The first recorded owners of Gwydir were the Coetmores, who were responsible for building the Hall Range, the earliest surviving part of the house. Members of this family are recorded as having fought at the battles of Poitiers (1356), Shrewsbury (1402) and Agincourt (1415) as commanders of longbowmen.
Following the Wars of the Roses, the castle was rebuilt around 1490 by Meredith ap Ieuan ap Robert, founder of the Wynn dynasty and a leading regional supporter of King Henry VII. Originally a fortified manor house, Gwydir acquired additions in the 1540s (incorporating reused gothic building material from nearby Maenan Abbey), and was given a fine Elizabethan porch and gardens in the 1590s. Further additions were made c.1828 to designs by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament.
In the 1570s Gwydir was the home of Katherine of Berain, cousin of Queen Elizabeth I and the castle has associations with the Babington Plot (1586) and the Gunpowder Plot (1605). Other historical figures linked with the castle include Lord Leicester (Queen Elizabeth's favourite) Inigo Jones, 'the Father of English Palladianism', Bishop Morgan, translator of the first Welsh Bible and Archbishop John Williams, Lord Keeper under Charles I.
There is a long tradition of entertaining royalty at Gwydir. King Charles I is said to have visited in September 1645 as guest of Sir Richard Wynn, Treasurer to Queen Henrietta-Maria and Chief Groom of the Royal Bedchamber. In 1899 King George V and Queen Mary stayed here as Duke and Duchess of York.
Peter Welford and Judy Corbett bought Gwydir Castle in 1994, and since then have undertaken the restoration of both house and garden. The interiors are now furnished with their collection of early furniture, which includes some pieces originally from Gwydir Castle that have now been brought back following their dispersal by sale in 1921. Most significantly, in July 1998, HRH The Prince of Wales opened the newly reinstated 1640s Dining Room, the fine panelling and carving of which was dramatically recovered from the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1996. The story of the quest for, and eventual repatriation of this famous room is recounted in Judy Corbett's book Castles in the Air.
Famous for its peacocks, the castle is also known for its many ghosts and has the reputation for being one of the most haunted houses in Wales.
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