Bodrhyddan Hall
Bodrhyddan Hall
A 17th century red brick house on much older foundations, Bodrhyddan is the home of Lord Langford, whose family have inhabited Bodrhyddan for over 500 years. There has been a house here since the 14th century, but the present building is largely 17th century with Victoria additions. On display is period furniture, armour, and an unusual 3000 year old mummy!
History
Bodrhyddan has been in the hands of the Conwy family for over 500 years and is among the few Grade I listed houses in Wales to be still in private hands. The first house here was erected in the medieval period, possibly as early as the 14th century, and was built of timber with wattle and daub infill. This was replaced in the 15th century by a stone manor.

The elegant building we see today was designed in the 17th century, and then extended by William Eden Nesfield in the 1870s. Nesfield 'turned' the house on its axis, creating a mile-long drive to nearby Rhuddlan and making a new entrance facade facing west, in lovely Queen Anne Revival style. The old front door then became the garden entrance.

A garden summerhouse
A garden summerhouse
The Gardens
Surrounding the house are a mix of formal and informal gardens. The parterre close to the house were designed by architect William Nesfield during his Victorian remodelling of the house. However, the oldest parts of the park were laid out in the early 17th century, possibly with help from Inigo Jones. There are yew paths and woodland walks, a walled kitchen garden, and several small ponds, creating a wonderful mix of pretty period features.

The Holy Well
In the grounds is St Mary's Well, an ancient holy well located beside the entrance drive to the house. There is an odd well-head with an octagonal roof and seating a pool. From the pool the water flows into a stone-lined bathing pond. We don't know how old the well is, but it appears in records as early as 1699. An inscription attributes the well-head to Inigo Jones, the famous society architect who worked in the early 17th century, but the inscription and style of stonework appears much later. It is, however, quite possible that Jones helped design the Bodrhyddan gardens around 1612 and the inscription was added at a later date.

A bench beside a garden pond
A bench beside a garden pond
Visiting
Bodrhyddan primarily markets itself as a wedding and group venue, so regular visitor openings tend to be limited to a few afternoons a week during the summer months. If you can time your visit for those opening times, however, the result is an extremely enjoyable one! The house is simply wonderful, and it is such a thrill to see an historic house like this still in private hands and used as a family home. Access is only by guided tour, which lasts about 1 hour and focuses on the Victorian parts of the interior, with stories about the family members and the objects they brought back to Bodrhyddan from their travels. Among the collections on display are quite a large array of armour, some of it dating to the medieval period.

The 8 acres of gardens are extremely pretty, a wonderful mix of formal beds near the house and more informal grounds further out. You can visit the gardens alone or get a joint toicket for gardens and house. I would highly recommmend the latter! I very much enjoyed visiting and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Bodrhyddan.

Garden topiary
Topiary in the garden
The Victorian parterre
The Victorian parterre
A quiet corner of the garden
A quiet corner of the garden

Garden: Formal Victorian garden and parterre, with pleasure grounds, a 17th century cold bath, and a woodland walk.