Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon/Nantlle – Area 10 Glynllifon demesne PRN 15709


A close-up aerial view, looking east, of the core of the Glynllifon estate, showing the main house at the top, the stables just below and the walled kitchen gardens to the left. The Home Farm is to the top left.



Historical background

The former seat of Lord Newborough of Glynllifon, centred on the house of 1836-48, which includes some elements of the house designed and built by Sir Thomas Wynne in 1751. The associated structures include a large stable block of 1849 and an estate workshops complex of the 1850s. The present park is based around the Afon Llifon, partly canalized and rerouted between 1826 and 1832. It includes part of the former Orielton estate, centred on Plas Newydd, built in 1632 by Thomas Glynne and restored by the Hon. Frederick Wynn between 1887 and 1914.

The substantial wall which encloses the demesne was built in the 1830s, when some small farmhouses on the periphery of the existing gardens were demolished. The Llifon formerly powered a corn-mill, later adapted to provide power to the estate workshops in nineteenth century, and a possible pandy, converted into an ornamental ruin. The bijou fort ( Williamsburg ) was constructed in the 1760s, with later additions.


Key historic landscape characteristics

18th - 19th century parkland and gardens

The grounds and house are included in the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens at Grade 1 as ‘an outstanding, extensive eighteenth- and nineteenth-century park and pleasure ground' preserving many of its Victorian and earlier features.

Their future is uncertain, not least because of the fragmented nature of the ownership of various parts of the parkland. The greater part of the demesne and the house itself remain in local authority hands, but have been unsuccessfully offered for sale. The estate workshops area, which contains much original machinery, is now restored and open to the public as a visitor attraction under the care of Cyngor Gwynedd, though its future is uncertain. Fort Williamsburg is in poor condition and closed. Parts of the grounds are used as an agricultural college, along with the home farm. Other parts of the walled enclosure are in private ownership.


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