Or – for those who don’t understand Welsh –
We explore Dyffryn House and Gardens
It took us 4 hours to reach Dyffryn in the Vale of Glamorgan by coach and 3 hours to return home – but it was certainly worth it.
Even though there were only a few rooms open to the public in the house there was still plenty to see and the gardens were wonderful. The NT is fortunate in that one of the original owners commissioned paintings of the gardens in their heyday so they have fantastic pictures to guide them as they are gradually restored. Despite being there from 12:30 until 4:30 we didn’t see everything especially bearing in mind that we had lunch during that time.
The building is most impressive from the outside and we could see why someone wanted to convert it into a hotel – but, unfortunately, ran out of money so just left it.
The story of Dyffryn dates back to the 7th century. The house was then called the Manor of Worlton and was given to the Bishop Oudaceous of Llandaf. In the 16th century the Button family acquired the manor and the first house was built. The family occupied the estate for a number of generations and the name was changed to Duffryn House.
In 1891 the estate was sold to John Cory, an extremely wealthy coal merchant, who built the present house in 1893. He moved here from Devon with his wife Anne, and two of his four children Florence and Reginald. Reginald was a passionate horticulturalist and collaborated on the garden design with Thomas Mawson. You can still see evidence of the family’s vast wealth today – from the 16th century fireplaces to the commissioned stained glass window.
Following Florence’s death in 1937. The estate was purchased by Sir Cennydd Traherne who later leased it to the Glamorgan County Council in 1939. There followed a chequered period of institutional use as a police academy, dog training centre and education conference facility.
The house and gardens are still owned by the Vale of Glamorgan council, but the National Trust took over their maintenance and running in January 2013 on a 50 year lease. A lot of conservation work has been done to the house and gardens by the council and now the NT can build on that work and secure Dyffryn’s future.
Our visit started with a buffet lunch and then we were free to explore the magnificent grounds and to check on the work being carried out inside the house – which was found with no floorboards and rewiring etc only partially completed.