The other weekend I proudly attended my brother’s wedding as his best-man, the venue for this happy occasion turned out to be one of the most beautiful old building I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in.

Hidden within the maze of country lanes in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales can be found Plas Llanmihangel a mediaeval mansion sat atop a small hill and overlooking the 13th century church of St Michael and all Angels Church, Lianmihangel is the village that the house is situated and Plas is the welsh word for mansion. The current owner David and Sue Beers have spent the last 24 years lovingly restoring the building and now run it as arguably one of Wale’s if not the UK’s most interesting bed and breakfast establishments.

Plas Llanmihangel

The oldest parts of the building are believed to have been constructed in the 1200’s with several additions added at various stages through the centuries with much of the current building being of Tudor construction creating a almost fairytale building with 13 stairs cases and 28 rooms. The Beers believe that the original building was destroyed by Owain Glyndwr in his rebellion against the English landowners in the 15th century. Plas Llanmihangel is described as ‘ one of the finest and most complete examples of early gentry houses in Glamorgan’ by the Royal commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales. Though these days the house has only 12 acres attached the original estate would have been approximately 400 acres consisting of grazing, a deer park, a fish pond, orchards and formal gardens which had over 100 yew trees, some of which still can be found there.

As with all building like this there have been a succession of owners though the years. The house was originally owned by the Earls of Gloucester and is mentioned in a record of the manor being given to Sir Robert Norris some time before 1320 when it is mentioned in a survey as belonging to Sir John Norris. The fireback plate in the main hall has to coat of arms for the Earls of Exeter, the Chicheles which suggests that they once occupied the house. In the latter half of the 15th century the Thomas family a leading Welsh family owned Plas Llanmihangel. In the latter half of the 1600’s it was in the possession of Sir Humphrey Edwin who in 1697 was the Lord Mayor of London.

As you can imagine a place like Plas Llanmihangel has more than it’s fair share of ghost tales. One such tale hearkens back to the 15th century where the fear of witch’s of other dark forces could lead to dire consequences for anyone suspected of meddling in the dark arts even if that was nothing more than having knowledge of plants, herbs and some old folk remedies. This state of fear and superstition led to a local heiress being branded as a witch and heavy iron ring was placed around her wrist to mark her out as evil.

She lived in the old Manor House of Plas Llanmihangell, which overlooked the small church and fish pond and on one dark night she drowned herself in the pool and since that day ‘The Lady of the Ring’ as she has become known is said to rise in a ghostly mist from the now all but filled in  pool at twilight.

 

Links

www.plasllanmihangel.co.uk (House website, run as a B&B)

 

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