I sat down this afternoon with every good intention of doing the accounts when my inbox beeped at me and I discovered an e-mail from a Plasite. I must first of all thank those of you who e-mailed and commented with information about the kitchen garden - I'm now gradually able to piece together the fascinating history of Plas y Nant and thought I'd share with those of you don't know it a little bit more.
Now, the Plasite who's just e-mailed me reminded me of something which I had forgotten to mention in my last post about the Secret Garden. I'm surprised I forgot actually as it's located at the point where I catapulted down the steps and I did have to pause there for quite a while to regain my composure! There had once been a bench there as well, apparently for amorous couples, which I would have found very handy at the time to sit and recover. Anyway, I'd best get on with this before I forget to mention it again in my ramblings.
Just as we were about to fight our way through the brambles into the old building we noticed a long plaque, like a memorial stone, on the side of the wall set into a recess. My first thought was that the building was some kind of tomb and was determined that I wasn't going in - I've read about the Curse of Tutankhamun and, coincidently, that involved Lord Caernarfon - and Betws Garmon isn't far from Caernarfon you know. Well, no-one seemed to be taking any notice of my furtive imagination and so we went over to read the plaque. It was very worn and cracked but appeared to have an inscription in Latin, Welsh and English which read "In this tranquil retreat lived John Rowlands, in sweet oblivion and blissful balm. He obtained quiet from the cares of life, as also did his wife Frances. In the year 1671 he erected this house and place of rest". Well after reading this I had to find out more so after our exploration around what turned out not to be a tomb and our return home I carried out a bit of research on the internet. What I discovered, and this has since been confirmed by one of my Plasites, is that John Rowlands built a house in 1671 on the site of the current Plas y Nant. This was later extended in the early nineteenth century by Sir Robert Williams JP, who was a Magistrate in the County of Caernarfon. Then a Rev John Parry came along, bought it, pulled it down and built the current Plas y Nant in the late 1800s. What I now would like to find is a picture of what the original house pre John Parry looked like, but I don't think there's much hope of that.
I would like to think, though, that our future guests, like John Rowlands, will enjoy the tranquil retreat in sweet oblivion and blissful balm and obtain quiet from the cares of life.