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Gwydir Uchaf

A Grade II Listed Building in Trefriw, Conwy

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Latitude: 53.1321 / 53°7'55"N

Longitude: -3.8024 / 3°48'8"W

OS Eastings: 279510

OS Northings: 360955

OS Grid: SH795609

Mapcode National: GBR 64.6LTV

Mapcode Global: WH65X.KJKQ

Plus Code: 9C5R45JX+R3

Entry Name: Gwydir Uchaf

Listing Date: 30 May 1996

Last Amended: 30 May 1996

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 16943

Building Class: Gardens, Parks and Urban Spaces

Location: Strikingly located on an elevated plateau immediately above Gwydir Castle and NW of the Carreg-y-Gwalch; adjacent to Gwydir Uchaf Chapel.

County: Conwy

Town: Llanrwst

Community: Trefriw

Community: Trefriw

Locality: Gwydir

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire

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Built as a summer house in 1604 by Sir John Wynn, first Baronet of Gwydir (1553-1627). The house appears to have had independent stables, gardens, viewing mounts and a bowling green and was conceived as a pleasance, no doubt inspired by English imitations of the courtly Lustschloesser of the continent. Throughout the C17 the family appear to have spent increasing amounts of time here, rather than at `Lower Gwydir,' and during the time of the 4th Baronet in 1673, a house chapel was built adjacent to it. A careful sketch was taken of the house during the Duke of Beaufort's progress in 1684, and this, together with a number of later antiquarian descriptions reveal the house to have been of a sophisticated classical design and adorned externally with Latin and Welsh inscriptions. By the second-half of the C18 century the house was in very poor condition and was partly demolished by 1800. In the mid C19 Lord Willoughby De Eresby of Gwydir Castle rebuilt and restored the house, essentially following the original plan and design. The house was further modified and repaired c.1955 and is presently in use as Forest Enterprise offices.


Irregular double-pile house built on the side of the hill; the front pile is single storey and faces a level forecourt and approach to the SE, while the rear pile is of 2 storeys, the ground floor being raised above a basement floor, itself on a high battered plinth. The walls of the front section are broadly-speaking original, though the openings have all been altered and the ground level has been raised; rough-dressed rubble construction with slate roofs. The rear section is entirely C19 work, although the battered rubble plinth upon which it sits is original; rubble construction with dressed slate cills and lintels, slate roof . The front facade has a 2-window main block to the centre with slightly lower flush, flanking wings. Central entrance, raised up via 5 slate steps and contained within a large, C19 gabled porch with slate roof and moulded bargeboards; simply cusped wooden spandrel pieces. The side walls are of rubble and the open front has flanking limestone columns, clearly re-used from the original building; plain 2-stage square bases and similar 3-tier abaci. Pegged oak doorcase with ovolo moulding and a C19 studded oak door with decorative iron hinges in C17 style; small, narrow flanking lights with lozenge glazing. Flanking the porch are wooden mullioned windows in C19 openings and with slate lintels and projecting slate cills; 2-light to the L and 3-light to the R with C20 lozenge glazing. Similar 2-light windows to the 2-window L wing. These slightly break the eaves and are contained within simple gabled dormers with plain bargeboards. 3-light window as before to shorter R wing and, beyond, a modern boarded entrance to a lower hipped-roofed lean-to. Plain end chimney to main block at L with similar central stack; squatter, similar end chimneys to the wings, plain cornices. Modern basement lights to central block and L wing.

Plain rear elevation with simple paired and single C19 sash windows on 2 floors; exposed rafter ends to eaves. Flush rubble gabled bay to R with dressed quoins, in part original to the primary house. Boarded entrance to NE end with further sash windows and chevron-decorated bargeboards to slate-hung upper gable. At the SW end the front pile is advanced beyond the plane of that to the rear and has an upper entrance to its gable; stepped and parapeted access. Round-arched entrance to the R of the rear section with ashlar voussoirs and simple Y fan; modern boarded door. Large 3-pane window to L, as before, with two 2-pane gabled dormers to the upper floor. At the W corner, on the rear quoin of the front pile, is a deeply-cut graffito date: 1666.


Square Reception hall with coved ceiling and moulded cornice. Mid C19 4-panel oak door with stopped-chamfered detail and simply-moulded architrave; wide niche to L as before. Large C19 fireplace with marble columns and mantelpiece. The columns have carved and moulded bases on square, stepped plinths; similar abaci and square capitals. Tripartite mantelpiece with advanced outer sections, above columns, all enriched with strapwork, lozenge and cable decoration in carved relief. Large heraldic plaster overmantel with the arms of the Wynn family and the motto `Nec Tumet, Nec Timet' in raised letters; the date 1622 appears below. This is ex situ, having been brought here from Gwydir Castle (where C19 photographs show an identical example); later polychromy. Moulded oak dado and skirting; plain flush-oak panelled window reveals to this and large room to N.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its historic importance as the former Wynn summer house and for its group value with the adjacent Gwydir Uchaf chapel.

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