Plas Dinas, Bontnewydd

Plas Dinas, Bontnewydd

Plas Dinas, now a guesthouse, is an ancient mansion with connections to the royal family. It stands west of the Lôn Las Eifion traffic-free path and the Welsh Highland Railway – the bridge over the cutting here carries Plas Dinas’ drive.

Portrait of Sir Owen RobertsThe mansion’s oldest part dates from the early 17th century. The building was enlarged in 1653, according to a plaque found at the property. The plaque bears the initials of Thomas and Jane Williams. His father, Sir Thomas Williams, was briefly Sheriff of Caernarvonshire. Surviving 17th-century features include a large fireplace which takes up the entire west wall of the Gun Room.

The house was enlarged in Victorian times. It was home to Owen Roberts, land agent to the wealthy Assheton Smith family of Faenol, near Bangor. In the early 20th century his son, Sir Owen Roberts, lived at Plas Dinas and at Henley Park, Guildford. Sir Owen (pictured right), a barrister, was High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1901. He was a pioneer of technical education and argued for more support for women to attend universities, particularly to study sciences. He also aided the development of textile industries in Yorkshire, and made substantial gifts to his old school in Bontnewydd.

On his death, aged 79, in 1915, Plas Dinas passed to his daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Armstrong-Jones. Her husband Robert was a lecturer in psychological medicine in Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. He advised the army on mental health and was an honorary Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In 1961 the couple’s grandson, Antony Armstrong-Jones, married Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Better known as Lord Snowdon, he was a renowned photographer of celebrities. He was also a designer, and helped to organise Prince Charles’ 1969 investiture ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. He had been the castle’s constable since 1963.  He and Princess Margaret often stayed at Plas Dinas. During her first stay, in May 1962, she officially opened the Ferodo factory north of Caernarfon and visited Dinorwig slate quarry.

At the entrance to the drive is Plas Dinas lodge. The field across the drive from the lodge hosted a prisoner of war camp in the 1940s.

Postcode: LL54 7YF    View Location Map

Website of Plas Dinas