Grand Design; OUT FOR A BITE Ian Parri at Oriel Plas Glyn Y Weddw, Llanbedrog

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Parri

WITH a sweeping staircase that would grace the set of any period film welcoming you as you step inside, Plas Glyn y Weddw is as grand a mansion as they come. A magnificent Grade II listed Gothic edifice standing in its own manicured gardens, it looks down imperiously over the twinkling, azure arc of Cardigan Bay, with views extending as far as Pembrokeshire on a clear day.

It was built for local landowner Lady Love Jones Parry - her family was instrumental in the establishment of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia - on the outskirts of Llanbedrog back in 1856.

However, tradition has it that she never spent a night here, preferring the comfort of her other palatial home at Madryn, further down the peninsula.

Today it's recognised as one of Wales' foremost art galleries, where leading lights in the Welsh cultural stratosphere are more than happy to see their work exhibited here.

Among them down the years have been Aneurin Jones, Luned Rhys Parri, Ed Povey, William Selwyn, Susan Williams-Ellis and Sir Kyffin Williams.

It was bought by Cardiff-based entrepreneur Solomon Andrews in 1896. He was largely responsible for the development of nearby Pwllheli as a tourist resort, and laid down a horse-drawn tramway running the five miles between the town and Glyn y Weddw.

It was Andrews who originally converted the mansion into an art gallery, having had the yard roofed over to create a ballroom, and bringing well-to-do visitors by tram from Pwllheli to view the house, its gardens and its works of art.

The property, like the tramway, eventually fell into disuse. When it was taken over by Dafydd ap Tomos and his wife Gwyneth in 1979 the mansion had fallen into a serious state of disrepair, and it was due to their diligence and hard work that it was saved for the nation. …