About Plas Newydd – Anglesey
Plas Newydd near Anglesey in Wales is a country house and garden estate on the north banks of the Menai Strait. Originating from 1470, the current building evolved over the centuries to house several noble families: the Griffiths, Baylys and Pagets.
The house has been owned by the National Trust since 1976 and, boasting views of the strait and Snowdonia, is open to the public.
Plas Newydd – Anglesey history
The site at Plas Newydd was first occupied in the 13th century when it was known as Llwyn-y-Moel. By 1470, the house had passed into the Griffith family who also owned Penrhyn Castle near Bangor. By the 16th century a hall-house stood at Plas Neywdd.
In 1533, Ellen Griffith married a Nicholas Bagenal and together they moved into Llwyn-y-Moel. It was their grandson, Lewis Bayly the Bishop of Bangor, who made the first major expansions to the home and called it ‘Plas Neywdd’ meaning ‘New Hall’. The Bayly family gained the title of Baronet of Plas Newydd in the County of Anglesey in the early 18th century.
Henry Bayly gained the Barony of Paget in 1769, taking estates in Staffordshire and changing his surname to Paget. Paget inherited Plas Newydd in 1782 when his father died and subsequently revitalised the house. Under Paget, a Gothic octagonal tower was built in the south-east corner as well as additional rebuilding throughout the estate led by the neoclassical-style architect James Wyatt.
Wyatt refaced Plas Newydd, blending the towers into the building’s front and constructing a large Gothic-style stable block with various lodges and gateways. At the end of the 19th century, Plas Newydd was inherited by the 5th Marquess, Henry Cyril Paget, who renamed the house ‘Anglesey Castle’.
Known for his lavish spending and flamboyant taste, Henry Cyril Paget denied Victorian conventions and instead converted the family chapel into a performance space called ‘The Gaiety Theatre’. Plays were regularly held starring the ‘Dancing Marquess’ himself. It was also at the Gaiety Theatre that plays by Oscar Wilde were performed, even after he had been jailed for ‘obscenity‘.
By the time Henry Cyril Paget died in 1905, the estate fortune was gone and Plas Newydd became the sole home of the family estate. The 6th Marquess removed the roof crenellations, destroyed the theatre and built a large dining room, which was adorned by a trompe-l’œl seascape painting filling the room with Snowdonian mountains and Italian churches.
Plas Newydd – Anglesey today
For a small charge, visitors to Plas Newydd can expect to enjoy the stunning views of the Menai Strait and Snowdonia whilst walking around the grounds. The gardens are bursting with the fiery blooms of rhododendrons and the woodland is great for peaceful walks.
You can also take a tour of the historic home before stopping for tea and cake in the tearooms within the Old Dairy.
Getting to Plas Neydd – Anglesey
If driving, from the A55 take junctions 7 and 8a, turning off the A5 at the west end of Britannia Bridge. There is parking on site. Llanfairpwll train station is also a 38 minute walk from Plas Newydd.