Bron Hendre, Caernarfon

Link to Welsh translation

When an Anglican priest had this house built, he ensured it was sturdy enough to be still here when he returned after his reincarnation! Today it’s occupied by the Derwen integrated care service – please don’t enter the grounds.

Rev James Hews Bransby moved to Caernarfon in 1829. He was a well-off Englishman who fled from Dudley, where he was a church minister, after a scandal involving a savings bank. He held shares in a Meirionnydd copper mine. In 1836 he founded The Grammar and Collegiate School across the road from Bron Hendre, where some of the pupils boarded. He was the Carnarvon Herald’s first editor. He died suddenly in 1847 while teaching at the school.

He was said to be learned and broad-minded, a zealous Churchman but also a believer in reincarnation. He expected that when he returned in his next life, he would live again at Bron Hendre. He reputedly insisted that the house be built from the best possible materials, with iron bolts reinforcing the joints between stones, so that it would still be standing in his next life.

Photo of silent piano-practice keyboard from Bron HendreIn the early 20th century Bron Hendre was home to the musical family of Charles Alfred Jones, a solicitor based at Plas Bowman. His wife Catherine Anne owned the silent piano-practice keyboard pictured here (courtesy of David Alexander). The lower photo shows her name and address on the underside. Charles chaired the music committee for the National Eisteddfod’s visit to Caernarfon in 1894.

The couple’s third daughter, Alice, passed the Royal Academy of Music exam in 1903, having been taught by her mother and Mr Lewis Jones, master of the grammar school. In 1902 the “Misses Jones” of Bron Hendre entertained paupers at Caernarfon workhouse by playing various musical instruments.

Alice often played the piano and cello at local events, sometimes accompanying singers or instrumentalists. In July 1917 she performed at a recital in Christ Church given by organist Captain CA St George Moore of the Royal Engineers. Alice married him in March 1918.

With thanks to Dr Hazel Pierce and David Alexander

Postcode: LL55 2HP    View Location Map