Conwy is not a big town so it didn’t take long to walk from the bridge up to Aberconwy House, which is on the corner of High Street and Castle Street. Apart from the castle and the church, it is the town’s oldest building, with parts believed to be as old as 14th century, although its present construction was completed sometime in the 16th century. Ideally located not far from the quay, it has served mainly as a merchant’s house, but also spent some years in the 19th century as a Temperance Hotel.
The rooms of the house are presented to show several different periods in the building’s history. The kitchen and dining room are designed around the time of Captain Samuel Williams, a prosperous slate, copper and lead trader, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, while the Great Chamber upstairs has an earlier feel and is furnished as it might have been when the merchant Evan David owned the property in the 17th century. During the Civil War, there was said to be a great divide in Conwy society, with Royalists and Parliamentarians in constant battle. Many of the town’s older buildings were destroyed during this time but the volunteer told us that Aberconwy may well have been home to a Parliamentarian spy, which would account for its survival.
The bedroom upstairs takes us forward in time again to the period when the house was run as a Temperance Hotel by William and Jane Jones. The town would have been full of inns and pubs at this time – many of them likely to be fairly rowdy – but the hotel offered a safer and more wholesome option for travellers, albeit at a slightly inflated cost. As with the bridge, a visit to Aberconwy House doesn’t take long but the volunteers can tell you more about the town and the castle as well as the properties owned by the NT. We were interested to hear about the various ways in which Conwy Castle has fallen to the enemy over the years; it seems that it is fairly impregnable and can be held by only a minimal number of men… unless the enemy dresses up as tradesmen or builders and walks right in through the back door!
Highlights: A varied history
Refreshments: None (although I can highly recommend Parisella’s Ice Cream Parlour just up the High Street from Aberconwy House – fantastic ice cream sundaes and crêpes)