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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 16754

Map Reference SH77NE

Grid Reference SH7808077599

Unitary (Local) Authority Conwy

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Conwy

Type of Site TOWN HOUSE

Broad Class DOMESTIC

Period Post Medieval

Site Description Plas Mawr or the ‘Great Hall’ has been described as the ‘finest Elizabethan townhouse in Britain’. It was built by Robert Wynn, the third son of a local landowner. Robert Wynn had travelled widely in Europe in the service of Tudor diplomats and amassed a fortune through shrewd business activities and at the age of 50 married Dorothy Griffith. In 1570, he bought land for his new house in Conway, the design of which included elements that were fashionable in London. Wynn commissioned to create decorative schemes that incorporated heraldic emblems of the families to whom both Robert and Dorothy were related. An important factor for Wynn was to retain his Welsh ancestry in the design. In 1586, only a year after completion, Dorothy died and Plas Mawr then became the home of Robert and his second wife, and their seven children. By the late seventeenth century Plas Mawr was subdivided and rented, with tenants that included a dairyman, a saddler, a joiner, and a washerwoman. The two rooms on the first floor were used as a school for many years and court sessions were held in the gatehouse. In 1887, the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art leased the house and maintained it for almost a hundred years, but by 1993 Plas Mawr was in need of expensive structural repair and conversation, as the house had not been substantially altered throughout history. Plas Mawr was placed in state care in 1993 and Cadw began a four year programme of renovation that included repairing timbers, re-slating the roof, rendering the bare stone walls and conserving the elaborate plaster decoration. The rooms were furnished as they may have looked in 1665.

Source: Turner, R. 2008. Plas Mawr, Conway: CADW

M. Lloyd Davies, RCAHMW, 22 October, 2008.

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