Friday, 19 October 2012

Last Weekend

we went to Wales for a long weekend just the two of us. We were near Llandudno and went on a Warners Break to Bodelwyddan Castle.


Bodelwyddan Castle, close to the village of Bodelwyddan, near Rhyl, Denbighshire in Wales, was built around 1460 by the Humphreys family of Anglesey as a manor house. Its most important association was with the Williams-Wynn family, which extended for around 200 years from 1690. It is now a Grade II* Listed Building.[1]

Bodelwyddan Castle
The castle was bought from the Humphreys by Sir William Williams, Speaker in the House of Commons from 1680-1681.[2] The castle which stands today was reconstructed between 1830 and 1852 by Sir John Hay Williams, who employed the architects Joseph Hansom (inventor of the Hansom cab) and Edward Welch to refurbish and extend the house, though the Williams' family fortunes had started to decline since the 1850s, due to the loss of the main source of income for the estate, lead mining. The castle has been described as one of Hansom's most ambitious projects, "being wildly dramatic and owing nothing to its predecessors".[3] At the same time works were carried out to construct an estate wall and formal gardens.
Further refurbishment work was carried out in the 1880s by Sir Herbert, 7th Baronet, who inherited Bodelwyddan Castle from his heirless cousin.By the First World War the house had become a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers. During this time, the grounds of the estate were used by soldiers based at the nearby Kinmel Camp for trench warfare training.[4] Traces of these trenches can still be seen.
By 1920, the cost of maintaining the castle and estate had grown too burdensome, and the Williams-Wynn family leased Bodelwyddlan to Lowther College, a girls private school.
Lowther College
In 1920, the house became a private school for girls, Lowther College. The school was formed in 1896 at Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire, by Mrs Florence Morris (later Lindley).[5] The school originally moved to Bodelwyddan as tenants of the Williams family, however Lowther College purchased the property five years later, in 1925.[3]
The school is thought to be one of the first private schools for girls to have its own swimming pool. It also had a private golf course. The Lowther College Tableaux were well regarded within the community for their musical excellence.
Boys were admitted from 1977. The school closed in 1982 due to financial problems.[6]
Museum and Arts Centre
In the 1980s, the site was bought by Clwyd County Council with the aim of developing the castle as a visitor attraction. Partnerships were formed with several prominent museums and art galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, so that the castle could be used to display objects from these collections. In order to house these items, the interior of the castle was restored by Roderick Gradidge, an expert on Victorian architecture.
Part of the site was leased to the Rank Organisation in 1994 for development into a luxury hotel - Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel [7] and this use remains today. The historic house and grounds are not part of the hotel but are managed by an independent trust and are open to the public.

Gardens

The castle is set within a large area of parkland, and formal gardens, the most recent of which was originally designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1910.[9]
The castle structure seen today is mostly a Victorian facade, but that covers a core that is believed to date back to the 13th century. Archaeologists have found Roman remains on the site, and suspect they relate to a settlement adjacent to the nearby Roman road.
The castle has a distant view of Rhuddlan Castle and St. Asaph Cathedral—which was damaged in the 15th century by both the English armies and the Welsh Owain Glyndŵr's forces. However, the Bishop was sympathetic to Owain's men, whilst he excommunicated the English.

Although there were certain aspects of the hotel that could be improved on we had a lovely break. Enjoyed being waited on, no chores to do and no driving unless we wanted to. We did miss the sound of childrens voices though ( Warners are adults only) we visited the museum ( the house) and enjoyed seeing/hearing the children that were there.



A view from the gardens - this was on the Friday afternoon after we had arrived and went for a walk around.

Saw this little specimen as we were strolling around.




After breakfast on Sunday we went a walk to St Margaret's Church which was nearby and apparently building was funded by the Williams familyand the girls of Lowther Girls School worshipped at.

Photograph of one of the stained glass windows- but it didn't turn out very well.


Lovely flower arrangements in the church.
Anyway we enjoyed our weekend away. Back soon Anne x

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tour of such historic places and buildings! Thanks for sharing! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  2. Ohhh...to visit a castle...and imagine trying to live in one! Rather overwhelming when one just wants to live in a little cabin near the ocean :) Thanks for sharing your trip. [I join you in thanking God that your son is ok after falling through the ceiling!!!!!!!] xx from Gracie

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  3. Thankyou both for your kind comments. I wouldn't want to live there either Gracie- far too big and expensive. I'm quite happy with my modest home that is cosy. Would like it to be near the sea but we can't have everything we want can we and I am very lucky in so many other ways. love Anne x

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