Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 8, Part 3

The men leave Colwyn Bay at 12.15, and head towards Abergele.  They pass Llanddulas, Penmaen Rhos and Gwrych Castle.  They arrive in Abergele noting the train disaster that occurred there in 1868.  They pass Bodelwyddan Church and Bodelwyddan Castle and see the Cambria going out to sea just before them.

Sale catalogue and plan of Gwrych Castle Estate 1946
DD/DM/1135/2 – Sale catalogue and plan of Gwrych Castle Estate 1946, from our minor deposit collection. Available to view at Denbighshire Archives.

We left Colwyn at 12.15 en route for Abergele, we pass along the road to Llanddulas passing near the headland of Penmaen Rhos, where Richard the 2nd is said to have been taken prisoner.  We pass on and come to some old fashioned stone built high castle gates and walls, and stop and read the various inscriptions on them.  One states it was near this where Richard 2nd was betrayed, another states that it was a pass where a bloody battle was fought by the Welsh men etc etc.   We continue on and find we are near Gwrych Castle the residence of Robert Bamford Hesketh Esq, the castle is situated at the base of a hill amongst limestone cliffs, richly dotted in foliage.  As we saw it at a distance it presents a remarkably unique appearance, reminding one of the fairy palaces of eastern Princes, it is a modern castellated edifice composed of many walls and both round and square towers of various sizes placed on terraces on isolated knolls, and in rocky recesses in so confused a manner as to make it almost impossible for a stranger to discover which are the inhabited portions of the Castle, and which have been built for effect only.  The frontage of the Castle measures 480 yards and its tower is 93 feet high, it has no less than 17 turrets, it is one of the finest places I ever saw, and is no doubt one of the grandest and most picturesque places in North Wales.

We pass on past the principal entrance gates and arrive at Abergele, this place is noted as the scene of the terrible railway accident which occurred on 20th August 1868, when the Irish mail run into some trucks laden with petroleum that had escaped from the siding of Llanddulas almost instantly came a vast blaze from the ignited spirit and the train was enveloped in flames.  Lord and Lady Farnham and some 33 others met with instant death, their remains being interred in one grave in Abergele Church yard.

We stop for a time at a Hotel on our left and then drive on through Abergele en route for Rhyl, some miles away.  We see some distance on our right Bodelwyddan Church one of the most beautiful and exquisitely finished Churches inWales.  The spire we see is 202 feet high its interior is built with marbleof every hue, its stained glass, its carving in stone and wood makes it a place worth seeing.

I regret we did not pass nearer to it in order to have a close look at it, it was opened in 1860, and was built of white marble, quarried on the estate at a cost of sixty thousand pounds.  The woodwork is oak throughout, the pulpit being a marvel of the carvers art, the Church was erected by the late Lady Willoughby de Broke in memory of her husband.  In the distance we see Bodelwyddan Castle, we pass on over the railway bridge at Foryd Station, and on again over the river bridge where we again pay 6d to cross the water.  We soon see the “Cambria” putting out to sea for an hours sail, the ladies having arrived before us.

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