Throughout the early 17th Century Plas Teg was a family home for the Trevors
By Mark Baker
Imposing Plas Teg has a colourful history dating back 400 years, writes Mark, author of the book Plas Teg - A Jacobean Country House
The historic and architecturally important mansion of Plas Teg has dominated the Welsh countryside for nearly 400 years.
It was built by Sir John Trevor I in about 1610; it was here that this eminent courtier expressed his worldly aspirations and social standings through the grandeur of his private residence, which undoubtedly was used for sumptuous entertaining.
At the time of construction it was the most advanced house in Wales and few others of this date can truly be compared to its uniqueness.
Throughout the early 17th Century it was primarily a family home and the setting for lavish entertainments put on by the Trevor family.
It was only after the death of Lady Margaret Trevor, wife of Sir John Trevor I and the onset of the Civil War that the house was tenanted out and the family resided at their other residences.
During the 18th Century it was used off and on by the family and it was only until Lord and Lady Dacre inherited that Plas Teg once again became a family home.
The young couple set about altering the house, gardens and outbuildings, a trend continued by their heir Cadwallader Blayney Trevor-Roper.
It was this young, Irish born, distant relative that inherited the wealthy Plas Teg estate on the Mold-Wrexham border in 1809 following the death of Lady Dacre, an action that did not sit well with the Trevalyn Trevors who felt they were deprived of their rightful inheritance.
For nearly a Century, Plas Teg was, in the main, a happy home, housing subsequent generations of the Trevor-Ropers.
It was through the devastating effect of two World Wars and multiple death duties that this came to an end and the estate was broken up to be sold.
During the Second World War, the house and outbuildings were requisitioned by the War Office to house soldiers and it was during this time that the decay of Plas Teg began.
In 1945 it was sold to Dodds the auctioneers who used it as a furniture store and by the mid 1950s it was an estate of advanced decay.
Dodds applied for its demolition which was refused following a public outcry and Plas Teg was brought back by Patrick Trevor-Roper, a direct descendant of the original owners.
He partially restored the house and let it out to various friends and acquaintances including a distant relation of mine.
By the late 1970s, the house proved too unwieldy and it was sold privately to a young student couple who, in turn, found it hard to cope with such a vast property.
Then in 1986, it was bought by Cornelia Bayley, who had experience of restoring historic houses, managing to return Plas Teg to its former glory.
Despite its fame as one of the most haunted houses in Wales, Mrs Bayley has never forgotten Sir John Trevor I's lavish original vision.
She has restored the destroyed formal gardens, forecourt and gazebos which had all but disappeared at the end of the 18th century.
Today, its interiors are sumptuously filled with an interesting and notable collection of antique furniture, porcelain, objets d'arts and paintings dating from the 17th century to the present day.
I began writing the history of this notable country house whilst I was a guest of Mrs Bayley at Plas Teg some years ago.
It felt as if I was living in history, walking in the footsteps of the Trevors; it was truly a unique experience to be able to step back in time.
The research took me all over the country from the National Library of Wales to Glynde Place, Sussex, to Hawarden Record Office, enabling me to amass a vast amount of information regarding Plas Teg and the Trevor family.
I also used an archaeological and architectural approach using the structure of the house to learn more about its past, for example its layout falls into three distinct areas - public, private and service.
This proved to be most important into understanding how the house functioned during its 400-year history.
One cannot undervalue the personal touches that survive the centuries from previous inhabitants; I included in the book the day to day diary of Charlotte Blanche Trevor-Roper who grew up at Plas Teg during the 1850s.
This proved to be hugely important in illustrating life at one of Wales' most important Jacobean country houses.