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Bodysgallen Hall

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Bodysgallen Hall




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Bodysgallen Hall is a manor house in north Wales near the village of Llanrhos. This listed historical building derives primarily from the 17th century, and has several later additions. Bodysgallen was constructed as a tower house in the Middle Ages to serve as defensive support for nearby Conwy Castle. The site of Bodysgallen was the fifth century AD stronghold of Cadwallon Lawhir, King of Gwynedd, who had wide ranging exploits as far as Northumberland.

Cadwallon Lawhir's fifth century AD residence ruins are extant atop woodland knoll above the present Bodysgallen Hall, but as early as 1835 was in ruin and totally overgrown by thorns. According to the ancient record of Caernarvon, Bod Caswallon was one of those townships called Tre Welyog, meaning not entirely free. The tenants were originally possessors of heredity estates, which were divided and subdivided among their posterity to the fourth descent after which they became possessed by branches independent of each other, every one of whom paid for their own land. This possibly might have been on of the three Gwelis, or estates of children from a common stock, originally belonging to Gloddath.

Cadswallon Lawhir heritage
The first recorded resident family on the site was Cadswallon Lawhir, also called Caswallon, from which Bod Caswallon (dwelling place of Caswallon) became the name of the property Bodysgallen.. Law Hir (Caswallon of the long arms) succeeded to the sovereignty of North Wales in the year 442 AD and lived at Bodysgallon until his death in 517 AD.

The 1620 block, built by Robert Wynn, finds its main entrance on the northwest exposure and has a 19th century three story gabled porch bay addition. On the ground floor the porch bay has a four-central headed doorway by first floor (second floor in USA vernacular) features of a transformed window and three mullioned windows to the attic. Behind the porch, this doorway retains its original door and latch. On the southwest exposure the bay nook windows on both ground and first floor are of 17th century mullioned construct.

Seventeenth century history
Robert and Katherine Wynn were owners of the property in the early 17th century. They developed the present day building core characterized by its severe rectilinear architecture with pink limestone mullions. The initials K.W. and R.W. appear in the 1620 date stone on the southwest gable. The largest rooms of the 17th century addition (and yet today) are the ground floor or terrace level low hall and the great hall immediately above. Both rooms feature an unusual southwest corner construction of an unusual bay which has windows on the south and west and a fireplace on the north side of the bay. Both fireplaces feature over mantle s that contain heraldry. In the great hall, these arms display the shouldered form rendered in Plas Mar, am Elizabethan townhouse in Conwy founded by a branch of the Wynns. Thereon is revealed the Motto of the Mostyns.

Mostyn and Wynn families
Richard Mostyn, The High Sheriff of Caernarren Shine owned Bodysgallon during a portion of Elizabethan times. The Motto of the Mostyns family, Auxilium Meum a Domino, is inscribed on the arms above the nook great hall fireplace, below the painted Plasterwork of the 17th century heraldic coats of the Wynn's and the Vaughan's of Corsygodol. It was upon the marriage of Richard Mostyns daughter Margaret to Hugh Wynn' (born 1620) that Bodysgallon along with Berthdu passed to the Wynn family. Richard Mostyn's son, Colonel (and governor) Roger Mostyn, is thought to has added the northwest wing to Bodysgallon, while Rogers's son, Dr. Hugh Wynn, Prebendary of Solisburg, is responsible for the northeast wing which had a date stone of 1730.

When Dr. Hugh Wynn died in 1761, his daughter Margaret, (not to be confused with her great-grandmother Margaret Wynn ne Mostyn) inherited Bodysgallon to add to her estates of Berthdu and Plas Mar. Subsequently this latest Margaret Wynn in 1776 married Sir Roger Mostyn (fifth baronet and descendant of the Elizabethan Richard Mostyn) and thus returned Bodysgallon to the Mostyn lineage after 156 years of Wynn ownership.

Exterior architecture
The core element of Bodysgallon Hall is the late 13th century to early 11th century watchtower, intended to assist in defense of Conwy Castle. This five-storey tower is made of on site quarried pink sandstone with grit dressings and slate roof. The square tower has a five story ascending anti-clock wise (non defensive) spiral staircase with one small room emanating at each floor. The staircase becomes narrower with height. The treads are 60 cm wide at the top with maximum tread depth of 31 cm. Amending the core tower are later additions of global wings, but with consistent vernacular style.

Bodysgallon Hall is a 13th century tower house castle further expanded in the following centuries south of Llandudno, Wales. Originally, reputed to be a strong hold of Caswallon Lan-hin, who died in 517AD, the first recorded history of the site is in the mid 1300s in the "Record of Caernarvon." At that time the five stories tower house/tower was used as a watchtower and adjunct to the expansive Conwy Castle Independent masonry analysis of the spiral staircase within the tower dates it to late 13th century. Bodysgallon, situated on the Creuddyn Peninsula has a rectilinear architectural style {where extended chimneys amplify the effect of height.

Bodysgallon is situated on the west facing slope of Pydew Mountain within a broadleaf forest ecosystem between the first and second ridges south of the Great Orme Headland. Surrounding lands, still owned by the estate, exhibit sheep pasture and forests probably not very different from conditions one millennium earlier. Thus it was natural to develop the gardens in a terraced form consistent with the surrounding forests. Fenton noted as late as the year 1810 that Bodysgallon is "embosomed in woods of Noble growth, which are suffered to luxuriate their own way, without any fear of the axe". The original garden design dates to 1678 and is credited to Robert Wynn, son of Hugh Wynn, the original Wynn owner. (The centerpiece sundial bears the date 1678.) Robert laid the principal garden out in Dutch fashion, a sunken, high walled garden that actually became popular throughout England, Scotland and Wales in the early 17th century. Today this garden consists of a low growing topiary maze.

Below and to the east is the larger walled rose garden; other prominent garden features are the rectanglar lily pond pool and a series of smaller herb and perennial gardens below the pineapple stone cottage and to the north. A croquet lawn is found to the north of the main building.

Area setting
The site has frontage on the north side of Highway A470 approximately one mile south of the seaside resort of Llandudno. From the terraces of Bodysgallen are commanding views toward the north and west.


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