Bodelwyddan Castle, close to the village of Bodelwyddan, in Wales, was built around 1460 by the Humphrey’s family of Anglesey as a manor house. Its most important association was with the Williams-Wynn family, which extended for around 200 years from 1690. The castle which stands today was reconstructed between 1830 and 1832 by Sir John Hay Williams. The Williams’ family fortunes started to decline in the 1850’s, due to the loss of the main source of income for the estate, lead mining.
By the First World War the house had become a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers. During this time, the grounds of the estate were used by soldiers based at the nearby Kinmel Camp for trench warfare training. By 1920, the cost of maintaining the castle and estate had grown too burdensome, and the Williams-Wynn family leased Bodelwyddlan to Lowther College, however Lowther College purchased the property five years later, in 1925.
The school is thought to be one of the first private schools for girls to have its own swimming pool. It also had a private golf course. The Lowther College Tableaux were well regarded within the community for their musical excellence. Boys were admitted from 1977, but the school closed in 1982 due to financial problems. In the 1980’s, the site was bought by Clwyd County Council with the aim of developing the castle as a visitor attraction. Partnerships were formed with several prominent museums and art galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, so that the castle could be used to display objects from these collections, and that is what it is to this day.
The gardens are beautiful is mostly a Victorian facade, but what it covers is a core that is believed to date back to the 13th century. Archaeologists have found Roman remains on the site, and suspect they relate to a settlement adjacent to the nearby Roman road.