Set in the beautiful Aeron valley near the popular seaside resort of Aberaeron and our Aberaeron holiday cottages, which overlook Cardigan Bay, is Llanerchaeron, a small 18th century Welsh gentry estate, which makes for a fascinating visit for those interested in Welsh history.
The site had once been home of the Parry family since 1634, though the house seen at Llanerchaeron today was built by John Nash in 1795 for Major William Lewis, replacing the original house. It is perhaps the best remaining example of Nash’s early work, and opened doors for him to go onto designing Brighton Pavilion and Buckingham Palace among other great works of architecture. Before designing the villa, he was declared bankrupt at the age of 31, and so his work at Llanerchaeron was the beginning of a rags to riches journey.
Llanerchaeron was built as a completely self-sufficient estate, and consists not only of the villa but also of servants’ quarters, stables, farm buildings, a threshing house, a dairy, a laundry, a brewery and a salting house. These remained untouched for more than a hundred years, giving us important insights into historical farming processes. Fruit and vegetables are still grown on the land today which are served in the on-site café and sold in the shop.
It is now owned and maintained by the National Trust, who it was bequeathed to in 1989 by J P Ponsonby Lewes, whose family has owned Llanerchaeron for more than ten generations. Opening to the public for the first time in 2002 following significant restoration work, visitors can see not only the house and servant quarters but also extensive gardens, as well as a café and shop. Throughout the house, there is a huge collection of antiques to be seen which were donated to the Trust, as well as memorabilia once owned by the Lewes family, charting the life of a family over two centuries. There are also a host of events going on throughout the day as well as special one-offs, which range from leatherwork and milking demonstrations to basket weaving workshops.
Image: Glen Bowman, available under Creative Commons