Gregynog has existed for 800 years. By the 16th century it was the home of the Blayney family, local gentry who claimed descent from the early Welsh princes and whose courage and benevolence were praised by the court poets. Their coat of arms is the centrepiece of the fine oak carvings in what we now call the Blayney Room.
For hundreds of years Gregynog was one of Montgomeryshire’s leading landed estates, at the heart of the community and the local economy. The Blayney squires gave way to the Lords Sudeley, then Lord Joicey.
After several hundred years of private ownership, in 1913 a huge estate sale saw Gregynog’s farms, cottages and woodlands sold off, many to their tenants. Gregynog Hall might have been demolished had not the wealthy Davies sisters acquired it in 1920 to become the headquarters of their enterprise to bring art, music and creative skills to the people of Wales in the aftermath of the First World War.
For twenty years the house was full of music, fine furniture and ceramics, hand-printed books from the Gregynog Press and, most extraordinary of all, the sisters’ collection of paintings by artists such as Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh. Leading lights, such as George Bernard Shaw and Gustav Holst visited during these years for musical concerts – or simply to enjoy the beautiful gardens and woodland walks.
At the end of the 1950s, after wartime use as a Red Cross convalescent home, Gregynog was bequeathed to the University of Wales as a conference centre. It welcomed its first students in 1963 and they’ve been coming ever since! But the old Gregynog lives on – the music, the art, the printing press and the gardens. It is still a magical, timeless place where you can walk in the grounds on a quiet evening and listen to the birdsong just as the Davies sisters did many decades ago.
Click on a link below to download tales from the History of Gregynog:
The ancient family of Blayney, and to whom Gregynog belonged from the earliest times, dates its origin from a Prince of Powys, called Brochwell Ysgythrog, probably so named from the prominence of his teeth.
W. Scott Owen ‘History of Gregynog’ 1888