Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd, Talsarnau
The earliest deeds to this property, from the mid-14th century, name it as Tyddyn y Doctor (“the doctor’s smallholding”). Soon afterwards it was named Maes-y-Neuadd (“field of the hall”).
The house was then owned by descendants of Osborne Wyddel, an Irishman of Anglo-Norman ancestry who was granted land in this area as a reward by Llywelyn Fawr, Prince of Wales. Later descendants took the surname Wynn, which for centuries denoted one of North Wales’ main landowning families.
Maes-y-Neuadd estate expanded greatly, to cover a large swathe of southern Gwynedd. The house was enlarged several times. Stable blocks were added in the 18th century along with a new wing, which now houses the hotel’s restaurant. In 1782 Robert Wynn, heir to Maes-y-Neuadd, was disinherited by his father for running up debts through gambling. He became a captain in India with the private army of the East India Company.
From 1838 to 1859 there was legal action for the title to the house and its estates. One plaintiff tried in vain to prove that a crucial entry in a birth registry from Madras, India, had been changed to read “illegitimate” instead of “legitimate”.
Tenants of the house in the 20th century included the landscape painter Sir William Nicholson and his family. One of his children was Ben Nicholson, one of Britain’s earliest abstract painters. Another was Nancy Nicholson, who became a noted painter and textile designer and married the poet Robert Graves. The couple stayed many times at Maes-y-Neuadd, which Graves declared a “much haunted house”.
The building left the Wynn family in the late 1950s and was converted to an hotel. Today it is a 15-bedroom country house hotel set in 61,000 square metres (15 acres) of gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown for the hotel’s kitchen.
Postcode: LL47 6YA