Penrhyn Old Hall, Penrhyn Bay
This building, now a pub and restaurant, is mostly a Tudor mansion, but some parts are even older. It’s thought that a royal palace was built here in the 8th century, and an official document from the mid-16th century refers to Plas Penrhyn as an ancient stone house.
The oldest Tudor section is the south-west wing, dating from the early 16th century. Sections of the earlier building were incorporated here and in the central section, and some features were recycled for the new structures. Some of the 16th-century wall paintings survive.
The north-east wing, originally a separate building, dates from the late 16th century. The house was then owned by the Pugh family, who sheltered Catholic priests when Protestantism was the sole permitted religion. Clandestine services were conducted in the chapel outside (now derelict). The fireplace in the Tudor Bar hides a “priest hole”, where priests would hide if the premises were searched.
Robert Pugh and a local Catholic priest called William Davies fled for their lives to the Little Orme at one point. While living in a cave there, they smuggled in a printing press and published Wales’ first book. They evaded capture when their hideaway was discovered in 1587 but were arrested in 1592 at Holyhead. Robert Pugh escaped but William Davies was convicted of being a Catholic priest and hanged, drawn and quartered in Beaumaris. Much later, a withered hand – possibly cut from Davies’ body – was found in a hidden case at Plas Penrhyn. The Pope beatified William Davies in 1987.
From the mid-18th century, Plas Penrhyn was a farmhouse and gradually decayed. In 1915, its owner died when the liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine. The next owner converted it back to a private house, making various alterations such as enlarging the windows.
Ghosts reportedly seen at Penrhyn Old Hall include those of a monk, a boy who sprinkles salt on the tables, a soldier and a young girl from the Pugh family who’s said to have been murdered by her sisters to stop her marrying a non-Catholic.
Postcode: LL30 3EE View Location Map