12 Nov 2012

Plas Newydd (New Hall), Llangollen, N. Wales (1)

Llangollen: the River Dee and  corn mill  taken from the town bridge
During our recent trip by coach to North Wales we were taken to Llangollen, Denbighshire which is probably most well-known for hosting the International Music Festival (Eisteddford). This is now held in a permanent building, the Royal Pavilion, where all-year events take place.  You can read about Llangollen and places of interest nearby here.

As usual, our time was limited to an afternoon and so we chose to take a walk out of town to visit Plas Newydd; the house and garden which had once been the home of 'the Ladies of Llangollen'
The two ladies, Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, were both of Irish aristocratic descent. Their close friendship caused them to leave Ireland to escape from unwanted suitors and start a new life in Llangollen in 1778 where they lived together with their maid, Mrs Mary Caryll, for almost 50 years.

The house and garden is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and with the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey, Valle Crucis, nearby and dramatic views of the ruins of a 13th century castle, Castell Dinas Bran on the hillside above the ladies attracted the attention of many well-known personalities of Regency society such as the Duke of Wellington, William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott who came to visit them.

Originally Plas Newydd was a small cottage, but the women soon started to make alterations and additions to the building in the Gothic style.  The interior was decorated with oak carving and  stained glass was inserted into oriel windows.  Visitors brought gifts that formed a collection of antiquarian objects;  pictures, wooden panels and furnishings, many of which would have come from 18th century churches that were being remodelled and upgraded in a different style and, therefore, discarded.

Unfortunately, there wasn't time to look around the interior of the house as the walk uphill took quite a time. Also photography is not allowed inside the house. After a cup of tea in the stable block I left my husband there and went over to the house to look at the carving on the exterior and walk around the formal gardens in front of it (created after the Ladies' life-time).  Then I wandered off into the informal area of the grounds that Lady Eleanor and Miss Ponsonby would have designed and cultivated and which would have delighted their guests.

Plas Newydd with a view of Castell Dinas Bran on the hill

The nearby Valle Crucis Abbey
Our driver stopped so that we could take a look at the ruins from the coach window!
The stable block tea room and shop

Stone carvings of the three ladies are incorporated into the archway.  

It was very appropriate to see the resident cat
as there's a painting of the ladies' pet cats
hanging in the house. I bought a poster of it
since I didn't see the real one.

I will write some more about Plas Newydd next time.  I hope you will click onto the links
to read more about Llangollen.  


  1. Lovely photos, Linda. The Ladies of Llangollen are fascinating, aren't they?

    Sorry to hear you have eyesight problems. M cataracts are getting worse and I have to magnify the text on the screen quite considerably nowadays to read and write comfortably.

  2. i love the abbey, the cups and the umbrella through the arch. all of them are wonderful but those are my top 3 pics today. sorry to hear you are having eyesight problems. that is the one good thing about my kindle e reader, i can make the print as big as i need to.

  3. Somewhere we need to explore sometime having read your post, sorry to hear you are having eye sight issues though. Take Care.

  4. Sounds like a lovely day out. I love Llangollen too. The scenery is beautiful. I have visited Valle Crucis, but a long time ago.

  5. Oh, I shall check out the links. I love the stories of single ladies avoiding unsuitable suitors...I recently rented a movie on Netflix about that very thing and now, suddenly, I can't remember the name of the movie. A young man washed ashore and one of the old ladies fell in love with him, which, of course, was never to be.

  6. I enjoyed reading about this beautiful place. How I would love visiting there and having tea. It looks like walking the grounds would have been very peaceful.

  7. Thank you for your introduction to this beautiful place. I enjoyed your photos and the history you've given. Those three women sound like very remarkable individuals.

  8. Very nice.... I always enjoy your photos --and the history you give. I'd love to visit there sometime... That Abbey is awesome...

  9. Such unique scenes and history. Those twisted tree branch fences are fascinating.