NANNAU: A RICH TAPESTRY OF WELSH HISTORY
by Philip Nanney Williams.
Published by Llwyn Estates, November 2016, 408pp.
Available at £25 from www.nannauhistory.com.
This substantial authoritative account of a great Welsh house, near Dolgellau, rises not to a denouement but to a whimper. For the present house, completed in 1795, probably to the designs of Joseph Bromfield of Shrewsbury, is now in utter dereliction. Pevsner in ‘Gwynedd’ uses the dreaded past tense to describe all of the interiors.
The building is in effect a shell, even then not complete — Bromfield’s wings of 1805 came down in 1971. The stables and the precipice walk with views from the commanding site which sits at 700 feet above sea level do remain. And yet this is an inglorious end to a timeline which commences in 1018 when the Nanney and Vaughan families first took possession of the manor. That this tragic but enriching story is told is down to the pride of the family and the stimulus provided by the newly established Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates, based at Bangor University.