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History

Castle Cottage main building dates from about 1585, one of four buildings in a row at the top of Y Llech which is a very steep road behind Harlech Castle. We think it was originally a farmhouse as it used to own pasture and land at the base of the hill. Adjacent to this is our Grade 2 listed annex, this was the towns only Inn during the 17 th century.

Llew Coch (Cymraeg) Red Lion (English)

In November 2002 we purchased the adjoining building, a Grade 2 listed 16th Century former inn known as The Red Lion. In this fantastic building we have created 4 superior en-suite bedrooms in an annex of character & historical interest.

The building is steeped in history having connections with illustrious persons of Harlech as well as being mentioned by various travellers of the C18 and being an important building within the town. It was a public house/coaching Inn known as the Red Lion in the C17 and C18 run by various members of the Anwyl Family. The Anwyls of Harlech were descended from the Anwyls of Parc, Llanfrothen, who claimed descent from Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of north Wales. James Anwyl (1794-1875) was a custodian of Harlech Castle. Unfortunately it fell into disrepair around 1830 due to revamping of the Blue Lion (now the Plas café) which then became the principle coaching Inn for the town.

During renovations we found various items of clothing hidden in a wall at the base of on of the 'A' frames - including two children's tunics or jackets which have been dated at about 1870 and in the roof we found a child's leather shoe - dated 1880 by shoe expert June Swann. It was the custom to place a child's shoe in the roof for good luck; we have replaced this with our youngest daughter’s shoe, hiding it in the roof before it was plastered.

The exterior of the building has been re-pointed using lime mortar, and has been re-roofed using reclaimed Welsh slates in a random style with 'lace valleys' (no lead is used, only overlapping slates) and is unique in the town of Harlech. In the rear courtyard we have uncovered the original cobblestones and restored it, and the front courtyard has been reset with reclaimed cobblestones of Welsh granite.

An extract from Dr Lewis Lloyd's book 'The Book Of Harlech'

Impressions of a Mr J.Hucks on a tour of north Wales in 1794

'..some of the inhabitants observing our operations, and probably taking us for free-booters, gave the alarm; and mustering a formidable body of forces, marched in military array, to dispossess us of our stronghold. But we soon pacified our opponents, and having convinced them that our intentions were neither predatory nor hostile, they retired to an alehouse to banish sorrow, and indulge themselves, at our expense, on copious libations of ale. The 'alehouse' was The Red Lion a tenement of the Corsygedol estate, just beyond the eastern edge of the castle green, which was then kept by Watkin Anwyl (1739 -1823) and his wife Catherine (1736 -1821). It was the town’s main hostelry but, while the Corsygedol Arms Inn at Barmouth was rebuilt in 1795, the Red Lion in Harlech received no such attention. Its inadequacies were tellingly described by Rev John Evans, one of the most informative literary tourists of this period, in 1798: ' It was now near evening, and prudence invited us to make this cheerless spot our residence for the night; but the inn offered no bed, nor anything better than a dirt floor, strewed with a few rushes. The Rev Evans concluded that The Red Lion was in keeping with the wretchedness of the town!!!

Hopefully we can offer a superior welcome and improved facilities to our guests than they did in the 18th century!

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