Plas Newydd, just outside Llangollen in the North Coast and Borderlands area, is a black and white timbered house. In the early 19th century it was the home of two eccentric Irish ladies, known as the Ladies of Llangollen.
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Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby “eloped” from their families in Ireland and set up their home in 1780 at Plas Newydd, then a cottage. They lived here for almost 50 years.
From 1798 to 1814 they added gothic details to the house. Stained glass windows and carved oak panels are two of these changes. A later owner, General Yorke, continued the changes.
Regency England decided to celebrate the ladies, which resulted in visits from well-known figures especially those in the literary world. One visitor was the duke of Wellington in 1814. The ladies commemorated his visit by carving the date over the fireplace in the oak room.
Other visitors included the duke of Gloucester, William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott.
The house is set in a historic park with formal gardens at the front of the house (created after the ladies were gone).
Terraced gardens were added with walkways. A font purloined from Valle Crucis abbey sits in the grounds.
An exhibition tells the story of the ladies and displays some of their possessions.
Hill St, Llangollen, on the A5
Tel. 0 1978 861 314
Open: Easter-end Sep, daily, 10am-5pm
Tea-room; riverside walks; servant’s room by guided tour only; audio tour; shop
Photos as follows:
Exterior of Plas Newydd © by Barbara Ballard;
Tomb of the ladies by Eirian Evans courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland
See also our feature on the town of Llangollen at Llangollen