I was recently contacted about some Ince & Mayhew furniture from Clytha Castle, described by the National Trust as one of the outstanding 18th-century follies of Wales. It stands on top of Clytha Hill, on the edge of an old grove of chestnuts, and is currently cared for by the Landmark Trust.
The Castle has rather romantic origins as it was built by William Jones as a memorial to his recently deceased wife, Elizabeth. The dedication, inscribed on a tablet set into the walls, reads as follows:
This Building was erected in the year 1790 by
WILLIAM JONES of Clytha Houfe Efq
Fourth Son of JOHN JONES
of Lanarth Court Monmouthfhire Efq and
Hufband of ELIZABETH the laft furviving Child
of Sir WILLIAM MORGAN of Tredegar KB
and GrandDaughter of the moft Noble WILLIAM
Second Duke of Devonfhire
It was undertaken for the purpose of relieving a mind
fincerely afflicted by the lofs of a moft excellent Wife
whofe Remains were depofited
in Lanarth Church Yard A.D: 1787
and to the Memory of whofe virtues
this Tablet is dedicated.
Though on a different scale, the castle has been likened to the Taj Mahal in its purpose. However a contemporary commentator also pointed out that Elizabeth, the grand-daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, had given her husband a huge fortune.
The castle was designed by William Jones himself, assisted by the architect John Davenport, who had earlier designed an orangery for Warren Hastings at Daylesford House – Warren Hastings was also a client of Ince & Mayhew. William Jones kept a handwritten account book, recording all the costs of building and furnishing the castle, including craftsmen’s wages, transport costs and building materials. From 1791-1792 he paid Ince & Mayhew £1000 for ‘Gothic style’ furniture for the house.
In 2013 Sotheby’s New York sold two games tables from Clytha Castle for $100,000, and now a mahogany dumb waiter, also by repute from Clytha Castle and attributed to Ince & Mayhew, will be on sale at the San Francisco Antiques Fair this October.
Did Ince & Mayhew supply any other furniture for William Jones? If so, where is it?
Sarah Ingle is the great great great great grand-daughter of William Ince and has been researching her family history for a number of years. She thoroughly enjoyed the detective work involved in tracing William’s lineage.