History buffs get rare chance to explore historic Anglesey home
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
History buffs will get a rare chance to explore an historic Anglesey home with links to Queen Victoria and an ancient family on the island next month.
Plas Bodafon was historically the home to the Williams family of Penrhosllugwy.
It was also known as the residence of a famous 19th century physician Dr William Mason. He was known in his day, as the medic who treated the Duchess of Kent and her daughter – the future Queen Victoria – during their visit to Anglesey in 1832.
The historic house is being opened up to the public – by kind permission of Olwen Green, on Wednesday, May 3, through the Anglesey branch of the Discovering Old Welsh Houses (DOWH) group.
It is one of six branches of DOWH, which aims to encourage “better appreciation of pre-1700 houses, through study of archaeology, landscape, economic and social history.” It is actively involved in recording buildings and architecture in north Wales.
According to the Bangor University Archives, Plas Bodafon Papers, Jisc Archives Hub website, the Williams family descended from Cadrod Hardd, first Lord of Bodafon, and intermarried with the Maesoglan, Llwydiarth and Henllys families. “Politically, they supported of the King during the Civil War and throughout many generations were staunch members of the Church of England,” it states. “One of the most notable members of the family was Richard Williams who lived during the reigns of Queen Anne (1702-1714) and the King George I (1714-1727).” Material in the collection shows his involvement in litigation over a dispute about seating and burial places in Penrhos Llugwy Church, circa. 1712,
Three clergymen followed him in succession, all named Richard, each working on Anglesey, two of whom became Rector of Llanrhuddlad. It was the daughter and heiress of the third Reverend Richard Williams of Plas Bodafon who married Dr Mason, who had links with Caernarfon, in 1815.
Their striking home was Grade II listed in 1952. It has been described as a “significant example of a sub-medieval gentry house with some good early detail.” It is set back from the road, leading to the hamlet of Mynydd Bodafon, close to Penrhos Lligwy church.
The bulk of the property dates to the 17th, early 18th century, when extensions and remodelling took place in limestone with a slate roof. The oldest part is the stepped north gable, it has a lintel inscribed 1584, and early internal features include ceiling and cross beams.
Anglesey DOWH branch secretary, Susan Hurst said: “Plas Bodafon, it is a lovely home in a lovely setting. It is a great privilege to be able to visit it, and all the other historic homes and buildings we usually visit on a monthly basis.
“Many are privately owned, so they are not usually open to the public but many have fascinating tales to tell.
“We are always looking for more members to join our group, and if there are any historic property owners out there who would be happy to open their homes and buildings up to us, we’d love to hear from them.”
Booking is essential, for the Plas Bodafon visit. Light refreshments will be available and the cost is £3, though group membership is encouraged. Forthcoming visits are to include Plas Berw near Gaerwen and Plas Penmynydd, known as the home of the Tudors.
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