Footnotes Vardre Hall, Conwy

Vardre Hall, Castle Square, Conwy

This three-storey building, also known as Plas Vardre, occupies a prominent position, facing the Castle over Castle Square. A document from 1859 states that William Edward FitzMaurice had lately erected a substantial dwelling house called Plas Vardre. It was probably built on land leased from the Dowager Lady Jane Silence Erskine and her eldest son. William FitzMaurice was Conservative MP for Buckinghamshire in the 1840s

An 1868 directory shows that solicitor William Jones was then using Plas Vardre as his home and office. He bought the building in 1869. It continued to be used by solicitors, notably Porter & Co., until 1972, when it was bought by the Duncalf family who turned the ground floor into The Towers Restaurant. Porter & Co. also used what is now Tower Coffee House, next door.

Plas Vardre was put up for sale in 1994. It lay empty for until 2001, when it was acquired by Bryan Tunstall for his new business called Knights Gone By, selling replica swords and related items. The business expanded rapidly through internet shopping, now handled from an industrial unit in Mochdre while the shop at Vardre Hall continues to trade as The Knight Shop. The upper floors are residential apartments.

There have been tales of a ghost from the Civil War prowling inside, which would be a haunting of the site itself since Vardre Hall did not exist during that conflict (1642-51)! Conwy did get caught up in the Civil War. In 1646 the walled town was captured by Parliamentarians, who then took the Castle after laying siege to the Royalists inside for several months.

With thanks to Ray Castl, and to Betty Pattinson of Aberconwy Historical Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL32 8AY

Website of The Knight Shop

Footnotes: Recollections of the 1940s

Conwy historian Betty Pattinson worked at Vardre Hall as a book keeper for J D Porter, known to his employees as “Mr Douglas”, in the 1940s. She collected rents for many Conwy houses. Mr Porter was clerk to the local magistrates. A major client for the practice was the Conway and Colwyn Bay Joint Water Board.

“An old lady, Mrs Davies, told me in the 1940s that her mother used to be the cook when Vardre Hall presumably was a private house. She was getting on for 80 years of age then,” recalls Betty.