Tower Coffee House
Tower Coffee House, Castle Square, Conwy
Most of the 21 towers along Conwy’s town walls are open ruins, as you can see when you follow the wall walks. This tower, on the north side of Castle Square, has long since been given a roof to create a cosy circular room. Inside, a wooden staircase leads down to the ground-floor level.
Originally this was the Postern Gate Tower, because it overlooked the postern gate, a small, almost hidden, subsidiary entrance to the walled town. Today this entrance is a convenient pedestrian route between the quay and Castle Square.
The tower was used as a Roman Catholic church before St Michael’s Church, in Rosemary Lane, was opened in 1915.
In the first half of the 20th century the room in the tower was used by the solicitor’s practice which was based in next-door Vardre Hall (now the Knight Shop). Conwy historian Betty Pattinson, who worked at the practice, recalls that after the Second World War people used to walk up the stone steps to pay child maintenance in the tower. Amid the social upheaval of wartime, marriages had broken down or children had been born out of wedlock. A Mrs Stewart collected the maintenance payments.
The tower is said to be haunted by a mischievous but friendly ghost who likes to play tricks with locks and keys. Lindsey Baines, proprietor of the Tower Coffee House, says that in July 2009 she photographed a wave-like form floating in the room after closing time, recorded as a milky orb by the camera. A family had previously captured a similar image on their digital camera while visiting the downstairs area inside the tower.
With thanks to Betty Pattinson and Llew Groom of Aberconwy Historical Society
Postcode: LL32 8AY