Former Union Tavern, Llanrwst

Link to French translationFormer Union Tavern, Bridge Street, Llanrwst

This building dates from c.1598. Much of the centre of Llanrwst, including Ancaster Square, was laid out and rebuilt during the period of calm and prosperity that followed the end of the Wars of the Roses. It flourished as an hotel after 1780, when London to Holyhead coaches began travelling through Llanrwst.

In the 19th century the Union Tavern included the building next door to this one (to the north) and boasted 17 bedrooms. Women and girls were not allowed into the bar until licensing laws were amended in 1917. Instead, female guests sat on the staircase beside the door connecting the bar room to the rest of the building. Sometimes they paid boys – who were allowed to drink small beer in the bar – a farthing to fetch chamber pots (bowls used as toilets in bedrooms) from the bar.

The building was known as the Cornucopia Court Hotel before the present owners took over in 1993. They established an antiques shop and café called Pickwick’s. During renovation in 2003, a well was discovered beneath a concrete slab. The well is thought to date from medieval times. Its stonework has remained in good order despite many decades or centuries without maintenance. Visitors can view the well by entering the courtyard through the passage on the right, when the premises are open to the public.

Wesleyan missionaries used the courtyard from 1790 for recruitment. In 1802 two well-known missionaries visited Llanrwst, staying at the New Inn. Local man Edward Jones recorded in his diary that the town crier announced that preaching would start at 7pm. “A large crowd collected in the yard of the Union Tavern. After a very successful service in the open air, people begged them to come back. A William Jones, Flax Dresser, told the meeting the speakers were dressed in the clothes of two men hanged a few days earlier in Ruthin jail. He obviously overcame his disgust and became a convert and member of the first Wesleyan society.” This society met in the Denbigh Street house of Mrs Lloyd Anwyl.

Postcode: LL26 0ET    View Location Map

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