Murray Gladstone’s former home
Murray Gladstone’s former home, Noddfa, Conwy Old Road
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone first came to Penmaenmawr in 1855 and was delighted by the town’s quiet charms. Five years later his first cousin Murray Gladstone built a country mansion on the outskirts of Pencae, Penmaenmawr. He spent what would be £1m in today’s money to build house and buy out local farms to create his country estate. The house was called Tan y Foel because of its location at the foot of the hill called Foel Lus (Bilberry Mountain). Tan = beneath.
Today it is called Noddfa,which means a place of refuge and peace. It is owned by the sisters of the Sacred Order of Mary in Penmaenmawr, and is primarily a respite centre for carers.
Murray Gladstone was a Manchester businessman who made his fortune in the Anglo-Indian textile trade. Tan y Foel was built as a country home with tennis courts, a nearby golf course and elegant gardens overlooking Liverpool Bay. He was able to modify the nearby road system to ensure a “better layout” for his holiday home!
He died tragically on the beach on Monday night the 23 August 1875. He allegedly suffocated in the shallow water after slipping off the rocks. It is alleged he had a few enemies in the locality, so maybe this is another mystery on the shores of Penmaenmawr: did he fall or was he killed? He was buried at St Gwynan’s Cemetery. His funeral was attended by WE Gladstone.
The house was then owned by the Owen Owen family, who were major retailers in North-west England and later Canada. They built more houses in Penmaenmawr and helped to fund the building of the Institute on Conwy Road. Local family connections remain in North Wales and elsewhere through the Cemlyn Jones family.
With thanks to David Bathers and Dennis Roberts, of Penmaenmawr Historical Society
Postcode: LL34 6YF