GREGYNOG
pronounced [grɛˈgənɔg] ie "Gre-gun-og"
Seat of the Blayney family in Wales



Map of UK

Map of Wales

North Powys

Montgomeryshire

Tregynon 1

Tregynon 2

Gregynog 1

Gregynog 2
Click map to enlarge.     Images produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service and reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey


Gregynog Hall 2007

Photo: Mike Swanson [754]

Gregynog Hall 1798
[288]

Gregynog, a residential educational centre of the University of Wales (Prifysgol Cymru), [289] and the Institute of Rural Health, [290] is a very large country house in Montgomery, some five miles from Newtown in Powys (one of the counties of Wales, United Kingdom). [However, the Universal British Directory 1793-98 describes the seven turnpikes of Newtown, Montgomeryshire with "one gate towards Llanvair; on the left, at a distance of four miles, is Gregynog, the seat of Arthur Blayney, Esq."] [23].

Gregynog is situated on the breezy upper lands of Tregynon, the wooded parkland sloping down towards the margin of the rapid Bechan ("the small", in contrast with the larger Severn, to which it hastens) [339]. The estate has reduced to only 750 acres, compared to the 18,000 acres of farmland and moor it comprised at the beginning of the twentieth century. The old wooden Hall has been largely replaced by the current mock Tudor hall which has a significant amount of concrete made to imitate pannelled and moulded oak wainscoting, although many parts of the older house have been incorporated, particularly the wainscoting and mantel-pieces of one or two of the apartments exhibiting exquisite specimens of elaborate oak carvings such as "the Blayney Room".

There has been a hall on the site since at least the 12th century and from the mid 1500s onwards Gregynog was the seat of the Blayney (Blaenau) family. Gregynog was mentioned in a Twelfth century poem by Cynddelw as a place of good hospitality and has existed as a house since at least 1450 [291], [292a]. In 1577 a new house was built for David Lloyd Blayney, the High Sherriff of Montgomeryshire, with the panelling added in 1636 by in John Blayney. In the late 1840s the Hon. H. Hanbury Tracy rebuilt Gregynog keeping the ornate Flemish oak panelling of the Blayney Room which includes the family heraldry and panels above the doors. The relief `black and white' rendering was added a little later.

The first Blayney, -Ieuan Blaeney [= Evan Blayney] (1370-1430) "of Tregynon" (the nearby town) and his ancesters back to Gruffyd ab Iorworth (born 1155) were all born at Llwyn Melyn (Powys), a hamlet a few kilometers NW of Gregygnog with previous paternal ancestors back to Cadeyrn Fendigaid (404-445) all living in Powys.


Ground floor (& Blayney Room)

Below: a modern winter Gregynog
The last resident Blayney, Arthur was benevolent by nature, regarding tenants as friends. He shared profits, assisted at improvements and was hospitable to all who came to his 'plentiful table'.

Gregynog passed from the Blayney family following Arthur's death in 1795. Arthur was a bachelor so he left both Gregynog and Morville to the last Lord Tracy of Toddington, who had married into the Weaver family (Arthur's mother's family).  After passing through several families, being split and sold in 1914 to tenants, the estate (down to only 750 acres) was purchased for about 35,000 in 1920 by the art collecting sisters (Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, daughters of David Davies of the Vale of Clwyd Railway), who lived there from 1924. They established the Gregynog Press (a private Press/Bindery occupying the former stable buildings adjacent to the main hall) for producing fine printing and developed Gregynog into a venue for international conferences and as a music centre. Some of their collection remains at Gregynog but the bulk is now in the National Museum of Wales. In 1960 Miss Margaret Davies gifted Gregynog to the University of Wales, which took over in 1963 on her death.

As well as the ornate carving (as in the Blayney Room), the remaining art of the Davies sisters, a printing press, Conference accommodation, a friendly ghost or two [see ghosts in the links below], and extensive grounds containing a Gregynog walk [292b] and 140 recorded species of lichen making it a protected "Special Site of Scientific Interest", all add to the modern charm and attraction.

The new conrete buildings of the Hanbury-Tracys [389] [click to enlarge]
In 1798 ownership of Gregynog passed to Charles Hanbury (b.28Dec1777), who took on the name Hanbury-Tracy before marrying the Tracy heiress Hon. Henrietta Susanna Tracy, only child and heiress of Henry Leigh Tracy, 8th Viscount Tracy (on whose death the viscountcy became extinct). As Charles Hanbury-Tracy he was elected to the House of Commons (MP for Tewkesbury 1807-12 & 1832-7) then raised to the peerage in 1838 as 1st Baron Sudeley and was subsequently Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire 1848-58. He sold the Morville estate in 1814 to enable him to enlarge Gregynog. rebuilt the hall using concrete cladding "in the 1840s". The Gregynog Estate was also made famous by Hon. H. Hanbury Tracy (presumably Henry, son of Charles), for the introduction of concrete as a universal building material when he was the first in the world to use this for the workers' cottages [believed to be the oldest totally concrete houses in the world], as well as the mansion. [389]. Henry was responsible for rebuilding Gregynog in 1840 as a mock-Tudor hall. Its 'black and white' relief exterior is actually concrete rendering dating from a little later. All that remains of the old hall is the ornate Flemish oak panelling of the Blayney Room.



One the friendly
"ghosts" of Gregynog
By Mike Swanson [754]
[click to enlarge]

Ghosts

There is an increasing number of reports of two ghosts (of a friendly nature) at Gregynog (see last link, below). Photographer Mike Swanson has kindly provided his version (on the right)!

Links to:

 

Keith Blayney Homepage CastleBlayney Blayney Barons Blayney History