Report - - Gwrych Castle - 06/08/2010 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Gwrych Castle - 06/08/2010


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Myself and a few friends decided to go an explore Gwrych castle on Friday night. I ran a quick search on the place on 28DL to see if there where any reports and there isn't! So on to the places history:

Gwrych Castle was built in 1819 at the bequest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh, grandfather of Winifred. Upon the site was an ancient house named ‘Y Fron (rounded hill). When Lloyd married Lady Emily Esther Ann Lygon in 1825, Gwrych was nearly complete.

The expertise of Thomas Rickman was utilised by Hesketh in the design of Gwrych and its many cast iron windows. Henry Kennedy subsequently extended the Castle during the 1840’s by the inclusion of a new bedroom wing, staircase and porch.

When Lloyd died the Castle passed onto Robert Bamford-Hesketh and his wife, Ellen. George Edmund Street designed the famous marble staircase during the 1870’s and also some fireplaces. Robert planted much of the present gardens with their enormous Monkey Puzzles and Yew trees.

Winifred inherited Gwrych in 1894 and it became her official residence as Countess of Dundonald. She brought up her children there and sincerely loved it. In 1914 the building work of Elcock was complete and a new bedroom wing and alterations to the state apartments were added to Gwrych.

Lady DunDonald’s will declared that Gwrych should be bequeathed to King George V and the Prince of Wales. This request was declined and it was given to St John of Jerusalem.

In 1928 the Earl of Dundonald (Winifred’s husband) bought back the Castle for £78,000 and sold the contents of the building to cover the cost. During World War Two, Gwrych was requisitioned by the Government and housed two hundred Jewish refugees.

A gradual decline began when Gwrych Castle finally left the family’s hands in 1946, the l3th Earl of Dundonald sold it to Mr Robert Rennie. Then in 1948 Leslie Salts bought the building and successfully opened Gwrych to the Public for twenty years. The Castle was named “The Showplace of Wales†and attracted nearly ten million visitors. Randolph Turpin and Bruce Woodcock trained there and many people came to see them.

Between 1968 and 1989 the Castle had many owners and many different uses.

The library was turned into a bar; Winifred’s music room and drawing room were converted into a large bar lounge and the gargantuan dining room into a restaurant.

During the latter part of the 1970’s Gwrych became a medieval centre where markets were held and jousting took place upon the site of the old formal gardens and conservatory. Gwrych finally closed to the public during the winter of 1985, never to open again.

An American businessman purchased Gwrych in December 1989, with the hope of restoring the Castle into a 5 star hotel and opera house. However because of legal problems this has never come off.

In 1996 Prince Valiant was filmed at the Castle, starred Edward Fox and Joanna Lumley. Since then, the weather, heartless vandals and
New-age travellers have ravaged the building to the point of near dereliction.

One hopes that it will be restored back to its former glory so that everyone can walk through its marbled halls as Winifred did.
History taken from: http://www.gwrychtrust.co.uk/html/brief_castle_history.html

Now on to the report itself!

Myself and my friends arrived at Gwrych at about midnight and we grabbed our torches and went off to check the place out. As we walked through the woodland on a path, in the distance we could see a sort of white glow which was the castle!

As we got closer to the castle we could hear voices and smell burning, we noticed that on one of the walls of the castle was a group of people around a fire, we ignored em and carried on in anyways (as you do).

We took a wander around the inside of the castle and to be honest there wasn't a whole lot to see. After mooching about a bit we decided to make first contact with alien(welsh) life on the battlements. Turned out they where a bunch of 15 year olds celebrating a friends birthday by getting pissed up at an old castle.

After eventually escaping the Welsh locals we want back to the car, grabbed our tents and set up camp on top of one of the castle turrets (Hesketh tower to those in the know)! Waking up in the morning to find we could see the ocean on one side, forests and mountains to the other and a golf course was a pleasant surprise.

The view from Hesketh tower (the tallest castle turret)

This is a picture of the fire brigade putting out the fire made by the teenage locals.

Picture of the invading fire engine.

Another turret view.

Sea view =)

The tower we camped on ;)

Lord of the Rings esque?




Now I can certainly say it's definitely worth a visit. Got to say that the views are amazing. The fire brigade actually climbed up to our tower because we had a BBQ going, it wasn't generating much smoke but because the welsh locals has gone and blown up a deodorant can or something in their fire it had attracted attention from the authorities.

Thankfully the Welsh fire brigade are cool and just told us to make sure the fire we'd made was out by the time we left.

Then security showed up but didn't notice where we hid, so all was good haha.

All in all an excellent explore and I'd reccommend it to anyone going to Wales for an explore.

Edit: Weird, i've resized them all to comply with the size regulations on photobucket but they're showing up as massive on here. <fixed>
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