Langstone Court

Langstone is a former Elizabethan manor house and small country house, now divided into two: Langstone Court and Langstone Court Farmhouse.   The oldest part of the house is early 16th century, incorporating a cruck beam probably of earlier date, i now in the back part of Langstone Court.   This part of the house was extended westwards in the later 16th century and other ranges were added round a courtyard in the 17th century, presumably by the Gwillym family, who settled at Langstone during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The south-east block – the William and Mary front of Langstone Court – was added or rebuilt in about 1700, so this must have been the work of William Gwillym the younger, who inherited the house from his father in 1698 and died in 1706.   There are strong similarities with Bernithan Court, built in about 1695 by another old Llangarron family, the Hoskyns.   Perhaps not surprisingly, as William's mother was a Hoskyns.

The house was settled on Robert Gwillym the younger and Elizabeth Atherton when they married in 1738, but by 1740 Robert is described as “late of Langstone in the County of Hereford but then of Leigh in the County of Lancaster”. ii  Langstone was probably let.   A 1759 survey of Langstone by Walter Green, contained among papers at Langstone, which shows that the house originally had casement windows, like Bernithan, may have been prepared for a new tenant. More information on the Gwillym family is given here.

On 7 August 1794 Langstone was sold to the Revd Thomas Jones at auction in Ross on Wye.   The particulars and conditions of sale, also among Langstone papers, show that Lot I out of 14 lots for sale included Langston-House, Langston Farm and Langston-Mill Farm: a total of just over 309 acres worth £229 2s. 3d. a year in rent and taxed at £18 18s. 8d.   Langston-House itself was let on a yearly tenancy to Daniel Cope for £15 15s.   My great great great grandfather bought Lot I for £8,035.

His son, the Revd John Jones, inherited Langstone in 1797 and added a large room on the south-west side of the house in about 1825, on the site of the old parlour in the 1759 survey, with a large bow window and a higher ceiling than the other rooms in the front of the house.   A general reconstruction of the roof and the replacement of the casement windows by sash windows were done at about the same time.   A service wing was added or rebuilt on the north-east side in 1827.  His son, Dr John Jones, added a bathroom on the roof of the service wing at the time of his marriage in 1847.

No further work was done on the house until my uncle, Colin Jones, bought Langstone Court from his cousin, Edward Atherton Pearce Jones, in 1954, while Amos, the then tenant farmer, bought the farm.  Cornforth records that much of the timber reinforcement at ground and first floor levels had rotted over the years and Colin Jones had to replace it with concrete. iii   As Cornforth also comments: “The story of neglect in the 18th century and limited money in the 19th is a quite familiar one, and as always one is grateful that it should have been so, because it has meant that Langstone has survived unscathed by aggrandizement, violent changes of taste and 'period restorations.'”  Leaving aside the alterations of the early 19th century, the house and, importantly for the setting, the walled enclosures in front of it are essentially as William Gwillym built them in about 1700.  More information on the Jones family is given here.

A short bibliography of references to Langstone or to members of the Jones and Gwillym families is given here.

British History Online: An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1: South West - link
Cornforth, J., Langstone Court, Herefordshire, Country Life Vol. CXLII No. 3688, 9 November 1967