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BRYN BRAS CASTLE

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 26090

Map Reference SH56SW

Grid Reference SH5435062577

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Llanrug

Type of Site COUNTRY HOUSE

Broad Class DOMESTIC

Period Post Medieval

Site Description Church records indicate a house on the site in 1751, forming the core of the present house which was built for Thomas Williams, a Bangor solicitor between 1830 and 1835. Architect for the first phase was Thomas Hopper, also of Penrhyn Castle. The castle, outbuildings and lodges are shown on Tithe Map of 1839. After Williams' death property changed hands several times, with alterations by Captain Frank Barnard (1897-1917) and Duncan Alves (1920-40). George Lloyd was a frequent visitor in 1920s.

Country house built in the style of medieval castle. Earliest part is the T-shaped range to the west with cellars, the north gable end of this visible as you enter the house. The first phase of the castle is the central, 3-bay block with service rooms behind, followed by the circular Flag tower with square turret behind, the D-shape tower to the north and two yards flanking the original building.

Style is Neo-Norman, and includes castellated and turreted kennels, as well as outbuildings on the other side of the road including the stable, converted to a ballroom in the 1920s and connected to the main house by a bridge. The buildings are constructed of rubblestone, stuccoed apart from the flag tower, the 20th century additions being of red brick. The gabled slate roofs are hidden by crenallated parapets.

East front sports four slender turrets with corbelled and parapeted tops linked by a crenallated parapet. The ground floor has three round-headed doorways with chevron decoration enclosing french windows with glazing bars and fanlights, while on the first floor are tripartite plate glass sash windows.
Flag tower has narrow, round headed sashes and a moulded plinth which continues to the square stair turret, with crenallated top and three round-headed and two slit windows. Between the turret and the central range is a doorway of three orders with panelled door, carved timber tympanum with the Alves crest and motto. Links to the D-shaped tower with a window of plain intersecting tracery on the ground floor and sashes above.
North side is mixed, the flat north side of the D-shaped tower with two tiers of plate glass sashes, a screen wall, crenallated and parapetted, and corner turret hiding the original house and returning to the south ending with a square turret. It contains round-headed doorways with nail-studded and strap-hinge doors, and the turret is topped by an iron beacon with heraldic dragons and topped by a crown of Richard II . The orignal effect of this 'curtain' wall reduced by two storey west wing of Alves with two tiers of sash windows.

The interior is very fine retaining many of Hoppers features. Entrance hall has geometrical plasterwork and Romanesque mouldings to the ceiling and surrounds, slate fireplace, parquet floor and stained galss windows dating to 1920s. Ante-hall has Art Nouveau stained glass windows. Staircase hall has console bracketed arch onto a 1920s staircase to a Jacobean landing with twisted balusters and newels with the Alves motto and crest. There are tapering colonettes between elliptical arches to the gallery, and green glazed windows on the stairs contain the coats of arms of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The drawing room has Hopper beak-head cornice with C20th frieze below, and a white C20th marble fireplace.The original dining room has a Hopper slate fireplace , a plaster ceiling, Art Nouveau frieze and woodblock floor dating c1898. The later dining room has wall-panelling with inlaid decoration of birds and flowers, and a Jacobean fire surround and overmantel, all brought in 1921.

North tower, burnt out 1880s, restored 1907. Ground floor fitted out as a library, and used as Catholic chapel, with C17th carved panelling. Most of Hoppers surviving work in Flag tower with drawing room having neo-Norman carved doorcase, enriched round-headed arcading, slate fireplace, ribbed ceiling.

(Cadw description, SF 18/05/05)

Associated with: Grounds and gardens (NPRN 86307)

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