The History of The Hall & Gardens

Glansevern Hall and its surrounding buildings were built between the years of 1801 and 1806, for Arthur Davies Owen, a Welsh gentleman descended from Cadifor ap Daniwal, Lord of Castell Hywel. The hall is Grade II* listed, and was built under the architectural guidance of Joseph Bromfield of Shrewsbury, whose work is also seen at Rug near Corwen, Nannau near Dolgellau and Attingham Park in Shropshire. The building is of great historic and architectural importance: the main south front (five bays, broken by four Ionic pilasters which support a plain architrave) was compared with the Petit Trianon of Versailles by John Hilling in ‘The Historic Architecture of Wales’, while Richard Haslam (working with Nikolaus Pevsner, an esteemed scholar of the history of architecture) described Glansevern as “an austere Greek Revival house of Cefn stone”.

In 1876 the estate passed through the female line to the Humphreys, who adopted the additional name of Owen and took up the Owen coat of arms. The Humphreys-Owen family were at Glansevern until 1951 when the property was sold. A succession of short-term owners followed.

In 1982, Neville and Jenny Thomas bought the estate. By this time, the estate and hall had fallen into dereliction, and the Thomases worked incredibly hard over many years to restore it to a fully functioning estate. Their work in the gardens was particularly prolific, and so it was that they came to open their gardens up to the public in 1996.

Nowadays, the new owners are committed to keeping Glansevern Hall Gardens open for supporters far and wide to come and enjoy, and to attracting more visitors to this fantastic part of the world. The Thomas family continue to give invaluable advice.

To the history of the gardens themselves, there is little record of the original layout, save that the Walled Garden is known to have been planned to its present dimensions in 1805. Its interior was entirely remodelled in 2001 to offer nine separate “rooms” including “The Roses” and “Fairytale”.
The impressive Rock Garden and Grotto is said to date from around 1840, and there is a garden plan of 1880 signed by Edward Milner, father of Henry Ernest Milner who wrote ‘The Art and Practise of Landscape Gardening’ in 1890.