Plas Bowman, Caernarfon

Plas Bowman, Caernarfon

This corner house has a plaque with the date 1808 and initials RN. The initials are those of a member of the Nanney family, according to local historian WH Jones in 1881. The Nanneys were influential in Caernarfonshire from the early 18th century. Conservative candidate Ellis Nanney was defeated by David Lloyd George in a byelection in 1890 and was made a baronet in 1897.

On the building’s Church Street façade is a plaque dated 1652. An earlier Plas Bowman on this site belonged to the Corporation of Carnarvon until April 1430, when it was transferred to a Thomas Bowman.

After the 1808 rebuilding, Plas Bowman was used for various purposes. In 1823 Mrs Edwards of Plas Bowman advertised furnished lodgings here, highlighting that they were “contiguous to the baths now erecting” and therefore ideal for “the invalid”. She was referring to the public baths which were about to open in Church Street.

Later in the 19th century the building housed the offices of the County Court (for civil disputes) and the High Court’s district registry. The County Court itself was next door in Church Street, on the site of a mansion called Plas Spicer. Members of the Spicer family were prominent in Caernarfon life. One of them worked in the town’s Exchequer, at the East Gate. His inheritance gave him an annual income of £50. This and his work as a merchant made him a “greate and wealthy man”, according to Sir John Wynne of the Gwydir estate in Llanrwst.

This Spicer had a son named John, who was one of the first Justices of the Peace in the reformed Welsh judicial system introduced under King Henry VIII in the 1530s. Another Spicer is mentioned in records of Caernarfon during the Civil War of the following century.

Plas Bowman was badly damaged by a fire in 1999 and was derelict for several years, until it was restored for residential use.

Postcode: LL55 1RN    View Location Map