Robert Raikes and the Gothic Revival
Robert Raikes, son of a wealthy Hull banking family, could have chosen many paths for his life. In the 1840s, a young Oxford graduate with a beautiful, well-connected wife, he decided to leave his family home and build a house, church and a school in the small Welsh village of Llangasty.
He did so primarily for religious reasons. Raikes fell under the influence of the Tractarian movement while at Oxford. It was his goal to bring the spirit, ceremony and ritual of the High Anglican Church to Wales which at the time clung to the more austere Methodism preached by John Wesley.
The 24-year old Robert met John Loughborough Pearson, then a young architect, through family connections in Hull. Recognising a kindred religious spirit, Raikes commissioned Pearson to design his new home, as well as a nearby church and school house.
Pearson was a keen admirer of Augustus Pugin, the leading architect of the Gothic Revival. The movement, a reaction against classical architecture, drew its inspiration from the abbeys, fortresses and castles of the medieval period. Developing Pugin's designs and principles, Pearson's work at Treberfydd helped launch his long and distinguished career, primarily as a church architect.
To read the full history of the house prepared for the Welsh Heritage body, Cadw, please click here.