Bodfel Hall, Llannor, near Pwllheli
Bodfel Hall was home to many influential people but was originally a mere gatehouse. Sir John Bodvel planned to build himself a large house behind it, but died in 1631 with the work unstarted. His descendants converted the gatehouse into a lavish home.
The Bodfel estate came to prominence after it was enlarged in the 16th century by John Wyn ap Hugh, who had been given Ynys Enlli (Bardsey) and land on the mainland. Suspicions later grew that piracy operations from the island were supported by him. His descendants occupied key local posts and were patrons of poets. Marriage into the powerful Gwydir family of Llanrwst, Conwy Valley, increased the family’s prestige.
Sir John’s son, also named John, was MP for Anglesey before the Civil War, when he was a Royalist army colonel. After the war he fled overseas. After his death in 1663, an inheritance dispute was settled in favour of his grandson Charles – who had to sell Bodfel Hall and other parts of the estate to cover his legal bills!
Bodfel Hall was licensed in the 1670s for dissenting worship. Dissenters opposed the state’s involvement in religion. One of their leaders in Wales, Carmarthenshire-born James Owen, lived at Bodfel for a while. He published religious books in Welsh and English and a book of Welsh hymns, some of which were later given fresh prominence by education reformer Griffith Jones of Carmarthenshire.
Bodfel Hall’s literary connections don’t end there. The house was rented by members of the Salusbury family from the Vale of Clwyd (William Salusbury was the main translator of the first Testament Newydd) when Hester Salusbury was born there in 1740. As Hester Thrale (later Hester Lynch Piozzi), she was a close friend of Samuel Johnson, compiler of the seminal 1755 English dictionary. The anecdotes and letters she published are key sources of historical information about him.
In Victorian times, Bodfel was noted for its Welsh black cattle. An eight-month-old bull belonging to Griffith Roberts of Bodfel won multiple prizes at the 1891 Llŷn and Eifionydd Agricultural Show. Today Bodfel is home to Bodfel Hall Caravan Park.
Postcode: LL53 6DW View Location Map