Penrhyn Castle (Gwynedd, North Wales)
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
'Penrhyn Castle was originally a fortified manor house founded by Ednyfed Fychan. In 1438 Ioan ap Gruffudd was granted a licence to crenellate and he founded the stone castle, adding a tower house.
The present building was created between about 1822 and 1837 to designs by Thomas Hopper, However a spiral staircase from the original property can still be seen, and a vaulted basement and other masonry were incorporated into the new structure. Hopper's client was George Hay Dawkins-Pennant, who had inherited the Penrhyn estate on the death of his second cousin, Richard Pennant, who had made his fortune from slavery in Jamaica and loca quarries.
Penrhyn is one of the most admired of the numerous mock castles built in the United Kingdom in the 19th century; Christopher Hussey called it, "the outstanding instance of Norman revival." The castle is a picturesque composition that stretches over 600 feet from a tall donjon containing family rooms, through the main block built around the earlier house, to the service wing and the stables.
It is built in a sombre style which allows it to possess something of the medieval fortress air despite the ground-level drawing room windows. Hopper designed all the principal interiors in a rich but restrained Norman style, with much fine plasterwork and wood and stone carving. The castle also has some specially designed Norman-style furniture, including a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria when she visited in 1859.'
Today the castle is managed by the National Trust. It is open to the public with paid entry and there is a free carpark onsite. Visitors can walk around the castle grounds, take tours inside the castle (after 12 noon), and visit the railway museum in the courtyard.
On my visit I was too early to access the inside of the castle, but from a previous visit I can definitely say that it's worth hanging around if you have time!
Pictures taken May 2018
Castle Site Plan