Graiglwyd Hall, Penmaenmawr

button-theme-powGraiglwyd Hall, Penmaenmawr

Graiglwyd (or Craiglwyd) Hall was built in the 1890s as a home for Henry Kneeshaw, whose father Richard had previously owned the nearby Graiglwyd granite sett quarry. Y Graiglwyd means “the grey rock” – the definite article (“Y”) is omitted but implied when Craiglwyd is mutated to Graiglwyd.

Old photo of school party at Graiglwyd HallIt’s said that Richard Kneeshaw’s initial wealth came his time as a ship’s captain, when his cargoes included slaves. The family also co-owned a limestone quarry at Llanddulas. Henry and his wife Margaret were generous benefactors, giving annually to the deserving poor and widows of Penmaenmawr and supporting the National School. In 1900 Henry co-founded a shooting range in Cwm Graiglwyd for local volunteers in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

During the First World War, the Graiglwyd Hall grounds were occupied by around 150 Austrian and German prisoners of war who had been brought to Penmaenmawr to work in the quarries. While many local men were serving in the armed forces, there was a shortage of labour – a gap the prisoners filled. This was not universally popular, and the quarrymen’s union initially raised objections. To access the quarry a track – still known by some as the “German Prisoner’s Path” – was formed directly from Graiglwyd Hall.

When news of Germany’s defeat reached the quarries in November 1918, some of the German prisoners were dejected but others cheered loudly! The internees were later taken to Deganwy to back-fill practice trenches that the Royal Engineers had dug and to dismantle the Engineers’ camp.

The old photo shows girls on a school trip to the hall in the 1920s or 1930s. As the Second World War began, Knotley Hall School for Boys was evacuated here from Chiddingstone Causeway, near Tonbridge, in Kent.

After an American bomber crashed onto the hills above Penmaenmawr in January 1944, the badly injured pilot, Lieutenant Adrian Schultz, stumbled down the mountainside and was treated by the village doctor on the hall floor at Graiglwyd Hall. He returned many years later, viewed the house and attended a ceremony at the crash site.

There has been a caravan park here since the 1960s – follow the link below for details.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, Llandudno, and to Tony Hughes

Postcode: LL34 6ER    View Location Map

Website of Craiglwyd Hall caravan park