Best viewed in winter, when the trees provide a filigree backdrop, "Y Twr" was a monument to the vanity of James Huddart, of Brynkir House fame. He was knighted in 1821, the year when George IV succeeded to the throne and it seems that the folly was a celebration of personal success by someone with rather too much money. However, it also provided local craftsmen with work, in the slump just after the Napoleonic wars, so as a hubristic vainglory it perhaps wasn't so bad. North Wales is full of these gestures in the landscape, one only has to look towards Portmeirion or perhaps the wedding present folly of Castell Brondanw.
Some claim that Huddart was knighted for his services to industry and the sinking of speculative mine enterprises, others that he had the tap on the shoulder from the king while on the Royal Britannia Bridge, which would certainly support the claims to be a captain of industry. He was also a chum of William Alexander Madocks; but at least the Cob was more than a monument to vanity, it was actually of some use.
I shouldn't be too hard on the poor fellow, he might have been a self-made millionaire, but he did provide employment for local folk at a time when the only other option was to starve or go to the workhouse. And his rather over-enthusiastic mining activities eventually put him in dire financial straits, as they did many an over-enthusiastic entrepreneur.
Which brings the story round, rather ironically, to the present day. The tower has been finely restored by it's present owner, Richard Williams, after having fallen into disrepair. The floors had gone altogether and it was possible to look from the door up through the entire structure to the sky. Helpfully, the Welsh heritage body Cadw came to the rescue, as the building is Grade II* Listed. It then became possible for Mr Williams to apply for grant aid and after a great deal of effort and money from the owners, the tower is back to it's former glory.
Until recently, anyone could stay there for a week or so, provided they had enough disposable income to spare. Sadly, the tower has disappeared from the holiday let listings- I hope it will be back soon. The views across to Hendre Ddu Slate Mine and Cwm Pennant would be fine, while sipping a morning coffee.
My post about the Plas is here.
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