes. Some ruined structures relate to an attempt by the park's creator, Sir William Paxton, to develop it as a spa. There is an unusual double-walled kitchen garden and a well preserved ice house. 1785-1815 and after 1996.
C.S.Briggs, 2004 from Register.
application/pdfCPG - Cadw Parks and Gardens Register DescriptionsCadw Parks and Gardens Register text description of Middleton Hall Garden, Llanarthney. Parks and Gardens Register Number PGW(Dy)4(CAM).