The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas

Lower Wye Valley

037 Troy Farm Fieldscape

Aerial view of the regular fieldscape of medium-large enclosures within HLCA037.

HLCA 037 Troy Farm Fieldscape

Agricultural landscape and associated essential setting for Troy House (HLCA038): regular fieldscape of medium-large enclosures associated with planned home farm; varied traditional boundaries; characteistic buildings: farmstead and outbuildings (Home Farm); estate cottages and lodges (some in picturesque vernacular style); relict/buried archaeology: prehistoric-post-medieval settlement/fields; industrial archaeology: Roman bloomery; post-medieval? Tuck mill; relict ornamental/leisure: post-medieval garden and parkland features associated with Troy House (eg 'Old Parke' area, ponds, conduits, and grotto); historic associations; communication features. Back to map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Troy Farm Fieldscape is an area of agricultural land which includes the farmhouse and farm buildings. It occupies the lower western slopes of the Trothy River Valley, and, in the north of the area, the flat valley floor, at the confluence of the River Trothy and the River Wye. The area is bounded by the Wye to the north, and by the ancient woodland, which occupies the top of the ridge to the east. A road, the modern B4293, defines its western boundary. It fell within the parish of Mitchell Troy, in the manor of Trellech and is part of the estate associated with Troy House, which, from the seventeenth century, was the residence of the Dukes of Beaufort in Monmouthshire.

Mesolithic (PRN 03876g) and Neolithic (PRN 03897g) finds from the area indicate early settlement. Roman remains in the area consist of a bloomery and the potential line of the Roman Road from Monmouth to Chepstow (RR6d-01, Sherman and Evans 2004).

The adjacent Troy House (HLCA 038), already an important mansion house by the fifteenth century, formed the focus of the area; several medieval finds (PRNs 03870g, and 03898g), have been recovered, while the barn at Troy Farm incorporates structural elements, which may date to the fourteenth century. The row of cottages at the farmstead is considered to be the converted remains an earlier building, possibly of medieval date (Newman 2000, 392). A water mill on the River Trothy extant in the fourteenth century is also thought to have stood in the area (Rees 1932, SE sheet).

The farm buildings and the fields, which belong to the farm, are very closely associated with Troy House. The north of the area, is known, along with the area of ancient woodland, as Troy Park, suggesting that it originally formed the deer park of the estate, which is mentioned in the will of Sir Charles Herbert, dated 1552 (Bradney 1913, 163). This area, on the northwest-facing slopes of the ridge which divides the Trothy and Wye Valleys, exists as a regular fieldscape of square fields with straight boundaries formed of hedges, suggesting that the area was enclosed late in its history. Mitchel Troy was one of the parishes covered by the Enclosure Act of 1810, and it may be that the enclosure of these fields dates to this Act.

As is common in ancient demesnes, the farmhouse and farm buildings are very close to the mansion house, adjoining it to the south. These provided stabling and accommodation for the Duke of Beaufort's horses and carriages, during the family's visits to Troy, which was their seat in Monmouthshire. The farm itself had reputation for being fertile and productive (Bradney 1913, 165), and was included in the sale of Troy estate to Edward Arnott, at which time the tenant at Troy Farm was an Aaron Smith. The area continues to be a working farm, although the farmhouse has now been subdivided into several smaller dwellings.

Historic Landscape Characteristics

Troy Farm Fieldscape is characterised by the agricultural fieldscape consisting of medium-large regular fields on the slopes to the east, and open meadowland to the north on the flat valley bottom adjoining the Wye, as the valley widens out below Monmouth. Currently under pasture, this field system, which is likely to reflect post-medieval reorganisation of the estate, has remained relatively unchanged from the First Edition OS (1881) other than some amalgamation in the south of the area. The field boundaries in this area are primarily distinctive hedgerow trees, with mortared walls and some post-and-wire and wooden fencing.

An important characteristic of the area is its historic associations with Troy House (HLCA 038), which surrounds the area. The north portion of this area forms the essential setting for the park of Troy House, and much of the north of the area is former parkland associated with the house, shown as woodland on the First Edition OS map. The original area of parkland is now much reduced, and now forms part of the surrounding agricultural landscape associated with Troy Farm.

The settlement in the area consists of isolated dwellings and the farmhouse, which immediately adjoins Troy House. The layout of the farmstead is of a complex of linear buildings around a central square yard. Settlement here also includes a row of cottages, possibly an earlier medieval structure, which has been adapted; the cottages are constructed of coursed stone, rendered at either end but left exposed in the centre of the building and under a slate roof. In addition further settlement in the area consists of isolated cottages, in the northwest of the area. The area has characteristic estate cottages, such as Troy Cottage, a Grade II Listed Building, in the picturesque 'cottage ornee' style, and Elm Cottage. Also of note is the Grade II listed barn at Troy House Farm, known as 'The tithe Barn'; this is a two-storey building, with uncoursed stonewalls and a stone and brick tile roof. Although it has been significantly altered and renovated, it retains stone-framed Tudor windows, and the entrance from the farmyard side is a roughly built Gothic arch, which may date to the fourteenth century.

An additional characteristic is semi-natural ancient woodland, which occupies the top of the ridge to the east, Troypark Wood (HLCA 036) and encroaches into the area. The First Edition OS (1881) map show this area as more heavily wooded, part of the parkland associated with Troy House (HLCA 038) and it is possible that historically the ancient woodland extended further into the area than current.

Communication links are a further characteristic of the area, and currently comprise the single straight access lane or drive to Troy House and Troy House Farm, whilst the western boundary of the area is formed by the modern B4293, the route of the nineteenth century Turnpike Road. An earlier, pre-turnpike route ran through the character area in a straight line due south for approximately 0.39km; this older route, in use in 1765, is preserved as a hollow way. The Roman Road (PRN 02460g; Sherman and Evans 2004, RR6d) between Monmouth to Chepstow is considered to have followed a similar if not the same route, to deviate from the line of the modern road and run through the western part of the character area.

Reports of a possible Roman bloomery in the area indicate a possible early industrial element to the character of the area.