Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hanes Môn: the lost mansion of Baron Hill

Continuing the occasional weekend series of small snapshot's of Anglesey history, this week lets take a look at Baron Hill in Beaumaris, the ex-palatial home of the Bulkeley family. The Bulkeleys were originally from Cheshire until William Bulkeley (d. 1490) was appointed Deputy Constable of Beaumaris castle. He managed to marry one of the daughters of Gwilym ap Gruffydd ap Gwilym, a local big cheese, and began the accumulation of land and public offices which eventually lead to the Bulkeley family becoming one of the biggest landowners in Anglesey.

Their family home at Baron Hill, just outside Beaumaris, was originally built during the reign of James I in 1618, and was remodelled in the neo-palladian style in 1776. In the below photo you can see King Edward VII taking afternoon tea on the Baron Hill terrace in 1907:

It is remarkable that just 13 years after this photo was taken the Bulkeley's found that they could no longer afford the house's upkeep and were forced to move to more modest accommodation. Baron Hill was then used as storage until the second world war when it was converted into a billet for Polish soldiers. Apparently the old house was so cold at night that in despair the Poles burned down a portion of the original house in the hope that they would therefore be transferred to warmer accommodation -- unfortunately for them their plan failed and they were instead rehoused in even colder wooden huts in the grounds instead. The house has remained unused since the war and this is how it looks now:

Edward VII presumably had tea on just the other side of that protruding section. How the mighty on Anglesey are fallen.


The Great Councillini said...

It's a fascinating place. There was a militia camp - Kingsbridge - associated with Baron Hill. We took a lovely aerial photo of the old practice trenches - 'Cae Trenches' as it is locally known - a couple of years ago.

Here are some images, including rare photos of the camp from just before and some probably during WW1:

me, you and the other said...

pity it's going to rack and ruin

Anonymous said...

It's interesting in that, behind all the grandeur of the ashlar stonework, it's merely a building of common brick!

There have been long-standing plans to turn this into a suit of flats, and was in the news again not so long ago. But, so far, nothing has happened.

The bridleway that runs from the big white gates to the house, paralleling the modern road and above it, is an interesting if very overgrown route.

Gourami said...

Whilst we're on olden things, and with apologies to Druid for hijacking the blog a bit, does anyone want a small Monkey Puzzle seedling that's now a year old and thriving? I don't want more than one in the garden, so anyone who'd like this for a token bottle of red wine (they are about £25 for this sized plant), then please email me -

Whilst Monkey Puzzles seem to have been planted without problem sometimes very close to houses in the past, I'd recommend you have a reasonably-sized garden for this tree.

richard sletzer said...

It's a bit of a mystery what the position is for the flats development at Baron Hill.

I belive the firm behind the project is Watkin Jones - one of the most prolific and profitable developers in North Wales (they even have their own private plane with "personalised" registration).

The architects are Willacy Horsewood who have a web site showing the outline plans:-

Boiled Egg said...

And a nice 'plane G-WATJ is, too. I'd hate to pay it's maintenance bills!

From G-INFO, the CAA public register of civil aircraft: