PIERCEFIELD HOUSE, St Arvan's, Gwent 2005

PIERCEFIELD HOUSE ( view of side pavilion), St Arvan's, Gwent
Notes of PIERCEFIELD HOUSE, St Arvan's, Gwent 2005

Piercefield is a large, notorious mansion estate situated high above the river Severn on the outskirts of Chepstow. Its origins lie in the middle ages and the Classical house as it stands today, was built around 1792. It has been bought and sold many times throughout its relatively short-lived life and today sits covered with supports and scaffolding adjacent to Chepstow racecourse.

I had known of Piercefield for some time, a friend had shown me snapshots of the house ruined, and it is well documented in guidebooks and historical interest publications. The house and its many statues were abandoned after 1923 and sold to the racecourse.

Unsurprisingly, it is a house that sparks great debate in the Chepstow area. The American Army in the Second World War supposedly used it as a target practice. Two large pavilions either side of the house became obscured by undergrowth and around the rear of the house extensive outbuildings (early 19th century); service courts, stables, a coach house and a walled kitchen garden are all derelict though with some abiding agricultural use.

The April morning I arrived was a humid and bright day. Piercefields sand-coloured limestone walls stood brave against the greens of the embroidered foliage and a wispy blue sky behind. Many exposures made, ordinarily I use around 6 sheets of film per house visited but the sheer size and wealth of photographic subject matter soon had me reloading film and searching for that viewpoint which suits the atmospherics of a house with such grand declines.

The house, outbuildings and grounds are currently under renovation.

Piercefield 2005





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PIERCEFIELD HOUSE (Pavilion), St Arvan's, Gwent 2005

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