06 Plas Brondanw

Historic background

A dwelling, probably of the seventeenth century, with many later additions, originally two stories high, now three stories, to which a tower was added in 1937, and the whole rebuilt in character after a fire in 1951. The plas is the family home of the Williamses, forbears of the Williams-Ellis family, and came to the possession of the Ellises, along with the additional surname, in 1807. By the early twentieth century, it had been divided up into separate lodgings, and was only restored to use as a family home by Clough Williams-Ellis. He set out the present gardens and continued to make minor alterations to the house until the late 1960s.
Key historic landscape characteristics

sub-medieval dwelling and 20th-century gardens.

The small park belonging to Plas Brondanw, on the north-west-facing slopes on the edge of the reclaimed Traeth Mawr, may perhaps be contemporary with the original house. The core area, mostly to the south-west and west of the house, was made into a garden by Clough Williams-Ellis from 1908 onwards. The style is strongly architectural, with tall hedges, statuary, formal ponds and straight axes focused on distant views, famously that of Cnicht, to the north-east.

An area to the south of the house, including a former quarry, was developed in a less formal style. The quarry itself was made into a water feature, and above it, at a viewpoint looking down into it, is a memorial to the fire of 1951. On top of the hill is a look-out tower which was a wedding present to the Williams-Ellises in 1915 from Clough’s brother officers in the Welsh Guards. The planting in this area is mainly of deciduous trees, with some shrubs.

The garden and this wooded area contain many typical Williams-Ellis features, particularly in a theatrical style, mostly painted in the distinctive light blue used throughout the Williams-Ellis (Portmeirion) estate. There are also buildings, both within the garden (an orangery) and associated with it (a gatehouse to the south-west), and beyond it (war memorial and other buildings in Garreg), which take the distinctive Williams-Ellis style out into the wider estate < back to the map
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 100017916, 2005