Margam Castle

Restoration and Conservation
One of 20 marriage shieids restored in this project. Margam Castle, Port Talbot

Margam Castle is a large country house near Port Talbot in South Wales.  Built in the mid 1830’s and owned by the then richest commoner in Britain, Christopher Rice  Mansel Talbot , the great house had, by the 1970’s, fallen into disrepair. (Click on the image below for more information about Margam Castle)

Margam Castle Exterior
Image copyright

The entrance hall contained a large armorial window which , following a fire in the 1970’s, was taken out for safe-keeping. A study was done in the mid-1990’s to assess the feasability of restoring the window which had suffered fire damage, neglect and vandalism.

However, it was not until 2001 that work got underway following a newly outlined plan by Alun Adams, past student of the college. He studied the window in his final year and put together a bid that secured funding to resore the glass and return it to the building.

Restored Armorial Window, Margam Castle

I got involved at this point having just finished a placement at the wonderful Holy Well Glass Conservation Studio in Wells, and agreed to do the work on a part -time basis. In my first few days I was presented with the range of panels, 16 in all, containing 20 family shields describing selected marriages and lineage of the Mansel-Talbot family in various states of dis-repair. The crowning moment came when I was presented with a carrier bag full of tiny fragments of the 1-2mm thick glass and wondered how on earth I was going to do this. A very large learning curve later and the window was re-installed in 2006.

Follow the progress of one of the shield panels in the images below:


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2 thoughts on “Margam Castle”

  1. Wonderful stained glass! Thank you for all the work that restored this window. Please could you clarify what the left hand black shape is on most of the crest/shields .. it looks like a ?bat/?arm/?scyth
    Many thanks, J

    1. Hi Jay, Thanks for your question…..the black shape is a type of historical sleeve shown from the shoulder to large drooping material at wrist which, in French, is known as a ‘manche’ and is being used here on the shield to represent the Mansel family – either as a loose play on words as they sound similar or perhaps both words have the same root- not sure about that? Thanks, Rachel

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