Plas Dinas Country House
Dating from the mid-seventeenth century and built around a fine stone fireplace, Plas Dinas Country House is a grade II listed luxurious country house with an opulent but homely feel and warm welcoming hosts.
Situated in the historic Welsh county of Gwynedd, Plas Dinas is surrounded by history on all fronts. From the natural wonders of the Snowdonian national park to the UNESCO listed medieval town of Caernarfon, it is a place that is easy to find yet hard to leave.
In the early 1800's the house was extended when it came into the possession of Robert Jones. Robert had been a Captain in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and commanded his own ship. In 1814 while deployed at sea, his scout ship encountered a French vessel. The Royal Navy rewarded its crews with prize money for capturing or sinking enemy vessels throughout the 19th century, so motivated by a desire to get rich quick, Robert promptly attacked the inferior ship which was quickly overpowered and captured. Like today, 'spoils of war' also applied in Napoleonic times, so Robert must have been quite overjoyed to find that the French had also been transporting valuable items. He arranged for the ships contents and prisoners to be transported to England and carried on his mission knowing that a fortune awaited him upon returning to Britain.
The French were no fools however. Although the Royal Navy ruled the seas, the French were always game for a fight and a short while later Robert himself was captured by a French line of ships. Unfortunately for him he now found himself in a French prison knowing that he was likely to die anonymous rather than claim his fortune back home. With the strongest of incentives to escape, it is said that Robert used all of his Welsh charm to befriend and finally seduce the wife of one of his guards. Once out of his cell, Robert didn't waste time. He was away on his toes and made his way back to Friendly lines where he was sent home to Britain. Robert was to live another 25 years during which time he claimed his fortune, saw to it that his family was taken care of and expanded his country home in North Wales.
By 1899 the Jones family began going by the name of 'Armstrong-Jones' to distinguish themselves from another influential Jones family in the area. The current descendent, Anthony Armstrong-Jones also known as the Earl of Snowdon, married the queen's sister in 1960 and HRH Princess Margaret regularly stayed at Plas Dinas. The relaxed reception they received from the locals was in welcome contrast to the socialite scene in London.
The house has maintained its 'gentleman's country residence' feel with family memorabilia and period furniture throughout. The homely touches are not just for show; HRH Prince William recently followed the family tradition by visiting and dining as a guest in the restaurant. With such esteemed clientele you know that you are in for a memorable experience when you stay at Plas Dinas Country House.
Interesting facts about Plas Dinas Country House:
1. In 1963 Lord Snowdon was appointed Constable of Caernarfon Castle, which meant he was responsible for the investiture ceremony in the World Heritage castle when a young Prince Charles became anointed as Prince of Wales.
2. In the 1980’s Plas Dinas Country House now in the ownership of Peregrine Armstrong-Jones, was leased out as a grand nursing home before it was converted into a hotel in the 1990’s.
3. Lord Snowdon is a respected photographer and has portrayed many famous people during his career, including members of the current house of Windsor.