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EAST ORCHARD MANOR HOUSE.
The ruins of this ancient but long deserted seat of the Berkerolles family, although usually styled a castle, present no traces of a fortified building. Their aspect is that of a substantial manor-place of the reigns of Richard II or Henry IV, built with a view to domestic convenience, and containing a good-sized dwelling-house and hall, with a chapel, kitchen, dovecote, and barn, arranged about a court, and with some additions and alterations of the Tudor period. The position, on one side weak, may have been protected, like Flimston, by an encircling wall, but of this no traces remain. The occupants trusted somewhat to the marshes of the Thaw; but their main safeguard was the settled state of the country during the reign of Edward III and his grandson, and the intervention of Flimston, Castleton, Bonvileston, and other strong houses near to Cowbridge, between this place and the hill-country.
East Orchard stands upon the east bank of the Thaw, upon a steep slope of lias rock, about fifty feet above the stream, which here expands into a marsh, and has been overflowed, three feet deep, by the tide from Aberthaw. The hall and dwelling-house occupy the north side of the court. The chapel, detached, is on the south, near the entrance. West, and higher up the hill, is the barn, and upon its crest the dovecote. At the foot of the slope an ancient leat feeds the castle mill, represented by a modern building.
The dwelling-house is composed of the hall and withdrawingroom, and four smallerchambers, which five latter have upper stories. The hall, forty feet long by twentyfive feet broad, was on the ground-floor, and had a highpitched, open roof, the gables being at the east and west ends. The principal windows, and no doubt the door, were on the south side, towards the court. The fireplace, six feet wide, was in the north wall, having a bold exterior
buttress to accommodate its deep hearth, and carry its spacious chimney. On either side is a door : one into the open air, opposite to the kitchen; the other entering a sort of still-room, which, again, has a door towards the kitchen. A western wall cut off a chamber eleven feet deep, and the breadth of the hall, probably for a buttery, as a large door opens from it towards the kitchen. If its upper part was used as a gallery, the hall roof would be above fifty feet long. In the east wall a door opens into the withdrawing room ; and from another door a mural passage leads into a garderobe common to the two rooms, and marked in the court by a broad buttress.
The withdrawing room, eighteen feet, seven inches, by twenty-three feet, ten inches, is the ground floor of a square block, having below it a cellar; and above it, two floors and a roof, probably with four gables. In its west wall is a fireplace. To the south seems to have been a large window. In the north wall is a loop, once opening to the field, but now into an added room ; and a door leading to offices.
The east or exterior wall has two openings: one, a window of two lights; the other a lancet-arched doorway, of three feet two inches opening, which formed an exterior door of six feet ten inches opening, with a flat, segmental arch long closed up. The cill of this door is eight feet from the ground, and below it is a broad, flat buttress, a flaw in which shews that it covers a recess in the cellar walls. This seems to have been a postern, and probably was provided with movable steps. The cellar below is filled with rubbish. It does not seem to have been vaulted. It has two large doors in the south wall, nearly buried, but which have a Decorated aspect. The upper rooms are not accessible, the floors being wanting
It is not clear for what the northern buildings were intended. They are gloomy, with walls three feet nine inches thick; and seem, at the ground-floor, to have been built for offices. One contains a garderobe, and
near it a water-drain. The upper stories were, no doubt, bedrooms,
The still-room, nine feet by fifteen feet, opens on the north side of the hall, and has an exterior door leading towards the kitchen, This room seems to be an addition, as two windows look into it.
Next, east of the still-room, is a small room, twelve feet by fifteen feet, opening also from the withdrawing room. It contained a garderobe and a water-drain in its north wall. To the east it has a loop; and against that side is a later building, thirteen feet square, the cellar floor of which has a vaulted roof. All the rooms except the hall had first and second floors, no doubt containing bedrooms.
The kitchen was a detached building, ten feet north of the hall, and twenty-five feet by twenty-eight feet, outside dimensions. A large fireplace, eleven feet broad, and an oven, remain in its west wall. Between it and the main building intervenes a flight of steps descending eastwards from the high ground.
The dovecote is a square tower, of twenty feet each side, and of two stages. The basement, paved with lime cement, has a door on the south side. The door of the upper floor is on the east side, approached by an exterior stone stair. The two chambers contain about two hundred pigeon-holes, seven inches square and twenty-one inches deep.
The chapel, forty-four feet by nineteen feet, outside, has walls three feet thick, and ten to twelve feet high, with a parapet of slight projection. There was an east and a west window (the latter higher up in the wall), and a north door, the ashlar of which is gone, but which had a slightly drop-arch. Near the east end are north and south windows; and east of the latter a lancetpiscina, of which the drain remains. The bellcote from the west gable is said to be now over the stables at Fonmon.
On the west side of the court is a building, fifty-nine feet by twenty-four feet, with walls three feet thick, now
3RD SER., VOL, XV.