Pencerrig, Llanelwedd, Llandrindod Road, Powys LD2 3TF
Pencerrig is an 18th century country house extensively remodelled in the 1830s in an attractive neo-gothic style and set among the Radnorshire hills. It was the home of the notable 18th century Welsh landscape painter and early student of the ‘Picturesque Landscape’ movement, Thomas Jones (1742-1803), who landscaped the parkland and painted many scenes around Pencerrig.
The house is listed grade II and is considered a fine example of early Victorian neo-gothic. Pencerrig’s landscaped grounds and gardens are on Cadw's list of Registered Parks and Gardens.
The house was occupied by Thomas Jones’ family in the 18th century and then passed down through marriage to the Thomas family until the Pencerrig estate was split up and sold off in the 1950s. Since then it has been operated as a trekking centre and as the Pencerrig Gardens Hotel until it finally closed in 2008. Abandoned for over a decade, it has recently been abused as a cannabis factory then by trespassing urban explorers.
Many of Thomas Jones’ paintings and his Memoirs and Account Books remained hidden among his descendants at Pencerrig until the 1950s but when his paintings began to appear on the art market, they were highly sought after and bought up by many of the major British and American art galleries. A 2003 exhibition at the National Museum of Wales called him “An Artist Rediscovered”. Several of his local Radnorshire views are still identifiable from the grounds of Pencerrig today. His manuscript Memoirs, Day Books and Hafod Sketchbook were bequeathed to the National Library of Wales and are considered rare and important 18th century source materials.
One descendant, Miss Clara Thomas (1842-1914), became a wealthy heiress who, after inheriting 14,000 acres of land including productive south Wales coalfields, was said to be the richest woman in Wales. A noted philanthropist, she gave away about £35,000 each year of her annual income of £40,000 to local churches, schools, hospitals, miners housing and hall, and other social causes - often anonymously. She developed the gardens at Pencerrig.
However, the neglected house is now in very poor condition with a significant dry rot problem, leaking roof, a number of other structural issues and is at risk of further vandalism. Much urgent repair work is needed soon – under responsible ownership with largescale funding - if this historic house and landscaped setting are to survive.
Pencerrig is important as a national heritage asset for Wales and a much-loved venue for the local community.