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Baron Hill Mansion, Anglesey, North Wales, July 2020

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HughieD

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1. The History
Baron Hill Mansion lies parkland to the north of Beaumaris, Anglesey. The first house at Baron Hill was built by Sir Richard Bulkeley in 1618. During the English Civil War, Richard Bulkeley's successor, Colonel Thomas Bulkeley apparently invited King Charles I to take possession of the house and set up his court there. In the early eighteenth century the house was the seat of Richard Bulkeley, 4th Viscount Bulkeley who maintained Jacobite sympathies.

An old drawing of the manor:

50387210916_5d7d8f83f5_b.jpg2020-09-26_10-22-25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The house was then reconstructed in 1776 by architect Samuel Wyatt in a Neo-Palladian style with its curved façade, terraces, follies, and balconies. Additionally, an icehouse in the gardens and a lodge house were also constructed. In the nineteenth century the occupants of Baron Hill remained the dominant Anglesey landowners, possessing estate also at Llanfairfechan and other parts of Caernarfonshire.

Old map of the estate:

50387388082_93abc8617b_b.jpg2020-09-26_10-23-19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Royal visitors in the shape of King Edward VII:

50387238646_d5176fe380_b.jpg2020-09-26_10-30-44 by HughieDW, on Flickr

During World War I, death duties exhausted the family fortune and made it impossible for the family (by then known as the Williams-Bulkeley’s) to maintain the house. Like many large country houses during the Second World war, it was requisitioned by The Royal Engineers in 1939 and used as temporary housing for Polish soldiers. They found the home too cold and decided to start a fire within the mansion so they would be moved to new accommodation. The fire destroyed a large part of the interior and the soldiers achieved their aim and were removed from the house but only to tents in estate’s grounds. The mansion was then abandoned afterwards and is still to this day.

Post-second world war, the manor was a ruin:

50386537693_47be57262a_b.jpg2020-09-26_10-29-58 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Baron Hill has been a Grade II Listed Structure since 1950. In August 2008, very ambitious plans were submitted to restore the house and turn it into luxury apartments, but predictably, nothing ever came to fruition.

A couple of archive pictures of the mansion, back in the day:

50385224212_4dd47a56e8_b.jpg2020-09-26_09-25-35 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50380471331_11a0bfebd5_c.jpgBaron-hill 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
If you are on Anglesey, like Porth Brickworks, this place is something of a rite of passage. It’s a well-trodden path to this place but it is no less enchanting because of that. Having parked up on the road and walked up the hill I came to the overbridge and up and round. Instead of heading in the direction of the house I first headed in the opposite direction, past the overgrown lodge in search of an icehouse I’d found on the old maps. After a while I came across it’s retaining wall and after a bit of a scramble I was up and in. It was a bit of the estate that most people don’t see.

Then it was on to the main attraction. It’s pretty much far gone but very photogenic (although, not easy to photograph). Spend the best part of an hour here and didn’t see a soul.

3. The Pictures

Walking up the road to the overbridge:

50299608211_7827d9166b_b.jpgBaron Hill 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First up is the lodge. Very overgrown and hard to photograph:

50299607736_69c819650a_b.jpgBaron Hill 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299607956_d8d7910e7e_b.jpgBaron Hill 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then on to the icehouse:

50299590401_46ae20e348_b.jpgimg7830 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299607501_4ed60c9973_b.jpgBaron Hill 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299744952_dc63c95246_b.jpgimg7831 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The back to the gardens of the main house:

50299587876_9a8963d6d5_b.jpgimg7840 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50298920683_3a01f3a5d3_b.jpgBaron Hill 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the stunning colonnade:

50300530991_e622017218_b.jpgBaron Hill 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299607041_c5ecc1dac0_b.jpgBaron Hill 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The on to the servant’s quarters:

50299760562_439d9300ea_b.jpgBaron Hill 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50298922358_2b13d0df70_b.jpgBaron Hill 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299605866_7bca6decaa_b.jpgBaron Hill 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299761297_acf1e01b87_b.jpgBaron Hill 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299606216_c0b8d6a4e3_b.jpgBaron Hill 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299584696_26c43ed986_b.jpgimg7851 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then the main house itself:

50299583876_c8025bc367_b.jpgimg7856 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299582156_7258f7f298_b.jpgimg7860 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299581116_f9064b58e2_b.jpgimg7862 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299735332_ce5e07335b_b.jpgimg7864 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299579041_8f9752bb48_b.jpgimg7866 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299734007_1ab388aa07_b.jpgimg7868 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299733582_7d549d56d4_b.jpgimg7869 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Possibly the only bit of original ceiling plaster left in the whole house:

50299733072_b4d0b997dc_b.jpgimg7876 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50298921243_9d16d7b270_b.jpgBaron Hill 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50299583876_c8025bc367_b.jpgimg7856 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

BikinGlynn

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Looking at before & after its unbelievable how things can go like this!
 

verdigris

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great pics and interesting history, shame to see it so degraded. The house is probably beyond repair, but a local volunteer group could rescue some of the gardens and the best of the architecture eg the colonnade....? obviously a long term project
love the tea party, those hats !
 

Dirus_Strictus

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It's funny how the official report as to the cause of the fire has changed over the years - from a burning log falling out of an unattended grate, to an act of arson by Polish Troops. Cold as it may have been, Baron Hill was a Palace and a Haven when compared with what those Poles had just escaped from and been through.

After the War many Poles went on to work in the Yorkshire Mines, and my home town of Doncaster had a largish Polish population. Three such families lived in our street and their stories made horrific listening!
 

fluffy5518

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Another cracking report Mr D ... !! I have been saying it for years but when im next up there i need to take a day off from slate quarries to go do this .. !!
 

Darklldo

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1. The History
Baron Hill Mansion lies parkland to the north of Beaumaris, Anglesey. The first house at Baron Hill was built by Sir Richard Bulkeley in 1618. During the English Civil War, Richard Bulkeley's successor, Colonel Thomas Bulkeley apparently invited King Charles I to take possession of the house and set up his court there. In the early eighteenth century the house was the seat of Richard Bulkeley, 4th Viscount Bulkeley who maintained Jacobite sympathies.

An old drawing of the manor:

View attachment 2622182020-09-26_10-22-25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The house was then reconstructed in 1776 by architect Samuel Wyatt in a Neo-Palladian style with its curved façade, terraces, follies, and balconies. Additionally, an icehouse in the gardens and a lodge house were also constructed. In the nineteenth century the occupants of Baron Hill remained the dominant Anglesey landowners, possessing estate also at Llanfairfechan and other parts of Caernarfonshire.

Old map of the estate:

View attachment 2622192020-09-26_10-23-19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Royal visitors in the shape of King Edward VII:

View attachment 2622202020-09-26_10-30-44 by HughieDW, on Flickr

During World War I, death duties exhausted the family fortune and made it impossible for the family (by then known as the Williams-Bulkeley’s) to maintain the house. Like many large country houses during the Second World war, it was requisitioned by The Royal Engineers in 1939 and used as temporary housing for Polish soldiers. They found the home too cold and decided to start a fire within the mansion so they would be moved to new accommodation. The fire destroyed a large part of the interior and the soldiers achieved their aim and were removed from the house but only to tents in estate’s grounds. The mansion was then abandoned afterwards and is still to this day.

Post-second world war, the manor was a ruin:

View attachment 2622212020-09-26_10-29-58 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Baron Hill has been a Grade II Listed Structure since 1950. In August 2008, very ambitious plans were submitted to restore the house and turn it into luxury apartments, but predictably, nothing ever came to fruition.

A couple of archive pictures of the mansion, back in the day:

View attachment 2622222020-09-26_09-25-35 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262223Baron-hill 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
If you are on Anglesey, like Porth Brickworks, this place is something of a rite of passage. It’s a well-trodden path to this place but it is no less enchanting because of that. Having parked up on the road and walked up the hill I came to the overbridge and up and round. Instead of heading in the direction of the house I first headed in the opposite direction, past the overgrown lodge in search of an icehouse I’d found on the old maps. After a while I came across it’s retaining wall and after a bit of a scramble I was up and in. It was a bit of the estate that most people don’t see.

Then it was on to the main attraction. It’s pretty much far gone but very photogenic (although, not easy to photograph). Spend the best part of an hour here and didn’t see a soul.

3. The Pictures

Walking up the road to the overbridge:

View attachment 262224Baron Hill 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First up is the lodge. Very overgrown and hard to photograph:

View attachment 262225Baron Hill 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262226Baron Hill 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then on to the icehouse:

View attachment 262227img7830 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262228Baron Hill 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262229img7831 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The back to the gardens of the main house:

View attachment 262230img7840 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262231Baron Hill 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the stunning colonnade:

View attachment 262232Baron Hill 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262233Baron Hill 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The on to the servant’s quarters:

View attachment 262234Baron Hill 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262235Baron Hill 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262236Baron Hill 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262237Baron Hill 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262238Baron Hill 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262239img7851 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then the main house itself:

View attachment 262240img7856 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262241img7860 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262242img7862 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262243img7864 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262244img7866 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262245img7868 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262246img7869 by HughieDW, on Flickr


Possibly the only bit of original ceiling plaster left in the whole house:

View attachment 262247img7876 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262248Baron Hill 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262249img7856 by HughieDW, on Flickr
The tea party is interesting. I think the lady on the right of the photograph is not very pleased with the gentleman on the left of the photo... could he have put whisky in his tea? :)
The photos are great. I can't get over the amount of growth in the vines and trees. What a pity it has gone to wrack and ruin, it must have been beautiful in its heyday.
Thank you for my tour, it's great to be able to see these places. :)
 

HughieD

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The tea party is interesting. I think the lady on the right of the photograph is not very pleased with the gentleman on the left of the photo... could he have put whisky in his tea? :)
The photos are great. I can't get over the amount of growth in the vines and trees. What a pity it has gone to wrack and ruin, it must have been beautiful in its heyday.
Thank you for my tour, it's great to be able to see these places. :)
Pleasure mate. Glad you enjoyed it...
 

FunkyMuffin

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Actually, now you mention it, no I didn't. Any pictures?
I myself didn’t get any useable photos as of course it was pitch black and bitterly cold. Steam from ones breathing ruined the photos. My friend did send me her phone shots. Access can be found by jumping in the ditch shown on your last photo and following it to the end.

E6A85E80-C4C0-49B7-BFC1-216F4A12C1D6.jpeg5673B64A-0260-48BA-AF72-B9B66B942844.jpeg06473BAD-3698-4B33-86A4-93C05D9499AE.jpeg526DCAC1-3192-4767-B720-3A25337021A9.jpeg36B2B3A2-CDCB-439B-92DE-D6D7529CB499.jpeg
 

FunkyMuffin

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@FunkyMuffin wow! Missed them. Thanks for the info and pictures. I guess it's a bit you know about or don't rather than stumble across. Makes sense. What large self-respecting stately home wouldn't have a wine cellar!
We also didn't enter the property the way you seemed to have? There's a public footpath and we parked in a neighbourhood. Had to use Google maps to guide us the rest of the way. I really like how you add old photos of the places into your reports.
 

HughieD

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We also didn't enter the property the way you seemed to have? There's a public footpath and we parked in a neighbourhood. Had to use Google maps to guide us the rest of the way. I really like how you add old photos of the places into your reports.
Archive pictures really add context for me. Sometimes they exist, sometimes they don't. I have to say, for Baron Hill, there was an embarrassment of riches!
 

RalphWiggum

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I desperately want to visit Baron Hill- my great-great grandmother was a Williams-Bulkeley but met my great-great grandfather and immigrated to the US in the 1870s/1880s. There are several OLD family photos (back in the states- I've actually pulled the reverse of her and gone from the US to the UK!) of Baron Hill (and Beaumaris, Llandegfan..) and it's on my "to-do" list however I'm absolutely certain that I'm not the only person with a genealogical interest in it.. and that if caught it'd do nothing to help my case!
 

NorthWalesYorkie

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Excellent report with the old photos providing context. It's a few years since I last visited but was unaware of the wine cellar. I'll have to go again but will wait until it's drier underfoot.

Someone I know got chased off twice, once by the police and once by Bulkely himself so he gave up. This would be around the time of this scheme, which seemed hopelessly ambitious considering the current state of the building.
 

Roderick

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I really enjoy reading your reports, the background research and historical inserts make all the difference. It's good when people add extra bits to the picture (like the wine cellar and family connections), makes it feel like being part of a group of friends with common interests.
 

Judderman62

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Good ole Baron Hill. I rather like this place, I've been twice but not for a good few years. Nice report and pics as always Highie.
 
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