Saturday, December 09, 2006

Plas Newydd

On the banks of the Menai Strait, just south of the Britannia Bridge, you will find Plas Newydd. It is the ancestral home of the Marquess of Anglesey. From Easter to October each year Plas Newydd is open to the public. It is under the care of the National Trust. To get there you need to take the road from Llanfairpwll to newborough and look out for the entrance on your left.
Car parking is at the top of the grounds where there is a tearoom and shop. In the shop you get your entrance ticket for the house. Next you set off down the path that winds down to the house itself. Just a short way along this path you will see the collection point for passengers using the minibus service down to the house. The house itself is in a setting to die for, with views across the water to the Vaynol estate on the mainland.
For my money, the interior is rather disappointing in that I get an impression of an old house rather than a stately home. There is a military museum displaying all manner of colourful uniforms. I find this very boring. I get nothing out of matters military. The Marquess at the time of Waterloo is hailed as a hero. He was second in command to the Duke of Wellington and commanded the cavalry. There is a famous remark attributed to him as a cannon ball hit him. He glanced down an remarked,, "By God, sir, I have lost my leg!" "By God, sir, so you have!" replied the Duke of Wellington.
A one time friend of the family was the famous artist, Rex Whistler. Plas Newydd has a large collection of his work and the glory of the place is Whistler's amazing 58 foot long mural in the diningroom. I have never seen anything remotely like this painting. It is surely unique. An art lover could spend endless hours standing in the diningroom just gazing at this wonderful piece of art. Having said this, Plas Newydd is, for me, a disappointment. It does not make me want to return again and again which other "stately homes" do. If you like sailing there is a boat which will take you on a sail along the Menai Strait from Plas Newydd.
A few miles away in llanfairpwll stands the Anglesey monument. This is Anglesey's answer to Nelson's column. It is 112 ft high and on the top stands the figure of Henry William Paget, First Marquess of Anglesey. I understand that the column stood alone for a number of years before the statue was placed at the top. There are steps inside so visitors can climb up and stand on the balcony above. Therre are stunning views on a clear day.
There are other estates on the island but this is by far the biggest and most grand of them. The Mona Copper Mine on Parys Mountain above Amlwch was owned by the Marquess of Anglesey. So he can be considered one of the island's old employers. Mind you, the dangers of working in the copper mines were considerable. Frequent deaths of orkers were the accepted order of the day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you learn something new every day!

I never new you could climb up the monument and I've driven past it hundreds of times.

Thanks for that Keith.

Plas Newydd was a dissapointment for me as well although the area about a mile south of it, Moel-y-don fishes quite well...

Sea Fishing and Walking in the UK

1:59 pm  
Blogger Keith Alexander said...

Next time you visit, Stu, just park up by the monument and "get up them stairs!"

If you like a good stately home I recommend looking at Penrhyn Castle outside Bangor. You will not be disappointed.

4:43 pm  

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