History in Structure

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Plas Penrhyn

A Grade II* Listed Building in Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9202 / 52°55'12"N

Longitude: -4.0979 / 4°5'52"W

OS Eastings: 259051

OS Northings: 337922

OS Grid: SH590379

Mapcode National: GBR 5R.N11H

Mapcode Global: WH55M.0VXP

Entry Name: Plas Penrhyn

Location: Located towards the western boundary of the community on a commanding, elevated site overlooking Porthmadog and theTraeth Mawr; accesed via a lane running SW from the main road (A 487).

County: Gwynedd

Community: Penrhyndeudraeth

Locality: Minffordd

Traditional County: Merionethshire

Listing Date: 14 January 1971

Last Amended: 23 August 2002

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Building Class: Domestic

Source ID: 4852

History

Plas Penrhyn began as a late C17/early C18 storeyed vernacular house. In 1827 Samuel Holland (1803-92), industrialist and owner/manager of the Gloddfa Ganol slate works at Blaenau Ffestiniog, moved to the house to which he added the Regency (NW) wing; the latter is recorded as having been roofed by September 1830. Holland's niece Elizabeth Gaskell completed her honeymoon here in 1832, as well as making subsequent visits during her uncle's lifetime. Plas Penrhyn was the home, from 1955 until his death in 1970, of Bertrand, third Earl Russell (1872-1970), philosopher, mathematician and social reformer.

Exterior

Villa-scale Regency country house with sub-medieval origins; 2 storeys. Of stuccoed rubble with double-pile plan, the E wing being primary; slate roofs with end chimneys. The main (W) elevation has 16-pane sashes, three to the first floor and two to the ground floor. Fine full-length Regency verandah returned onto the sides, with hipped slate roof and flat, pierced wrought iron supports (Porthmadog foundry); slate-flagged terrace. The entrance is to the N return, via a part-gazed door with good Georgian fan above; this within the returned verandah. 12-pane sash to the R of the entrance with 16-pane sash to the first floor above, and a blind window to its R. The S return elevation is asymmetrical and has 12- and 16-pane sashes on both floors. The primary range has a near-central entrance to the 3-bay E elevation, with boarded door within simple single-storey porch; 16-pane sashes. Further entrance to the far R with 12-pane sash above and flush lean-to beyond.

Interior

The Regency block has an entrance hall with late Victorian geometric tiled floor in buff, brown, red, white and black tiles. A depressed arch divides the entrance hall from the stair well to the rear; this with modern stick-baluster stair, which replaces a lift installed c1960. It is possible that the original main stair occupied this position. Drawing and Dining rooms off to the R, the latter to the rear. Both have 6-panel doors with panelled reveals and convex panelled Regency architraves with applied foliated corner bosses; panelled window reveals and shutters and moulded marginal ceiling plaster. Original wooden Regency chimneypiece to the Dining Room, with surround similar to the architraves, though with additional cable moulding; simple wooden fireplace with engaged colonnettes to the Drawing Room.

The primary range has a stick-baluster stair with mahogany swept rail having columnar balusters; returned first floor balustraded landing. In the former hall (kitchen) is a large fireplace of inglenook type with segmental bresummer and early C19 bracketted mantelshelf; boarded door with contemporary boarded cupboards above. Above the door is an early hanging larder with turned sides and door; an inner plank porch with boarded door gives access to a cellar via a flight of old slate steps. Beamed ceiling with plain lateral ceiling beam and joists.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a Regency villa-scale house with earlier, C17 origins, retaining good original character; of additional interest for its associations with Elizabeth Gaskell and as the last home of Bertrand, third Earl Russell.

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