Ivy-covered, overgrown mansion left abandoned since World War II

Wales is known for its castles and ruins which still stand impressively today, but one property which has been left in ruins for over 80 years steals the show. The once opulent Georgian mansion, named Baron Hill, stands roofless and is intertwined with vines and trees that have been left to occupy the former home for nearly a century.

The mansion joins a large list of ruins that are reminiscent of an earlier era, however, it fights valiantly for status as one of the largest ruins available to view in North Wales. The Anglesey estate, set in extensive land that now looks more like a forest, was built in 1612 by Sir Richard Bulkeley, MP for Anglesey. He was also a member of one of the most prominent families in North Wales at the time.

Tragically Bulkeley died nine years later in 1621 and the property was never completed to his specifications which would have included a hall with short wings forming a U-shaped plan. 1776, the London architect Samuel Wyatt built a new house which enclosed the original Jacobean house. The new design was of a neo-Palladian style which manifests itself in the curving facade of the present ruined building to the terraces, follies and balconies.

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Additionally, the estate featured landscaped parkland by William Emes and offered views over Beaumaris Castle and the Menai Strait to the mountains of North Wales – it was considered one of the finest views of all the country houses of Wales. Baron Hill remained in the family as it was then inherited by Lord Bulkeley’s nephew, Sir Richard Bulkeley Williams Bulkeley (1801-75), in 1822. It was visited by Princess Victoria ten years later.

Another London architect, Henry Harrison, was hired to modify the house, but work was interrupted by a fire in 1836 which necessitated further renovations. This work was completed about two years later. The main house was lowered from three stories to two, parapet railings and an entrance portico were added along with a massive square service block with a central courtyard.

The mansion has been empty for 80 years

A new entrance driveway leading from the south to the west side of the house was also added as part of the work. A plan of the estate from 1861 shows how this new development had been put in place at the beginning of that decade. The final remodeling of the house took place in the late 19th century by David Moore, who added Italianate detailing.

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During World War I, the dwindling fortunes of the Williams-Bulkeley family meant that the house could no longer be maintained. The property was vacated in the 1920s and remained uninhabited until World War II, when the mansion was requisitioned by the government and used as temporary accommodation for Polish soldiers.

Having found the building so cold, the soldiers started a fire inside the mansion in hopes of being moved to new accommodations. Their plan backfired. The flames destroyed large parts of the interior of the mansion, meaning soldiers had to be moved to tents on the grounds of the estate. Since then, the mansion has been abandoned. At the start of the 21st century, it was completely roofless and the interior was gutted.

The country house was recognized as a Grade II listed building in 1950 “for its particular architectural interest as a substantial C18 country house with a C19 improvement which retains significant exterior character, and for its particular historical interest as a ancestral of the most important family of the nobility in Beaumaris.” In 2007 multi-million pound plans were revealed to turn the Grade II listed building into 43 apartments in a partnership between developers Watkin Jones, Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley and the Baron Hill Estate, but this did not did not materialize.

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