Erskine Arms, Conwy

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Former Erskine Hotel, Rosehill Street, Conwy

In 1859 the novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë stayed here with her husband, who recalled decades later that it had been a pleasant place to stay. In the 19th century, the building was known at various times as the Erskine Family Hotel or other titles involving “Erskine”.

The Erskine family of Colwyn Bay were major landowners in the area. The Dowager Lady Erskine was known for her philanthropy. During hard winter weather in 1864, for example, she gave £20 of coal to the poor of Conwy and Llandrillo-yn-Rhos. She was also the main supporter of the Conway Clothing Club, which helped to provide clothes to poor and elderly people.

The Erskine Hotel was enlarged in the late 19th century. It has an unusual acute-angled corner where the northern gable joins the frontage. 

Mr R Roberts, landlord of the Erskine Hotel, was one of the first people to fall foul of the Welsh Sunday Closing Act 1881, which outlawed the sale of alcohol on Sundays to anyone except travellers who had journeyed more than a certain distance before stopping at a hostelry. In September 1881 Mr Roberts was fined £5 after police officer Williams discovered a couple of drunks at the Erskine who did not appear to be genuine travellers.

In 1897 the Canadian Government appointed an agent for Wales, Mr Griffith, whose address was the Erskine Arms Hotel. His job was to inform potential emigrants of the “advantages offered by the different Provinces of Canada”. He hailed from Bangor and had lived in Canada for 15 years.

The Erskine Hotel kept its own stables into the early 20th century, when it would supply horses to pull Conwy’s new fire engine as required. Horse sales were often held in the Erskine Hotel yard. In 1907, buyers travelled from as far afield as the Midlands to buy some of the 55 “useful harness horses and cobs” which were for sale. Horse-drawn vehicles and harnesses also featured in the sales. The Conway Horse Show Society held its committee meetings and dinners at the Erskine.

During a livestock fair in 1899, a young heifer wandered into the hotel, walked around the billiard table and even climbed the stairs to the first landing before being shooed out!

The building was a pub called the Malt Loaf for many years until it was fully refurbished in 2016 and renamed the Erskine Arms.

Postcode: LL32 8LD    View Location Map

Website of the Erskine Arms