The Old Mansion House, Conwy

Link to French translationThe Old Mansion House, High Street, Conwy

This building was erected in the 16th century. The section on the left is still a residence – please respect the occupants’ privacy.

Notice how the upper part of the frontage bends outwards in the centre, where the ancient timber frames have distorted slightly. The interior features an original fireplace.

The building was extended, probably in the 17th century, with the addition of a rear wing. A large fireplace with a timber lintel survives in this wing. The shop now occupied by Tenovus was created in one half of the ground floor by 1834.

The Old Mansion House stands next to the gatehouse of Plas Mawr, the large townhouse built by Robert Wynn (1520-1598). Local historian Margaret Williams, who lived at the Old Mansion House, wrote that the property was once the Plas Mawr dower house (where the widow of Plas Mawr’s previous owner would have lived when the next generation took over).

Conwy historian Llew Groom, who was a volunteer at Plas Mawr for many years, believes that the Old Mansion House was the dower house of the Buckley family, another affluent family in the area.

In the 19th century Plas Mawr was what would now be termed a “house in multiple occupation”. The residents included the family of Margaret Williams’ great grandfather, who was paying an annual rent of £5 in 1877. Later he moved his family, including nine children, to the Old Mansion House. His descendants have lived here ever since.

Margaret was a popular character in Conwy. She owned the Smallest House, where she was photographed in her Welsh costume by countless visitors. She was a Jackdaw – the name given to anyone born within Conwy’s town walls. She wrote for many magazines and newspapers, including covering fashion shows in Paris. In her later years she wrote children’s stories set in Conwy and several books including Ghosts of Conwy. She died, aged 83, in January 2015. Our page about her grave is here.

With thanks to Ray Castle

Postcode: LL32 8NS    View Location Map