An award winning, grade II listed, Edwardian country mansion, Llangoed Hall has a unique and colourful personality all of its own. Originally built in 1632 but lovingly redesigned more than once along the way, it is fascinating and luxurious in equal measures.
Amongst its recent awards include the AA's illustrious Hotel of the Year, Wales 2013/14 and the AA inspector’s choice with four red stars for its outstanding service and high standards of food and hospitality.
History of Llangoed Hall
It is a rare thing for a building to be associated with a legendary story but Llangoed can lay claim to being just that. Local folklore has it that Llangoed was the site of the White Palace where the First Welsh Parliament was held amongst the native princes of the 6th century. Set amongst stunning countryside and close to the economically and militarily important spa town of Builth Wells, it is easy to imagine the Welsh princes meeting to discuss the politics of war.
It is also said that in 560 AD, the estate was donated by Prince Iddon to the church to atone for the excessive sins committed during his lifetime. This would explain how the site of Llangoed Hall went on to become an Episcopal Grange throughout the mediaeval period. Christianity played an important role in the Celtic lands long before it did in England and so the site would undoubtedly have had a very important religious significance.
Following the Reformation of the Church in England and Wales, the Episcopal Grange went into a slow decline. Eventually the old building was bought by the local MP for Breconshire, Sir Henry Williams. He had the old site demolished and commissioned the original Jacobean Manor House as a fitting replacement.
Passing through the ownership of many distinguished Welshmen, the early twentieth century saw Llangoed under the ownership of Mrs Archibald Christy, the wife of the famous London Hatter. Not content with simply designing hats, Mrs Christy commissioned the distinguished Welsh architect, Clough Williams-Ellis to renovate and redesign much of the house. With a taste for the romantic, Clough retained many of the Jacobean features of the house yet made bold and contemporary additions both inside and out.
In 1987, the house became the property of another giant of the fashion world. Sir Bernard Ashley, husband to Laura Ashley, purchased the house and spent three years renovating it from an empty shell. The house had suffered from the decline of the estates after World War II and had it not been for its architectural importance it would almost certainly have been demolished. Laura had always expressed her desire to buy the house but sadly it never came onto the market during her lifetime. When Sir Bernard became the owner he spared no expense in designing the house as his late wife would have wanted it. Recently refurbished and with a remarkable set of historic landscaped gardens, Llangoed still has the tone and attention to detail of those late additions; the cutting edge design and décor that was a labour of love for some of the most important designers of the 20th century.
The history of the house reflects its modern day character; Llangoed Hall is not just a beautiful and luxurious country manor, it is a place which continues to inspire.
1. In 1847 the house was bought by the Baron of Glanusk, John Bailey. John was a prominent Welsh iron master and nephew of Richard Crawshay, the great industrialist who oversaw the boom of Merthyr Tydfil at the height of the industrial revolution.
2. In the early 1800's John McNamara, MP and associate of Prime Minister William Pitt, won Llangoed Hall in a card game. The descendants of Sir Henry Williams were clearly not as astute as their forbearer!
3. Dozens of original pieces of artwork by some distinguished artists adorn the walls at Llangoed. Following the theme of the country house era, the artwork includes the works of John Duncan Fergusson, Herman Dudley Murphy and Augutus John. Also amongst the collections are Sir Bernard's own personal collections by James McNeil Whistler, the US-born artist and satirist. The effect could have you believing you are staying in a museum and indeed, some of these works are occasionally loaned out to museums to form part of larger exhibitions.