The Llwyn Ynn Staircase


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Object Description

The staircase is in the form of an open-well rising though four flights with four landings. The balustrades of the long flights are broken up by intermediate newel posts, a feature found in other Jacobean stairs such as Hanford House, Childe Okeford, in Dorset, built between 1604 and 1623. In addition the newel posts, handrail and string all have a small ovolo moulding to each corner and shallow “shadow moulding” in the centre, giving a richly moulded effect also seen at Hanford House. A 1937 house sale catalogue for Llwyn Ynn refers to “a really fine old oak carved staircase of exceptional width and easy tread”. This description fits the stair which is over five feet wide and has risers averaging only 6½ inches high; the catalogue also refers to the stair carpet which was 35 inches wide, exactly matching faint marks on the oak treads. The 1911 rcahmw volume on Denbighshire includes this description of the staircase at Llwyn Ynn: “…this doorway (the front door) opens into a large hall out of which leads a fine staircase, with flat pierced balusters, and tops and pendants to posts that are square in section…” a description which again favourably conforms to this stair.

Object History

Previously thought to have possibly come from Wynnstay Hall, this fine 17th century staircase can now be attributed through the detailed research of Linda Hall and Mark Baker to Llwyn Ynn, a large Jacobean house near Ruthin, at the southern end of the Vale of Clwyd, Denbighshire, which was demolished in 1963. The recent provenance to this staircase is to Ruthin Castle, Wales, where it was bought in 1964 by a Mr Warberton and put into storage after only twelve of the balusters were used. These balusters are still in situ at Ruthin Castle and adorn the minstrels’ gallery in the medieval banqueting hall. For the following forty five years the staircase was stored in the old x- ray department block of Ruthin Castle, which before being converted into an hotel was in use as a hospital from 1920–1960. The concrete building, now overgrown in the castle’s woodland, was a solid and water-tight structure, keeping the staircase in excellent condition when purchased by Architectural Heritage, bringing to light this rare near-complete provenanced stair from the 17th century.

Object Literature

Old photographs and drawings of the exterior of Llwyn Ynn, which translates as Grove of Ash Trees, make it possible to work out a likely arrangement and location for the stair. There was a large projection to the rear of the house behind the massive central chimneystack (it is known that the house was once much larger), the projection having two
gable ends; these two gabled projections appear to be a large stair wing having nine stone-mullioned windows whose arrangement reflects the presumed stairs within. The window arrangement on the right-hand half, with two pairs of windows at the same level, perfectly fit with a stair which has two long flights and a half-landing. A beam and panelling
below the half-landing together frame a wide opening which led to the area below the stairs, which again conforms with the known layout of Llwyn Ynn.

Object Details

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Dealer Location

Taddington Manor
Nr. Cutsdean
Gloucestershire GL54 5RY
United Kingdom

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