Picton Castle doesn’t really do anything wrong. In fact they had a young girl stood at the exit asking what they could do better and all we could think of was that there could be a picnic table in the car park. Granted, it would benefit from being painted or re-rendered, but for the present that is something beyond reach cost-wise, I imagine.
Reason to visit: a very nice oil in the salmon reception room that could well be by someone they’d rather it wasn’t because that would make the insurance extortionate.
The blessing of the horses had just left and we went around this (former) pink palace on a guided tour.
It is so similar to Chirk Castle it’s uncanny – 1300 origins with 1740s additions; thus a Georgian interior inside a castle. It is faded grandure, no one really lives here, the bedrooms are verging on derelict, the curved door in the library is interesting (we’d seen another at Nash’s Llanerchaeron a couple of days earlier), downstairs there is also a dining room and sitting room and underneath vaulted kitchens.
Outside, they are restoring the walled garden (where I stuck upon a fernery when I wasn’t expecting it) and we walked amongst the camelias in the woodland. There is also a good play area.
The entrance hall. I want a floor like this in my entrance hall. Every time I see this style of floor it makes my heart a little lighter.
Looking back to the castle from the garden, where there is also a maze. Kept me happy!
While the glass house has been demolished in the walled garden and in its place a dry garden is being fashioned, behind it lies an impressive fernery.
Of themselves they say:
“Picton Castle is a most unusual ancient building being in design half fortified manor house and half fully developed medieval castle.
From the outside with its four symmetrically spaced half round towers and gatehouse entrance flanked by two narrower towers it looks like a miniature version of a great Edwardian Castle such as Conwy in North Wales. However as soon as one enters inside it is revealed not to have an inner courtyard and keep but rather a series of finely planned rooms typical of the grand country house that it is.
Since the 13th century Picton has been in the hands of the Wogans, Baron of Wiston and it was Sir John Wogan Justiciar of Ireland circa 1295 – 1313 who is believed to have built the present castle.
The Philipps’s who are direct descendents of Sir John Wogan have held Picton since the days of Sir Thomas Philipps. In 1611 James I wanted to raise money to meet the cost of keeping his army in Ireland and he hit upon the idea of selling baronetcies. Sir John Philipps bought one at the cost of £1,095.
Throughout the 17th and 18th Century the Philipps’s of Picton Castle were the most powerful family in Pembrokeshire exercising both tremendous political, social and economic influence over all aspects of local life. They had vast estates were prominent philanthropists (being particularly supportive of the charity school movement). Patrons of the arts for generations supplied Pembrokeshire with Sherriffs, Justices of the Peace, Lord Lieutenants and MP’s.”
Would I go again? Probably not (although they do put on a variety of events and we were there for longer than we usually take to visit a house, taking in the gallery and a bite to eat in the restaurant – both making good use of the stable block), but it was a good comparison to Chirk Castle and other houses in Wales we had visited on our trip.
When visited: April 2012
House * out of 5: ***
Garden * out of 5: ***
Theme tune: Pink fantastic – Barbie Girl by Aqua