Aberglassney Manor House

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Historic Buildings

ABERGLASSNEY PIC

Aberglassney Manor House is situated in Carmarthenshire. The origins of Aberglassney are shrouded in mystery and myths which have grown over the years. The old genealogies show ten generations of Welshmen before the arrival of Bishop Rudd, who in the mid 1600’s built the house we see today.
In the 13th century Gruffydd ab Elidir and his son Owain resided at the property. Half a century later came Llewelyn ap Llewelyn Ddu. In the1470’s the owner was William ap Thomas.
The next owners were three generations of the Thomas family including, Captain William Thomas, who was killed in Zutphen in 1586. It is believed Sir William and his wife Gaenor sold the property to Bishop Rudd, who rebuilt the house.
The Bishop’s son, Sir Rice Rudd was a favourite of James I, married well but received heavy fines for his Royalist sympathies during the Civil War. During 1664, Sir Rice was succeeded by his grandson, the second Sir Rice and in 1710 the house was sold to Robert Dyer.
Robert Dyer only lived in the house for ten years before he died in 1720, passing the house onto his eldest son, who was also named Robert and married to Frances Croft of Croft Castle. By 1752, Robert Dyer and Frances Croft’s son, Robert Archer Dyer, inherited the house. Both he and his brother married Herbert sisters.
Robert Archer Dyer and his son, William Herbert Dyer, both struggled financially and in 1798, Aberglassney was put up for sale.
In 1803, Thomas Phillips, who had served as a surgeon with the East India Company for 30 years, bought Aberglassney. He died in 1824, and as he had no children, his estate was left to his nephew John Walters who then took on the surname of Phillips.
John Walters Phillips had 4 children, his son had died in infancy, his daughters, grown up and married became, Mrs Harries, Mrs Lloyd-Phillips and the middle daughter married John Pugh Pryse, and had 1 daughter, Marianne, before Mrs Pryse died at a young age. After the death of his wife, John Pugh Pryse remarried, his second wife being, Decima Dorothea Rice.
In 1872, Marianne married Charles Mayhew, a soldier, and they spent most of their married life living in Derbyshire. Aberglassney was rented at this time. The couple returned to Aberglassney in 1902 on Charles’ retirement, yet only spent 5 years together with Charles dying suddenly in 1907 after having caught a cold. Marianne only spent a year at Aberglassney after the death of her husband before moving to London where she spent the last 30 years of her life.
Aberglassney was cared for by relatives and caretakers until 1939 when Marianne died, passing the property to Eric Evans, who was related through her fathers second marriage.
Eric only lived at Aberglassney for a short time. He died at the age of 30 in 1950, leaving a wife and young son. His son’s Trustees decided to sell Aberglassney and in 1955 the house was bought by David Charles. With the estate having been split, the land was acquired by several tenant farmers.
The house was again sold in 1977, yet the new owners found it impossible to restore the house which had suffered years of neglect.
1995 saw the start of The Aberglassney Restoration Trust where restoration work began on the house and gardens.
Situated on the first floor of the eastern wing is the Blue Room. This room had experienced a great tragedy in 1630 where six maid servants were found dead in their beds. The cause of deaths were said to be asphyxiation, which could have been attributed to the fumes emitting from the lime plaster mortar that had been used during a major reconstruction of the mansion. Many speculations on the deaths were rife with suggested causes including arsenic poisoning from the wallpaper in the room, and a blocked chimney causing death by carbon monoxide inhalation.
Visitors and staff have reported to have felt an overwhelming spine chilling experience when entering the room. With the room empty, five flickering lights have been witnessed by many who have stood outside looking up to the window. Members of staff have also witnessed Victorian dressed ladies staring out of the window.
Another story regarding the sighting of flames suggests that the amount of disembodied candle flames witnessed foretell the number of deaths due to occur. This coincides with the story of the maids, where the evening before their deaths during the 1630’s, a house keeper had witnessed five lights in a room where redecoration had just been completed. The following morning the five maids were found dead in the room.
It is believed Thomas Phillips has haunted the house ever since his death in 1824. It is thought he is responsible for the heavy footsteps heard by staff and visitors.
Another incident of which occurred before the restoration of the house took place involved a member of staff, who recalls her hair being stroked with someone whispering in her ear as she cleaned the bathroom.
A spectral family of a mother, father and daughter have been witnessed walking from the house into the gardens, sometimes sitting for a while in the gardens.
A dark figure of a male has also been seen, simply standing and staring in the grounds. Some rumours suggesting he was responsible for the possible murders of the 6 maids.
Pigeon Wood, which is situated behind the property, is where many visitors have reported feeling very uneasy. Approaching the edge of the woods has the feeling of ‘coldness’ and ‘fear’. It is believed a young man who was trying to evade capture, was actually caught at this point of the woods and killed by a gun shot, although the identity of this young man is not known.

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