A Travellerspoint blog

August 2019

Penrhyn Castle

National Trust Property Llandygai, Bangor , Gwynedd, North Wales

In addition to visiting Caernarfon Castle on our first full day in Wales, we also visited to Penrhyn Castle. Penrhyn Castle is a National Trust property in Bangor, Wales. The castle occupies a strategic position between two rivers on the route from England to Bangor and the Isle of Anglesey. There has been a house on the property since medieval times. The house was designed by Thomas Hopper and constructed from 1820-32. The house belonged to the Pennant family who made their wealth originally in sugar plantations in Jamaica and then in the slate quarry business locally. Apparently the Pennants ran the quarry business in a very unpopular fashion which led to strikes in the early 1900s. The family's bitter legacy is not completely forgotten by the locals.

Penrhyn Castle: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/penrhyn-castle

The Grand Hall:

The Library:

The Drawing Room:

The Ebony Room:

The Grand Staircase:


The Chapel:

The Dining Room:

The Breakfast Room:

The Kitchen:


Chapel ruin in the gardens:


I really enjoyed Penrhyn Castle and gardens. The room docents were very friendly and helpful. My favorite room was the Library (no surprise there, ha!). The chapel was also lovely, simple but lovely. The gardens were also fantastic. Onto Wales Day 2....

Posted by LCP 23:01 Archived in Wales Tagged family jamaica castle national wales sugar trust bangor penrhyn pennant Comments (1)

Caernarfon Castle


Our first full day in Wales we went to Caernarfon Castle, a medieval fortress in the town of Caernarfon. The castle is considered one of the greatest buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. King Edward I of England began construction of Caernarfon in 1283, and the end of work on the castle occurred in 1330. Most of the external parts of the castle are complete while many internal buildings no longer survive and some of the actual buildings plans were never complete.

Caernarfon Castle is managed by the Welsh government, andif you have an English Heritage membership you can get half off of the entry fees to many Welsh government properties (Cadw-managed), including Caernarfon.
Cadw: https://cadw.gov.wales

Caernarfon Castle:

One interesting tidbit we learned about at Caernarfon was about the Royal Welch Fusiliers who are a line infantry regiment of the British Army and part of the Prince of Wales' Division. The unit was founded in 1689. Interestingly, goats...yes goats.... have been associated with the Regiment since 1777 and Queen Victoria presented the first royal goat to the Regiment in 1844. The goat is not the mascot of the unit, but a member with a rank, yes you read that right, a rank. In 2006, Billy the goat was demoted from Lance Corporal to Fusilier after a disciplinary hearing during which he was charged with "unacceptable behavior," "lack of decorum" and "disobeying a direct order" while on parade for the Queen's official birthday celebrations in Cyprus. Makes you wonder what Billy did to be charged with such offenses....Billy eventually redeemed himself and regained the rank of Lance Corporal three months later.

Town of Caernarfon:

After having lunch at the Four Alls in Caernarfon and walking around town, we then went to Penrhyn Castle.

Posted by LCP 23:03 Archived in Wales Tagged castle middle royal wales ages fortified goats caernarfon regiment welch fusiliers Comments (1)



Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Cymru, or more commonly known as Wales! Wales is a country in its own right and part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. Wales dates back to the 1000s and its capital is Cardiff which is located in southern part of the country. The official languages are Welsh and English and Wales has a population of over 3 million people. A few famous Welsh people you may have heard of include: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Jones.

Some fun facts about Wales:
- Wales has more castles per square mile than any other European country.

- The Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (try pronouncing that...just give it a whirl) has the second longest place name in the world. We happened to be in the town and I took a picture of the name on the local Volvo dealership building.

- The Queen's dog of choice, the corgi, is also Welsh. Corgi means "dwarf dog."
- Joseph Daniels of West Wales emigrated to the US in the 18th century. His grandson Jack went on to create the world famous Jack Daniels whiskey.
- Al Capone's accountant, Llewelyn Humphreys, was a Welshman and also took over for Capone while he was in prison.

We stayed in northwest Wales in a town called Bangor near the Snowdonia National Park. Our AirBnb was in a fantastic location and our hosts were wonderful. Penny enjoyed meeting two of their three chocolate labs. The views from the AirBnb were wonderful. Our trip took us to Caernarfon Castle, Penrhyn Castle, Short Stack Lighthouse and cliffs on the extreme northern coast of Wales, and to Plas Newydd. I will probably break this up into separate posts due to the sheer volume of pictures.

Wales: https://www.visitwales.com

AirBnb link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1285937

Penny asking, "Are we there yet?"

Our neighbors for our stay:

Our view from the AirBnb:

Wales is stunning and I cannot wait to come back and explore other parts of the country. Onto Caernarfon Castle...

Posted by LCP 08:10 Archived in Wales Tagged cardiff wales welsh bangor corgi Comments (2)

Chatsworth House

Duke of Devonshire's Home, Derbyshire

One must see in the Peak District is Chatsworth House. Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and the house has been in the Cavendish family since 1549. Something to note, the Devonshire name is not necessarily the last name of the Duke and his family. For instance, the Duke of Devonshire's family's last name is Cavendish and the Duke of Rutland's last name is Manners. There is a Kennedy connection to Chatsworth. The sister of John F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, the elder son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire in May 1944. He unfortunately died in action in Belgium in 1944 and Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. Currently, the family is on the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish.

Elizabeth Cavendish, later Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury also known as Bess of Hardwick, was cunning lady who married strategically (she had four husbands) and is often associated with Chatsworth House. Sir William Cavendish (her second husband) and Bess of Hardwick originally started construction of Elizabethan Chatsworth in 1552; however, little evidence remains of the original house. Elizabeth I found Mary, Queen of Scots, to be a threat to the throne and held her captive under the watchful eye of the 6th Earl of Shrewsberry, Bess's fourth husband. Bess teamed up with Mary during part of her captivity at Chatsworth and the two created the Oxburgh Hangings, which are on display in Oxburgh Hall.

Chatsworth House: https://www.chatsworth.org

Side of Chatsworth:

Our tour started just outside of the North Entrance Hall, where we received a brief talk on the history of the house. We then passed through the North Entrance Hall into the North Sub-Corridor and into the Painted Hall.

Painted Hall:


Chapel Corridor:

The Chapel was constructed between 1688 and 1693:

The Oak Room apparently used to be called the Summer Breakfast Room by the 6th Duke.

Great Stairs:

Great Chamber:

State Drawing Room:
This chair was apparently the Coronation Chair of King George III.

The State Music Room was one of the most interesting rooms to see. For starters, the violin on the door is actually a painting using the "Trompe l'oeil " method which uses realistic images to create an optical illusion. The 6th Duke was apparently very wealthy and very vain. He installed gilded leather walls...yes gilded leather walls... and had his portrait carved into the wooden busts at the top of the walls all around the room. When talking with the docent in the room, he mentioned a story that the Duke purportedly wrote in his diary perhaps he had gone too far with that...you think?
Gilded Leather Walls:

The bed in State Bedchamber was originally made for Kensington Palace. George II supposedly died in the bed. The bed was given to the 4th Duke as a gift for serving as the Lord Chamberlain.

State Closet:

The Cabinet Room isn't an official room in the house. It was created in 2012 to display some of the many works of art and furniture in the house. The family was hit hard by the inheritance tax in the 1950s. In all, the family owned at least five homes and they all had to be sold off to pay the tax and all of the items in the houses were consolidated in Chatsworth. Many items go on loan to various places for exhibitions. For example, currently Sotheby's New York galleries has "Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition" on view from from 28 June through 18 September 2019.
Sotheby's link: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/treasures-from-chatsworth-the-exhibition

Guest Bedrooms:

Oak Stairs:

The Library was my favorite room in the house.

Ante Library:

Great Dining Room:


Sculpture Gallery:

The House puts on different exhibitions every year (as well as spectacular Christmas display, I'm told) and this year's theme was The Dog. I really enjoyed how The Dog theme was worked into every room we went into and not just set off at the end with everything in the exhibition in one room. There were paintings, statues, modern works of art, etc. So, here is one of the pieces. Meet Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man...he was created by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, 1831-1834. Bashaw is made of marble and headstone. His eyes are topaz, sardonyx and black lava. The snake is made of bronze and has ruby eyes, the mount is made of gilt bronze. The piece was on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Capability Brown left his mark on the Gardens at Chatsworth:

I enjoyed Chatsworth and I would absolutely return. The weather wasn't very cooperative and the house was crowded. There was also construction happening on the grounds and it appeared there was some sort of event being set up, so all of that kind of took away from the grandeur of the house in some regard. The land surrounding the house was all farm land with lots of grazing sheep all over the hills. I hope we do get back to the Peak District and to Chatsworth at some point. That concludes our trip to the Peak District!

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 11:35 Archived in England Tagged dog the of queen house i mary elizabeth devonshire duke brown hangings chatsworth capability scots oxburgh bess hardwick Comments (1)

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