Talhenbont Hall (also known as Plas Hen), the former home of the Ellis-Nanney Family, is up for sale.
Below, is a brief history from a book, relating to the original purchase of the property by Owen Jones-Ellis-Nanney, who also owned the adjoining Gwynfryn estate.
His uncle, David Ellis-Nanney, from whom he inherited the lands, built a house called Ty Nanney, in Tremadoc. There is an image and text:
David Ellis Nanney text - http://www.tremadog.org.uk/content/29.phphttp://www.tremadog.org.uk/content/29.php
Ty Nanney image - http://www.tremadog.org.uk/content/14.php?image_id=48http://www.tremadog.org.uk/content/14.php?image_id=48
Something I also found, is a picture of the interior of Rowland Ellis's house, Bry Mawr - http://www.eryri-npa.co.uk/page/screen.php?nav1=extras&nav2=3&nav3=502&nav4=1&nav5=1&lang=eng&level=1&searchword=bryn%20mawr&number=200http://www.eryri-npa.co.uk/page/screen.php?nav1=extras&nav2=3&nav3=502&nav4=1&nav5=1&lang=eng&level=1&searchword=bryn%20mawr&number=200
Gwynfryn (Griffith's Pedigrees p164)
When Owen Jones of Brynhir came into his uncle's estates, that land which he received
in Rhwng-dwyfor-a-dwyfach was not very extensive, but the properties belonging to
Bodychen and Cefndeuddwr (Griffith p 165) made his inheritance an impressive one, and he was able to
buy back his family land in Criccieth in 1838. On settling at Gwynfryn he added the names
Ellis-Nanney to his own (a condition of the inheritance). He soon began to buy up all the land he could in the neighbour-
hood of his new home. To the north he already had the old Dynannau lands, which had
come through Zaccheus Ellis, namely Bryn beddau, Ynys Heli, Tir bach, and Bwlch
Dwyfor. He was able to purchase Sintir from William Ormsby Gore, Hendre from Robert
Jones, and Penyllygaid from Sir Thomas Mostyn; from the latter he also obtained Glyn
and Tyddyn Sianel in the south part of the township. Thus by 1839, the date of the tithe
apportionment schedule, he owned the whole of the western half of the district with the
exception of Y Fron Oleu, which was firmly held on to by its owner-occupier, Robert
Owen Jones Ellis-Nanney was a bucolic character, and a thorough-going Welshman,
indistinguishable at sight from the neighbouring farmers; indeed he would at times take
a delight in being mistaken for an out-of-work farmhand, and would ask a stranger,
met when out for a walk, if there was any chance of getting a job at the Plas. He took a
fatherly interest in all his tenants, and enjoyed pulling their legs on rent-day, his jokes
often ending in a substantial benefit to the person being teased. He was affectionately
known by all as `the old Major', and in that role he passed his half century as an appar-
ntly confirmed bachelor.
In 1843, at the age of fifty-three, he decided that it was time to secure an heir for his
states, and he took a step far wiser than any that had been taken by his many predeces-
ors at Gwynfryn. He married a young girl of twenty-three, Mary, the daughter and
heiress of Hugh Jones of Hengwrt Uchaf, a wealthy banker at Dolgelley. The year after
this marriage the huge Plas Hen estate, adjoining Gwynfryn, came on the market, as
must have been for some time expected, and Ellis Nanney was able to buy the whole of
the eastern part of its lands, his father-in-law putting up the purchase price of £50,000.
The next year, 1845, a son and heir was born; this was Hugh John Ellis-Nanney, and
the Plas Hen estate was settled on him, being held by trustees until he should come of
age. His mother died a few years later at the age of twenty-nine, without further issue.
Hugh's upbringing and education gave him an entirely different character from that of his
father. He was almost completely anglicized, and cut off from any close relationship with
the local people of his homeland.
Hugh Ellis-Nanney came of age in 1866, and his father died four years later at the age of
eighty. During his minority the profits of the Plas Hen estate had been accumulating, and
when he inherited Gwynfryn at the age of twenty-five he found himself a very rich man.
He decided to pull down the ancient Plas in which his predecessors had lived as local
squires and kindly landlords, and in its place he planned a vast stone castle, which was
to typify in the eyes of the local people the change which had come about under the reign
of the new and youthful owner. The house was many years in building and is said to have
In 1875 Hugh married the Hon. Elizabeth Dillon, daughter of Lord Clonbrock of
County Galway. By her he had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, born in 1877, and an only
son, Owen Gerald, who was born in 1879 and died at the age of eight at Bournemouth in
a situation which recalls to mind the death of little Paul Dombey.
Sir Hugh Ellis Nanney was created a baronet in 1897, and he has entered the pages of
history through his defeat by the young champion of the common people, David Lloyd
George, so becoming the archetype of the oppressive landlord. When the Land Com-
missioners were gathering their evidence in 1893, the agent of the Gwynfryn estate was
asked whether he thought that the good of the community should be an element in the
formation of a good land system; he answered with his master's voice, 'Absolutely not.
I do not see that the outside public has anything to do with it.'
Sir Hugh died on the 7th of June 1920, and the Gwynfryn, Plas Hen, and Brynhir
estates were inherited by his daughter, who had married the local rector, the Reverend
John Price Lewis. After the death of Lady Nanney, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis left Gwynfryn
and settled at Plas Hen to which house they gave the name Talhenbont (Griffith p 179), and the whole
estate then became known as the Talhenbont estate. Mrs. Lewis, as a widow without
issue, died on the 12th of February 1947. Gwynfryn, which had been a rest-home for
the clergy, became a hospital for old people, and subsequently an hotel. Some ten years
later the whole estate was sold, almost entirely to the tenants, and on the 30th of Septem-
ber 1959 the remaining portions were sold off at public auction in the Church Hall,
Criccieth, to close the estate.