The Harp Hotel, Corwen

Link to French translationThe Harp Hotel, Corwen

The oldest parts of this inn, once known as Werglodd, may date from the early 17th century, or earlier. The earliest records of it date from 1629. At the time Werglodd was a collection of buildings and was part of the estate of ardent royalist William Salusbury.

Drovers would drink here while moving livestock from Welsh pastures to English markets. In 1896 a pig drover called Samuel Davies, from Bryneglwys, called at the Harp for dinner on fair day. He choked on a piece of meat and was dead within minutes. Doctors couldn’t revive him.

The inn may have been renamed the Harp after a pioneering eisteddfod was held in Corwen in 1789. Eisteddfodau, where poets and other artists competed, had been held in medieval times but the tradition had degenerated into little more than an excuse for drinking sessions in pubs. The 1789 eisteddfod in Corwen began the process of making it a more sober event. Harpists were among those who took part.

The inn hosted many subsequent eisteddfodau. The poet Gwallter Mechain (1761-1849) won his first prize here in the late 18th century. He went on to be an influential figure in London Welsh activities, such as those of the Gwyneddigion Society.

The Harp, with its stabling and yard, was sold to a Mr J Roberts for £1,300 in 1895. In the early 20th century it was acquired by the Ind Coope brewery. In 1914 the local council paid the landlord £1 10s rent for storage of the local water cart.

Part of the Harp site was later bought by the National Provincial Bank, which opened its enlarged Corwen branch building in 1927. It is now the NatWest bank.

On a chimney breast at the back of the Harp is a painting reputedly by the renowned painter Augustus John, depicting Orpheus playing his harp. He travelled to the area in 1931 for the funeral of his friend Dr John Sampson, an academic who studied Romany gypsies.

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Postcode: LL21 0DE

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