Caerleon Net
A History of the Mynde House
© Robert Trett 2006

In a survey of 1622 "William Thomas holdeth the forsaid castle of Carlion with a great round hill and a fold thereunto adjoining together with the castle bailey and all the lands belonging to the said round hill or castle, being part of the demensne lands of Carlion by a lease of 99 years from the Earl of Pembroke."

In 1653 his nephew Thomas Williams lived in a house on the site of the present Mynde House, then known as Castle Villa. His younger son was Charles Williams who died in 1720, leaving a fund to set up the Charles Williams Endowed School in Caerleon. Charles' brother, William Williams, continued to live at the Castle House. He also held the Castle by lease from the Earl of Pembroke and died in 1680.

William bequeathed his lease on Caerleon Castle to his son, Evan Seys. Evan Seys died in 1732, leaving his property to another Evan Seys (of Boverton). At some time before the end of the 18th Century the lessees purchased castle from the Earl of Pembroke. Evan Seys of Boverton died without children and in 1799 the property was assigned to Robert Jones.

John Jenkins, owner of the Ponthir Tin Works, lived at Castle Villa in the early 19th Century. He built the present walls, probably for protection against the public unrest that culminated in the Chartist Uprising of 1839. Pigot's Directory of Caerleon in 1844 lists John Jenkins.

Slater's Directory of 1850 lists both John Jenkins and John Jenkins Junior. In 1850 John Edward Lee of the Priory, Caerleon, published in "A Description of a Roman Building and Other Remains Lately Discovered at Caerleon". This was the Roman "Castle Baths", which stimulated the founding of the Caerleon Museum in 1850. The plan in this account refers to the property of John Jenkins Junior. John Jenkins Senior died in 1860 and his son in 1858. Slater's Directory of 1859 refers to John Jenkins.

About 1870 Thomas Woollett purchased the property. However in 1878 it belonged to Robert Woollett who excavated a tunnel into the Mound and reported his discoveries. John's Directory of 1885 lists R.F. Woollett M.D., J.P. of Castle House.
A Sale catalogue dated 5th May 1887 advertised the auction of household goods, property of the late R.F. Woollett, Esq., J.P. of Castle Villa. Robert Francis Woollett - a surgeon - was Medical Officer of Health for Newport. He was a leading Catholic layman and a benefactor of the Catholic Church built in 1884-5 on his property at Caerleon.

The Census of 1891 lists Alfred Williams, aged 49, Provisions Merchant. Kelly's Directory of 1901 also lists Alfred Williams Esq. of the Mount. Alfred Williams is again listed in John's Directories of 1905 and 1907. In 1923 Bradney in his History of Monmouthshire states "It (the Mount) has since become the property of the Roman Catholic community, and is occupied by Mr Alfred Williams."

On 7th December 1927 the property known as "The Mount" was put up for sale by auction in consequence of the death of the owner.

In 1934 John's Directory merely refers to "Bowen - Caretaker of the Mount".

The present Mynde House was probably built after the Woolletts acquired the house. It is of unusual appearance and is incorporated into John Jenkins' wall around the Mound property. It is built of coursed stone rubble with an imposing open entrance porch leading to double (glazed) doors. A decorated semi-circular stone pediment and a small stone mullioned window with three lights surmount this. This in turn has a decorated stone triangular pediment.

On either side of the porch are large stone mullioned sash windows, each with three lights. Above each window is a broken pediment with a carved stone "coat of arms". The armorial shield above the left window is divided. The emblems are not fully distinct, but the right side includes the word "PAX" and may be accounted for by the fact that it is the motto of the Benedictine Order. The motto beneath the shield reads "FIDES SPES CARITAS" (faith, hope and charity). It is unusual for words to appear in the body of a coat of arms and it is likely that it is an informal design.

The armorial shield above the right window depicts a griffin? And on the left wall of the house is a third armorial shield. The roof is partly slated, and is strangely recessed so that the three dormer windows are set back from the front of the house. This is thought to be as a result of a dispute between the owner of the Mynde House and the owner of Caerleon House, across the street, regarding the latter's claim of "Ancient Lights".

The Sale Particulars of 1927 list details of the interior, including: a basement cellar; a ground floor Vestibule with a tessellated tiled floor, a Dining Room, a Drawing Room, a Morning Room, a China Pantry, Kitchen, Scullery and Larder; first floor Four Bedrooms, Two Dressing Rooms, a Box Room, Linen Room, Bath Room and Lavatory: second floor Three Bedrooms. At that time there were also Stables, a Coach House and Fruit Stores entered by the large double doors from the street.

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