Plas y Dduallt, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Plas y Dduallt
The beams of the oldest part of this house were felled between 1559 and 1565. The front part of the house was added in 1605. It was built for the Llwyd (Lloyd) family, minor nobles tracing their descent from Llywelyn the Great (Llywelyn Fawr), the first Prince of Wales. There are stories that during the Civil War it was the Parliamentarians’ base for their siege of Harlech.
Family fortunes declined and by 1841 the house was split into three units, home to 15 people including a tenant farmer and a railway foreman. Dduallt was at the centre of a farm covering 2.4sq km (600 acres), where 52 people lived in this and four other houses. By the 2011 census, there were only five inhabitants!
It was part of the Tan-y-Bwlch estate from 1920 until an auction in 1962, when it was bought by retired Black Watch colonel Andrew Campbell (1911-1982). He brought Plas y Dduallt back from the brink of dereliction. The balcony with arrow slits at the front is his embellishment.
When he moved in, there was no driveway up the steep hill. The Ffestiniog Railway gave him access to the disused track on the hillside behind the house, where he built a small station platform. He would leave his car at Tan-y-Bwlch station, drive his own locomotive up the line and park on a private siding by the platform. He would send his shopping down to the house on an aerial hoist. The hoist and siding have gone but the platform remains, now called Campbell’s Platform.
Col Campbell allowed volunteers who were rebuilding the FR to Blaenau Ffestiniog to stay in his old farm buildings; they called the facilities “Dduallt Mess”.
Plas y Dduallt is now a private house and holiday cottage for four. Please enjoy the view of it from the footpath. There’s no public right of way to Campbell’s Platform.
With thanks to Huw Jenkins, of the Snowdonia Society
Website of Campbell’s Cottage – including more history of the property