Thursday, August 29, 2013
St Weonard's, Herefordshire
Towers among trees
This charming house caught my eye as I glimpsed it across fields and through trees. Called Treago, it was originally built in the late-15th century and altered in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The original building was a squarish stone structure with round towers at the corners and an internal courtyard (now roofed over). Treago was built as a fortified manor house and there would probably originally have been only small openings on the outside walls, with bigger windows looking into the internal courtyard. The windows visible now were added in the 18th century (the sash window), and in the 19th century.
With its corner towers and (originally) a moat, Treago looked strong, but maybe the fortifications of this manor house were built mainly for show. The site isn't ideal for defence (there's higher ground to one side, overlooking the building) and Anthony Emery, in his book Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, thinks that this 'nullified any pretensions to serious defence'. Moreover he adds, 'The house was formerly embattled, but the porch had no more than a draw bolt, and the cross loops in the angle turrets are decorative.'
If the main aim of the architecture was to look impressive, the altered house manages to combine this quality with a certain quaintness that isn't entirely out of place in this secluded spot in the Herefordshire countryside. It has been the home of the Mynors family at least since the 16th century, probably since it was built in c 1470. It seems that they have looked after it well.