Penrhyn Castle - Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales - A 19th Century Masterpiece of Opulence

By Hoosie | I do like a good castle | 20 Mar 2022


Penrhyn Castle sits on the outskirts of Bangor, in the county of Gwynedd, North Wales. The castle we see today was built in the first half of the 19th Century, but there appears to have been some form of castle there since about the 15th century.

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The building is quite beautiful, and it is set in fantastic grounds. As can be seen above the fire red ivy growing up the walls looks amazing.

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The castle was designed by Thomas Hopper, and fair play - he created a master piece. It is beautiful both inside and out, although I didnt take any photos inside on the day we went (I cant remember exactly whay - but maybe internal photography was not allowed).

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I have to say the castle is quite beautiful - but it has a back story that is not so fabulous. The family that built the castle gained a lot of their wealth from slavery.

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They owned plantations in Jamaica in addition to slate mines in North Wales. Although the welsh workers in the slate mines were not technically slaves - they were effectively treated like them, because their working conditions and way of life were awful.

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Many welsh slate workers died young in mid-life due to the toll slate mining took on their bodies - it was strenuous and fumes caused breathing difficulties and lung conditions. They were also always in debt to the mining company (the owners of the mine and the castle) because they basically mined an area allocated to them, but had to pay for their own equipment, etc - and it always worked out that they could never quite cover their costs, so were always in-dept to the mining company, and always had to work more to try and pay of the dept. This was a deliberate strategy taken by the company to effectively maintain a captive workforce.

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As such, many of the locals are still against the castle and what it stands for. The owners lived a life of complete luxury due to the suffering of others.

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It truly is a ghastly history.

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The castle is now in the hands of the National Trust - with the grounds and the castle open to visitors most of the year round.

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Although the castle does have a questionable back history, it is dealt with well within the exhibition within the castle, and they do not shy away from it. For that reason, I'd say it is still worth visiting. And when you visit, you are supporting the National Trust and all of the good work it does.

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I originally posted this on Hive on 19/03/22 (link to original post).  All pics are my own.

Links:

Penrhyn Castle, National Trust

If you want to support important buildings, history and heritage in Wales and the UK, then please consider the following:

National Trust - Protecting important buildings and properties across the UK

For a reasonable annual membership price, the National Trust provides access to numerous historic properties across England & Wales which are great for days out.  Once you've been a member for more than a year you also got access to other properties in Scotland and further a field (half price entry during your first year, and then it should be completely free when you have been a member for more than a year) - so its well worth the investment, plus its all for a good cause. 

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Hoosie
Hoosie

ETF, mutual fund and crypto trader - trying to accumulate crypto coin from freebies with very little financial input. My main investments are made in mutual funds and ETFs on the Fidelity International investment platform.


I do like a good castle
I do like a good castle

In my spare time I enjoy visiting castles - being a member of both English Heritage and the National Trust for Scotland gives me year round access to a heck of a lot of them within the British Isles. I'll place the odd post about some of the ones I've visited. The picture used for the blog is Dunstaffnage Castle, which is located on the West Coast of Scotland, in Argyll & Bute, on the edge of the village of Dunbeg - close to Oban.

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