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Ynysymaengwyn was formerly a gentry house near Tywyn, Merioneth, situated near the south bank of the River Dysynni.

During the late medieval and early modern period, Ynysymaengwyn, situated roughly a mile from the town itself by the road to Bryn-crug, was by far the most powerful estate in the area. Ynysymaengwyn's wealth is revealed in official documentation and also in the Welsh poetry composed to its leading members. The death of Hywel ap Siencyn ab Iorwerth of plague in 1494 is described in detail by Hywel Rheinallt. Tudur Aled composed a poem to ask Hwmffre ap Hywel ap Siencyn to bring to and end a long dispute with other branches of his family, a poem described as 'one of the great poems of late medieval Wales' (G.A. Williams in Smith & Smith 2001, 617). Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, Welsh poets were welcomed to Ynysymaengwyn and several of the major houses of the parish, most of which had familiy ties to Ynysymaengwyn, including Caethle, Dolau-gwyn, Gwyddgwion, Plas-yn-y-rofft (Esgairweddan), and Trefeddian.

'Sir' Arthur ap Huw, the grandson of Hywel ap Siencyn, was vicar of St Cadfan's between 1555 and 1570, and was a notable patron of the poets as well a translator of counter-Reformation literature into Welsh. Many of the Ynysymaengwyn poems have been preserved in an an important manuscript of cywyddau (British Library Additional MS 14866) copied by a native of the Tywyn area, David Johns (fl. 1573-87), who was himself the great-grandson of Hywel ap Siencyn. Later additions to this manuscript contain several eighteenth-century Welsh poems, some of which relate to the Owen and Corbet family of Ynysymaengwyn and to the Rev. Edward Morgan of Tywyn. Edward Morgan, the brother of John Morgan (poet), was vicar of St Cadfan's from 1717 and was one of the eighteenth-century owners of David Johns' manuscript.

During the eighteenth century, the Corbet family of Ynysymaengwyn played a leading role in the Tywyn area. They were responsible for draining much of the morfa or salt marsh between the town and the Dysynni river, which greatly increased the land available for farming in that part of the parish. In Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) it is reperted that popular horse races were held on land by the Dysynni every September. The estate was also famous fir its gardens. The raven was the Corbet family emblem (the name 'Corbet' is thought to come from the Norman French for 'raven') and the bird is still used as emblem of Tywyn. The name Raven was once that of a public house in the centre of the town. One notable landlord was Griffith Owen (1750-1833), who was both butler and harpist to the Corbets before he moved to the Raven. A portrait of him by Benjamin Marshall (1768-1835) was formerly at Ynysymaengwyn.

John Corbett
Ynysymaengwyn was brought by John Corbett (industrialist) of Chateau Impney, Droitwich in 1878. He was not related to the previous Corbet family, but the similarity of the names certainly attracted him. Although not a permanent resident, Corbett spent long periods and even more money in Tywyn, and some of the town's key features are the product of his investments. He developed the water and sewerage system and also constructed the promenade at a cost of some �30,000. He gave land and money for the Market Hall, built to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It was his money that enabled Brynarfor to be opened as 'Towyn Intermediate School' in 1894. He rebuilt the Corbett Arms Hotel (from then on spelled with two 't's), and also contributed to the Assembly Room (1893), now Tywyn Cinema. Plaques commemorating his generosity may still be seen on the north end of the promenade, on the Market Hall and on Brynarfor (where his portrait was hung when the school first opened). Despite the fact that his involvement transformed Tywyn, he was not much loved, and upon his death on 22 April 1901, the Cambrian News noted that "he had more than the usual reserve of the Englishman".

Later Years
John Corbett became legally separated from his wife Anna Eliza (n�e O'Meara) in 1884, and and order prevented her from living within 40 miles of Corbett's homes. Upon his death in 1901 the estate went to his brother Dr Thomas Corbett. It was only on his death in 1906 that Ann Corbett (d. 1914) was able to return to a warm welcome from the local people, as her son Roger John Corbett (1863-1942) took over the estate. Following Roger's death his sister Mary (d. 1951) eventually gave the estate to the council. The council was unable to refund the necessary repairs, and the house was used for firefighting practice and army training and soon had to be demolished. It was a sad end to a long history. A dovecote built by Ann Owen (d.1760) still survives, and Ynysymaengwyn is now a caravan site.


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