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Troy House a Tudor Estate Across Time

Despite Troy House being the only ducal mansion in Wales, it has largely been forgotten. This book redresses the situation by using a blend of research covering history, genealogy, architecture, landscape, archaeology and art history. The result is a richly illustrated and rigorously argued narrative that clearly sets out the historic ownership, architecture and landscape setting of the Troy House estate.

The history of this Monmouthshire estate is traced back to the twelfth century when it was owned by the influential Herbert family. An inventory of 1557 is transcribed for the first time and reveals rooms still named the ‘King’s and Queen’s chambers’ following the visit by  Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth of York, in 1502. The estate stayed within the Herbert family until 1600 when it was purchased by Edward, fourth earl of Worcester, a leading courtier and member of the Privy Council during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James 1 of England. The estate was significantly enhanced with new buildings and garden features by Edward’s son, Sir Charles Somerset, and eventually passed to Henry Somerset (made first Duke of Beaufort in 1682). In 1681 Henry embarked on a three-year building programme when the house was trebled in size for his only son and heir to the Badminton estate. Troy then served as the main centre from which Henry’s son administered all of his father’s Welsh holdings. When the son was killed in 1698, Troy largely became a hunting venue for successive Dukes of Beaufort whilst Badminton remained the main family seat..

The Troy estate was broken up in 1901 when it was auctioned by the ninth Duke of Beaufort. The house and walled garden were purchased by an order of French nuns who ran the house as a convent school and Magdalene laundry. Troy House subsequently became a ‘special school’ for boys in 1984. It has been unoccupied since 1992, and from 2008, the subject of a contentious planning application for conversion to apartments.

Readers with a variety of interests from family and genealogical to architectural and garden history will find this book of interest.