Bryn Hedd

link_to_welsh_translationBryn Hedd, Conway Road

This large house in Italianate style is one of many along the North Wales coast built for wealthy professionals and businessmen from Cheshire and Manchester. It was named Plas Mariandir, and later Bryn Hedd. The latter name reflected Penmaenmawr’s tranquillity. Bryn = hill. Hedd = peace. The Plas in the original name means hall, or large house. “Marian” has several meanings, including boundary, shingle, scree or moraine. “Tir” = land, mutating to “dir” after “marian”.

Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and his wife stayed here on their first visit to Penmaenmawr. The house was loaned to the Gladstone family for the summer holidays by Dr Harrison of the Chester Infirmary. Chester was close to the Gladstones’ home in Hawarden, Flintshire. They arrived by train on Monday September 3 1855. Gladstone wrote that evening in his diary: “This spot is lovely. We found at our journey`s end a soft and pretty nook under the stern and grand, though not high, mountain; and a healthy and happy party.”

It was reported, after Gladstone’s death, that it was in one of the front rooms here that he drafted his Bill which ended the tax on paper, reducing the price of newspapers and other publications.

In the early 20th century, Plas Mariandir was the country seat of Owen Owen, a Liverpool-based draper who established a chain of stores across Britain and in Canada. In 1907 it became a convalescent home for men, run by a fund based in Manchester and Salford.

With thanks to David Bathers and Dennis Roberts, of Penmaenmawr Historical Society

Postcode: LL34 6BB    View Location Map

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