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The History of The Retreat, Brynhonddu
Bwlch Trewyn Estate, Pandy, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 7PD, Wales, UK.
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At The Retreat, Brynhonddu we are very proud of our 4* Grading for very good quality in the overall standard of furnishings, service and accommodation
Brynhonddu captured on film at around the turn of the century, showing Edwin Ely and his family
Brynhonddu captured on film in 1880 showing Edwin Ely and his family

The photograph above was very kindly donated by the Lewis family who visited from The States and who are descendants of the Ely line.

Brynhonddu originates from around the sixteenth century as a small estate known as Bwlch Trewyn;  (Bwlch translates as 'Gap in the Mountain' and Trewyn as 'House of the Whites').

It was sold in 1790, by the owners of Trewyn Estate (a neighbouring superior estate occupying land to the north) to the Reverend Morgan Morgan, Rector of Oldcastle and Vicar of Walterstone, and was later extensively extended.  The house passed down through the distaff line of the Morgan family, named Ely, then in 1928 it was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Festing.

In 1922 the house was renamed from Bwlch to Brynhonddu (translates as 'Hill above the Honddu River').

In 1945 it passed to Mr. & Mrs. Llewellyn who at the time owned Llanvapley Court (situated to the East of Abergavenny) which was being utilised by the Land Army for food production.  Brynhonddu served as a dwelling and as a base for their horse breeding activities.  Mr & Mrs Llewellyn's son, William, currently holds office in the clergy at Brecon, Powys, and their daughter Harriet is married to a diplomat in Canberra, Australia.

In 1951 Brynhonddu was passed on to the Wall brothers and their families, who in 1960 split the house into two separate dwellings due to a difference of opinion between their wives!  Children of the Wall brothers have visited on a number of occasions over the past few years.

Currently the main house is split into two dwellings.  The separate building to the north, was originally joined to the main house by a glass conservatory, within that conservatory were the stone steps leading up to the ballroom, situated over the coach-house beneath.  This building is now also two separate dwellings.

It is understood that in the past the complement of staff employed by the occupants of the main house included 4 maids and 6 gardeners.

We also believe that one of the owners from the 19th Century traded in tea and introduced some non-indigenous tree species from around the world.  We are fortunate to have in the grounds one of the oldest Ginkgo biloba species in the country.  (A pre-historic fruit bearing conifer, having no living relatives and originating in China).

The property is mentioned in Sir Joseph Bradney's 'A History of Monmouthshire' in Part 2a - The Hundreds of Abergavenny (Part 1) and much more details of the Genealogy behind Brynhonndu have been put together by the current owners and can be seen in a separate pdf document by Clicking Here.

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