Friday, 26 August 2016
Today, we're back in Conwy to visit an Elizabethan town house, Plas Mawr, which in English means 'Great Hall'. It's such a beautiful and interesting place that I thought it deserved a post all of its own.
Built between 1576 and 1585, it's considered one of the finest surviving houses of that era and is run by Cadw, the Welsh government's historic environment service. Cadw, pronounced kadu, is Welsh for 'to protect'.
It was built by Robert Wynn, a member of the local gentry who served under some senior officials to Henry VIII. This is an extract from the information leaflet. There's also an excellent audio tour which had lots of information about the house through the ages.
This is the first room you enter on the tour. The front of the building you saw above was actually the gatehouse and the main building is across a small courtyard behind it.
The house is renowned for its plasterwork and you can see why. Cadw took over the house in 1993 and spent 42 months restoring it at a cost of £3.3 million. The plaster has been painted as it would have appeared in 1580 and was just stunning.
The kitchen, always one of my favourite rooms and I wish you could experience the smell of the straw strewn across the floor - it was heavenly! Just like Aberconwy House in my previous post, it had a wooden cage suspended from the ceiling which was used for proving and storing bread, away from rodents.
The parlour. The plasterwork either side of the main window dated it to 1577. Above the fireplace was the coat of arms of Elizabeth I, which apparently means it would have been used to host senior guests. It also has a plasterwork ceiling covered in emblems, one of the many in the house - I'll show you a closer look at another ceiling shortly.
When Cadw took over the house, the brickwork was exposed. However, during the restoration project, it was re-rendered to how it would have originally appeared.
These roof attics would have housed servants.
This would have been Robert Wynn's bedchamber, complete with ensuite! The coat of arms features his own and his wife's.
I think this was his wife's bedroom.
And this is known as the great chamber. Notice the painted plasterwork again which made it bright and colourful. The walls had also been hung with tapestries on tenterhooks, as they would have been for decoration and warmth.
The fireplace features the Order of the Garter and the initials of Elizabeth I.
The last part of the tour took us to the top of a small tower with lovely views across the town and harbour.
The day of our visit was also my birthday and I couldn't have chosen a better place to spend it: it was absolutely fascinating.
Well, I can't believe it's almost the end of my 2 weeks off: the time has just flown. There have been days out, lots of gardening and some crafting too. Will share with you at some point. Hopefully I'll be back before the end of this long bank holiday weekend but, if not, have a great time. x