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Wales

Bodnant Hall (Bodnant Garden)

  • House & Family History: Henry David Pochin, the son of a yeoman farmer from Leicestershire, invented a clarified rosin (the basis of soap) that enabled soap to be white—for the first time—rather than the traditional brown. He then went on to invent alum cake, which was widely used in the papermaking industry. In 1874 Pochin used the profits from his inventions to purchase Bodnant and its estate of 25 surrounding farms. The House was built in 1792 and originally had sash windows and white stucco covering. Pochin enlarged and altered the House, facing it with yellow sandstone mullions and blue granite. He also created the framework of the Dell, laid out the Laburnum Walk, and, in 1882, added a Conservatory to the House. Pochin also built the family mausoleum, enigmatically called "The Poem." Pochin's daughter, Laura, inherited the Estate upon the death of her father in 1895. Laura was married to Charles McLaren, a barrister and MP who was elevated to the peerage in 1911 as Baron Aberconway, which means "mouth of the Conway."

    Comments: Bodnant is considered one of the most spectacular gardens in the world.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Bodnant sits high above the River Conwy and looks across the valley to the Snowdon range (the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands). The garden contains large native trees, many dating to 1792, and is in two parts: the upper part around the House consists of the Terrace Gardens and lawns; the lower part, or Dell, is formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn and contains the Wild Garden and the Pinetum. The gardens were begun in 1875 and are the product of four generations of Aberconways. There are currently over 80 acres of gardens open to the public at Bodnant, including the Upper Rose Terrace, the Croquet Terrace, the North Garden, the Lily Terrace, the Pergola and Lower Rose Terrace, the Canal Terrace (including the Pin Mill), the Big Rockery, the Dell, the Waterfall, the Round Garden, and the famous 165-foot-long tunnel of laburnum (the longest in Britain), which blooms from mid-May to early June. In 2012 four new areas opened to the public: the Winter Garden, the Old Park Meadow, the Yew Dell, and The Far End. The Italian-style terraces near the House were laid out between 1904 and 1914. In 1938 Henry Duncan, 2nd Lord Aberconway, purchased and removed the Pin Mill folly from its original site in Gloucestershire and re-erected it on the Canal Terrace at Bodnant. The Pin Mill is similar in style and date to the Gothic Summer House at Frampton Court in Gloucestershire and may have been associated with that house, considering that the folly once stood near Frampton. In the early 20th century the Pin Mill was used as a factory for making pins and was later was used by a tanner for storing his hides. In 1949 the 2nd Lord Aberconway persuaded The National Trust to accept the gardens at Bodnant (together with an endowment provided by the family) into its care on their own merit, rather than simply as an adornment attached to a country house. Bodnant was the second garden accepted by the Trust on this basis (the first was Hidcote in Gloucestershire). The House was not included in the gift to the Trust, and the family continues to live there today. The Garden at Bodnant is one of the most popular in Wales, attracting approximately 200,000 visitors per year.

  • Title: Bodnant Garden Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2001
    Publisher: Norwich: Jarrold Publishing
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: National Trust Handbook 2000, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: National Trust Magazine, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Number 87, page 19
    Publisher: Swindon: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

  • House Listed: Grade II

    Park Listed: Grade I

  • Treasure Hunt" (1986 - TV game show series, episode 4.2, "Clwyd"). "Antiques Roadshow" (2008 - BBC TV series, episode 31.12). "The Secret Garden" (2020 - as the garden).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Henry Charles McLaren, 4th Baron Aberconway.

    Past Seat / Home of: Henry David Pochin, 19th century. Henry Duncan McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Home of Lord and Lady Aberconway. Gardens are owned by the National Trust and administered by the McLaren family.

  • House Open to Public: Grounds Only

    Phone: 01492-650-460

    Fax: 01492-650-448

    Email: bodnantgarden@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No