Follow-up funding is needed for the building of a flood wall to protect the Grade I castle at Gwydir in North Wales along with its Grade I gardens from the threat of flooding from the River Conwy. A breach of the unfinished wall caused extensive flooding of the grounds and cellars in March 2019.
Tudor Gem in North Wales
Gwydir Castle and its gardens are a rare survival in North Wales of a Tudor house with a contemporary Renaissance garden, extended and improved over the centuries but with much of the 16th century work still in existence. The earliest parts date to the 1480s but most of the house belongs to 1555 when John Wynn, the builder, carved his initials above the entrance. Two surviving arches in the gardens date from his garden, a formal series of walls and terraces. The house gave the Wynns an ideal platform to establish themselves as leading family of the new Tudor gentry in Wales. Within two generations, the energetic and cantankerous, Sir John Wynn Bt, was a baronet, an MP and member of the Council of the Marches and had firmly established the link between his family and the historical Princes of Gwyedd. In 1676, Sir John’s great grand-daughter, Mary married into the powerful Bertie family, hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain, whose elevation under George I would make them Dukes of Ancaster.
Gwydir and the river
Gwydir Castle looks out across the wide flood plain of the River Conwy and the river has always had a presence in their history. John Wynn was responsible for making it navigable and his great-grandson, Sir Richard Wynn commissioned a fine new bridge in Llanrwst from classical architect Inigo Jones. The current owners, Peter Welford and Judy Corbett have spent 25 years restoring the house but have seen the threat of floods increasing. The garden and cellars were last flooded in March 2019 when water inundated the gardens and cellars, threatening a number of ancient specimen trees and the interiors of the castle, particularly the embossed leather frieze that crowns the decoration of the 1640s panelling dining room.
Another bag in the wall
The completion of a 300 metre sandbag wall along the edge of the garden along with an embankment and heightening an existing stone wall will be helped with a second grant from the Historic Houses Foundation securing Gwydir from future floods. The spring 2019 flood has vividly demonstrated that about 5,000 more sandbags, making about 25,000 in all, will be needed to secure the house and garden.