Plas Dolerw, Newtown

PWMP logoPlas Dolerw, Newtown

This mansion, originally known as Dolerw, was once owned by flannel maker Pryce Jones (1834-1920), the first person in the world to make his wares available to customers through mail order. There is more about his business on our page about the Royal Welsh Warehouse.

The house was built in 1826 for magistrate William Lutener, who died in 1868. Pryce Jones bought it in 1879 and made some alterations, adding his initials and the date 1882 to some carvings.

Lord Randolph Churchill (father of Winston Churchill) took part in a grand meeting of Conservatives at Dolerw in 1889. Special trains to Newtown were laid on, and thousands of people cheered the guest as he was driven from the railway station to Dolerw.

Pryce Jones changed his name to Pryce Pryce-Jones when he was knighted in 1887. In 1897 he was visited at Dolerw by Henry Morton Stanley MP, famous for “finding” the missionary Dr Livingstone in Africa in 1871. Mr Stanley planted an oak tree in the meadow between the house and river Severn.

The house and its wooded grounds were acquired in 2000 by the Montgomeryshire Community Regeneration Association and opened as a centre for charities, community groups, conferences and business meetings. The mansion retains many original fittings, including wood panelling with carved birds and flowers.

Sir Pryce’s son Albert studied at Cambridge University and was a noted footballer, playing for Wales in 1895. Having emigrated to Canada to run a branch of the Royal Welsh Warehouse, he responded to the First World War’s outbreak by raising the Lethbridge (Calgary) Highlanders, which he later commanded at the Western Front. He was mentioned in dispatches in March 1918.

Albert’s son Reginald (Rex) emigrated to Canada for the same reason. He joined the Canadian Infantry and was mentioned in dispatches. He was killed by a shell in the Somme region of France in November 1916, aged 20.

Sir Pryce also lost a son-in-law in the war. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Macaulay Gillespie of the South Wales Borderers was killed Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. His wife Agnes was Sir Pryce’s youngest daughter. At Dolerw, she organised mitten collections for SWB soldiers.

Alfred Morris, Sir Pryce’s gardener, joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and began his military training in 1916 but died three weeks later of pneumonia, aged 28. He was the only means of support for his widowed mother after the death of his father Richard, coachman to Sir Pryce.

With thanks to Sally Rackham

Postcode: SY16 2EH    View Location Map

Website of Plas Dolerw