Former Black Lion Inn, Conwy


button_lang_welsh link to french translation Button link to Chinese translationBritish Sign Language logo Former Black Lion Inn, 11 Castle Street, Conwy

For a long time, this building was presumed to date from 1589, the year displayed above the front door. But c.2010 a sample taken from one of the roof timbers, on behalf of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, was tested and established that the timber was felled in 1441-42.

The oldest parts of the building date from the period when Conwy was rebuilt following destruction of the walled town in 1401 by the forces of Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndwr. Archaeology has indicated the house was originally an urban two-bay hall house with jointed crucks. The hall house was converted in 1589, when it became a stone-walled storeyed house with hearth passage.

The initials JB and E appear alongside that date above the door. JB was John Brickdall, vicar of Conwy at the time. The house was either the vicarage or his private residence. He was descended from Thomas Brickdall, possible Conwy Castle’s first governor. The wealthy Brickdall family was prominent for several centuries in Conwy. The house was known as Brickdall House until the late 19th century.

The building was remodelled in the 18th century probably for its new use as the Black Lion posting inn, a public house catering for people travelling in horse-drawn coaches.

An outbuilding behind the Black Lion was used at some time for a weekly pig market, held on Monday mornings. The Black Lion has its own well, stone steps up to the town wall behind, and a cellar rumoured to conceal a secret escape tunnel to the quay (beneath the town wall). There are tales that the building is haunted by two spirits, one of them sinister, the other playful and mischievous.

In 1935 the building was bought by electrical engineer William Henry Morgan, who ran his business from an outbuilding in the rear yard which was previously stables. The front of the building was let to tenants who ran a sweetshop. A seasonal teashop opened in 1952 in the “siambr fawr”, the large chamber.

From 1958 the building housed a combined teashop and antiques business. In 2002 it was bought by Ian Hughes, owner of a local car-repair business, who began a restoration. One of his panel beaters created the metal jackdaws that adorn the roof. Anybody born within the walled town is traditionally known as a “jackdaw”.

A new owner, Angharad Jones, completed the building’s renovation for residential use in 2015. See the Footnotes below for details of the building's occupants over the centuries.

With thanks to Ray Castle

Postcode: LL32 8AY    View Location Map

Website of 11 Castle Street - including archaeological reports

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FOOTNOTES: Details of previous occupants

  • John Brickdall lived here 1589 to 1607. He married on 10 May 1578, had at least six children and died in 1607, the year the Black Death decimated Conwy’s population.
  • Hugh Jones of the Black Lion died aged 40, 1789  
  • “Black Lyon” was occupied by Hugh Hughes, 1790  
  • Chief rent for “Brigdale House” was 7s 4d, 1798-1800
  • William Williams was alehouse keeper at the Black Lion, 1801  
  • Edwards Williams (d.1851) named as licensee in directories 1828-35
  • John Davies named as licensee, 1844-51
  • David Roberts named as licensee, 1856-61
  • Another Edward Williams named as licensee, 1868-79
  • Thomas Jones named innkeeper, 1881-90
  • Black Lion bought by Grace Elen Jones for £330, 1890 
  • The 1891 Census lists Thomas Jones, Licensed Victualler, a 9-year-old grand-daughter, a nephew (railway clerk), a daughter (barmaid) and her husband (a pig dealer from Caernarfon), plus two visiting pig-dealers from Macclesfield, Cheshire
  • Property acquired by Ind Coope brewery in 1897
  • Hugh Jones named as licensee, 1911-29
  • W H Morgan, electrical engineer, was operating his business here in 1932 and bought the proprety in 1935. It closed as an inn on 31 March 1935
  • W H Morgan let the front of the building to the Curran family (Irish) for their sweetshop, and to his ex-wife Bessie Jones, who ran a teashop business here from 1952
  • Ann Wilkes-Jones bought the building c.1958. With her parents, she ran an antiques business and teashop, also selling books and gifts, here. The business closed in the late 1970s, leaving the building empty
  • The Wilkes family sold the building to car repairer Ian Hughes in 2002. He began a restoration but family circumstances intervened. He never lived here. One of his employees created the jackdaws on the roof. In 2007 the building was placed on the market with an asking price of £281,500
  • Accountant Angharad Jones bought the building in April 2008