Tŷ Newydd is a Grade II* listed building, built in the fifteenth century as a timber framed house where the current Hall now sits. It had a central hearth and ancillary rooms for preparing food and sleeping. The timber walls were later replaced with stone and an upper floor was added. A recently uncovered internal wall from this time has been re-erected in the Hall, near to where it once stood. Parish records from the 16th century tell us that the house was owned by Rowland Owen.
Remodelled in the mid-1700s by Robert Williams and his son William, the three-storey Georgian frontage you now see transformed the house into a more upmarket residence. Tŷ Newydd’s fortunes reversed during the nineteenth and early twentieth century as it became increasingly run down under the stewardship of tenant farmers and rectors. A full renovation and new additions, such as the library window and the front window finials, were made in the early 1940s by the famous architect Clough Williams-Ellis on behalf of former resident David Lloyd George PM.
During the late 1980s, new owner Sally Baker and her partner Elis started restoring the house and grounds from its 1960s conversion into multiple holiday flats. Working with the Welsh Arts Council through the advocacy and hard graft of writer Gillian Clarke and her husband David, and also Meic Stephens and Robert Minhinnick, Sally launched Tŷ Newydd as Wales’ writing centre in 1990. Tŷ Newydd blossomed during the 1990s, with a growing team of staff and sold-out programmes running throughout the year. Many eminent writers have visited as guests, tutors and participants including Seamus Heaney, Menna Elfyn, Carol Ann Duffy, Mererid Hopwood and Owen Sheers. A major redevelopment in 2005 saw the building of the conservatory and reconditioning of many of the rooms, including in Hafoty – the house’s ancient outbuildings. In 2015 the interiors were updated and new artistic works commissioned thanks to a Lottery Capital Grant from Arts Council of Wales, and grants from the Ashley Family Foundation and the Welsh Academy.
Further information and photographs on the history of the house can be found on the panels in the entranceway to the house when you arrive.