In Margam Country Park, near Port Talbot in South Wales, is a 19th century Tudor gothic mansion that many people would not even class as a castle. Margam Castle was built 1830 and 1840 by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890) in a style that would compliment Margam’s illustrious history and his own family’s lineage. The original mansion house had been demolished in 1787 and replaced by the Orangery, that still remains in the gardens today. Margam Castle was passed through inheritance to several owners unto it was requisitioned by the Government in 1939. In 1941, the trustees of the Margam estate then decided to sell the greater part of the property ultimately leaving an empty mansion and even though the estate was sold to Sir David Evans-Bevan in 1942, he never lived there and it fell into decline. Glamorgan County Council acquired the state in 1973 and, despite a terrible fire in 1977 that gutted the interior, restoration of the mansion continues today.
Architecturally it is quite splendid and the imposing structure dominants the surrounding park areas. The octagonal tower is particularly striking and sits in the centre of the mansion. When my children were young we would come into Margam Park and spend hours in the grounds, taking advantage of the wide open grassy areas for a picnic and to play rugby. I can remember sitting and looking across the expanse of grass at the dominant and imposing building silhouetted by the trees of the wooded hillside behind.
During our latest visit, we took the opportunity to walk to the magnificent Orangery, before following a path up a series of ornate steps up to the mansion. Despite the clouds overhead, the beautiful trees and flowers lit up the gardens and I can only imagine the splendour when the mansion was in its prime. From the grounds you can look towards the coast and see steam plumbing up into the sky from the vast Port Talbot steel works and it always makes me appreciate the industrial heritage of South Wales.
If you haven’t been to Margam Park before, I recommend that you visit. It is a great place to go with young families with expansive grounds to play in or if you have an interest in history and architecture.
The photographs are all shot with a Canon 5D, all handheld with a little adjustment in Photoshop where needed to enhance certain features. More photographs can be seen on my website.