FORMAL GARDEN, MIDDLETON HALL, LLANARTHNEY
Map Reference SN51NW
Grid Reference SN5262518218
Unitary (Local) Authority Carmarthenshire
Old County Carmarthenshire
Type of Site FORMAL GARDEN
Broad Class Gardens, Parks and Urban Spaces
Period 17th Century
Site Description Adjacent to the site of the 17th century Middleton Hall (NPRN 412598) - home to the Middleton Family from the turn of the 17th century until 1776 -are the earthwork remains of the Hall’s formal garden, comprising a series of terraces, enclosures and water features.
The surviving garden surrounds the Hall to the east, south and west over an area roughly 300m east to west by 160m north to south. Middleton Hall faced west and from here a series of terraces, cut by a later track, lead down into the garden and a series of rectilinear enclosures. Faint traces of earthworks aligned with the house platform, roughly north-south, are likely to indicate a series of paths and a number of hollows may provide evidence for formal planting.
One of the main elements to the garden are a series of water features, in the form of ponds. A small pond 12m by 6m is situated on the terrace by the hall and then 70m to the west is a large ornamental pond 36m by 13m containing a small island. In 2011, excavation over part of this pond revealed that it had been cut into natural clay that was then re-deposited to form the core of a bank that surrounded it. Over this further clay was added and a gravel path lay. The pond had been filled with domestic rubbish, in the period after the Hall had fallen out of use. To the south of this in a sunken area now cut by a field drain is a third pond 33m by 14m. The very feint traces of a possible fourth pond also lie just north of the 1930s tenant farm of Waun Las.
To the south-east of the Hall, extending into an area of wet grassland that rises to the east are a series of tiered islands, 9 in total, each roughly 14m square. The islands are delineated by ditches that appear to have held water and within a number of them are some shallow hollows, perhaps the remnants of formal planting.
In 2011 archaeological investigations here formed part of a Heritage Lottery funded project. They were carried out by the National Botanic Garden Wales, University of Wales Trinity St David, University of Swansea and the Royal Commission.
Louise Barker, RCAHMW, April 2013