WHEREVER you go in Ceredigion, you are able to see snippets of history.

Today, we will take a look at the history of Llanerchaeron House in Aberaeron.

Llanerchaeron House was bought in 1634 by Llewellyn Parry. The exact date of construction of the initial house is unknown but the Parry family – who traced their lineage back to the Welsh princes – lived in the 500-acre estate with a small formal garden, which National Trust believes could have been the first in Wales.

The following century saw the estate expand as more land was purchased and also a marriage into the Lewis family of the Ciliau Aeron estate.

Colonel William Lewis married Corbetta Williams Powell in 1786. This marriage to the heiress to Nanteos mansion provided the Lewis family with a higher social status and a large dowry which allowed for renovation works to the farmhouse.

Tivyside Advertiser: Downstairs at LlanerchaeronDownstairs at Llanerchaeron

In the 1790s, John Nash was employed as an architect to work on the mansion – with much of what we see today being a product of his work. He was quite unknown in the field at the time but would go on to be a household name, designing the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and Buckingham Palace.

The existing farmhouse was transformed into the elegant Georgian villa that is seen today. It is a simple two storey block with a central cobbled yard. Inside, there is an elegant staircase which leads to the upper floor which houses eight rooms.

The home has an elegant but understated theme. The drawing room has views across to St Non’s Church, which Nash also helped to remodel.

There are a number of ‘below stairs’ rooms including servants bedrooms, beer cellars, butler’s pantry, kitchen, scullery, game larder, dairy, cheese press room, bakehouse, smokehouse, brew house and dry laundry.

William and Corbetta passed the mansion on to their son John following William’s death in 1828. He married a woman called Mary Ashby Mettam but died in 1855 without a child as his heir.

He named his sister and her daughter as his heirs, who took over the estate, with the condition that Mary be allowed to live at Llanerchaeron for as long as she lived, but she could not make any changes.

Mary was said to have been a fantastic lady, with tenants speaking highly of her in 1913: “The reputation which you have acquired in the discharge of your public duties as a large landed proprietor has been well sustained by the great respectability of your private character… Your name will remain in mid-Cardiganshire for a very long time and will be ever mentioned with sincere affection.”

She lived at and ran the estate in a maternal and progressive way until her 1917 death at the age of 104. By this point, both original heirs had died and the estate was passed to Captain Thomas Powell Lewes.

He made some minor alterations and in 1919, moved into Llanerchaeron. Some of the alterations included fireplaces in some of the rooms, fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms and the first bathroom.

Tivyside Advertiser: Herb garden at LlanerchaeronHerb garden at Llanerchaeron

He also added an electrical system within the house to make use of the water wheel. The water wheel charged two large batteries that were brought to the house to run electric lights and sockets.

During Captain Powell’s life at the estate, there was a lot of financial hardship and many mansions suffered, but Llanerchaeron was kept going by the sale of some of the acres of land. He would die in 1940 and the estate would pass to his sole son John Powell Ponsonby Lewes.

He would go on to live at and manage the remaining 760 acres including the villa and farm until his 1989 death at the age of 89.

He left the estate to the National Trust which allows visitors to see not only the villa and estate but also a number of special collections of items from Pamela Ward’s collection of curios and Geler Jones’ collection of agricultural, industrial and domestic treasures.