The Snowdonia National Park Centre is located in this well-appointed country house which, for many years, was the Welsh home of the Oakeley family, important quarry and land owners in the area.
They were the successors of the Evans and Griffith families who had chosen this beautiful spot to make their home, and who built up a large estate in the area in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
It is their inheritance that we enjoy today with the carefully tended gardens and the well engineered steps and paths along which you will find rare trees and shrubs dotting the 100 acre estate.
Before opening as a Centre and a place to visit, Plas Tan y Bwlch was home to some of the wealthiest families in North Wales.
Discover how the Oakeley family, owners of the estate from 1789 to 1961, lost their grasp on a lucrative slate empire and eventually the Tan y Bwlch estate.
C16: The Tan y Bwlch estate from the beginning…
During the C16, Ieuan ap Iorwerth ap Adda and his descendants slowly acquired property and land in the Maentwrog and Ffestiniog area, which became the Tan y Bwlch estate.
C17: The estate expands through marriage and inheritance
Tan y Bwlch was first referred to in the will of Robert Evans in 1602. Robert Evans’ son, Robert was married to Lowri Prys, grand daughter of Edmwnd Prys, Tyddyn Du, rector of Maentwrog and Archdeacon of Meirionnydd. Edmwnd Prys was an instrumental helper of Bishop William Morgan whilst translating the Bible to Welsh.
C18: The Oakeleys arrive at Plas Tan y Bwlch
Catherine, heiress of the Evans family married Robert Griffith of Bach y Saint near Cricieth, expanding the estate.
Their grandson, Robert Griffith, rebuilt and extended the house around 1748. His son, Evan Griffith was the last male of the Griffith family. The male line of the Evans and Griffith families had both come to an end in their turn and each time, the heiresses married new wealth and land.
C19: Rise and fall of the Oakeley fortune
William Griffith Oakeley's period was one of great excitement. He transformed the Oakeley Quarry into the largest subterranean quarry in the world, employing over 1600 men.
C20: The golden days of Tan y Bwlch estate come to an end
It was a dismal start to the century as increasingly difficult times faced William Edward Oakeley. By the time he died however, he had managed to raise enough money to keep part of the estate which was inherited by his two children. The Oakeley line finally came to an end when his daughter Mary died at 96 in 1961.