Bodrhyddan Hall, near Rhuddlan
Bodrhyddan Hall stands within the estate walls north of the A5151. It’s the home of Lord Langford and his family, and has remained in the same family since it was built more than 500 years ago. It is one of the few Grade 1-listed buildings in Wales to have remained in private hands. A house has stood on this site for at least 700 years, the first dwelling being of timber or wattle and daub. Some parts of a 15th-century stone building still exist but the current house dates mainly from the 17th-century, when the entrance faced south.
In the 19th century, the architect William Eden Nesfield enlarged the house and rotated its axis, making a new west-facing entrance façade in Queen Anne Revival style. A new 1.5km-long (one mile) drive led to this entrance from Rhuddlan. Within the house are notable pieces of armour, pictures, period furniture and a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy.
Bodrhyddan has been home to the Conwy (or Conway) family for centuries. One remarkable member of the family was Sir Hugh Conway, who served Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, during the Wars of the Roses. Risking severe punishment from the Yorkist regime of King Richard III, Sir Hugh carried information and money from mother to son when Henry was in exile in Brittany. Clandestine plans were being made in Wales and England for Henry to replace Richard III and unite the houses of Lancaster and York. Having taken the throne in 1485, King Henry VII rewarded Sir Hugh, making him Treasurer of Calais in 1504.
Bodrhyddan’s grounds boast a Victorian parterre – a formal garden with geometric shapes – designed by the landscape architect William Andrews Nesfield, father of WE Nesfield. St Mary’s Well, in the gardens, was enclosed in 1612. The roof over the spring is topped with a carved pelican, reputedly by the great architect Inigo Jones.
Old features of the grounds have been restored since the 1980s, including the Pleasance – a secluded garden – and the site of 15th-century fishponds. A Victorian animal trough, originally in Rhyl, was moved to Bodrhyddan in 1973 – click here for the HistoryPoints page about it.
Bodrhyddan Hall and gardens are open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from June to September, and by appointment at any time of year for groups. It is a licensed wedding venue.
With thanks to Ruth Pritchard, of Rhyl History Club
Postcode: LL18 5SB View Location Map