Brynhonddu originates from around the sixteenth century as a small estate known as Bwlch Trewyn; (Bwlch translates as 'Gap in the Mountain' and Trewyn as 'House of the Whites').
It was sold in 1790, by the owners of Trewyn Estate (a neighboring superior estate occupying land to the north) to the Reverend Morgan Morgan, Rector of Oldcastle and Vicar of Walterstone. There seems no evidence that Morgan Morgan, took up occupancy until 1795. This suggests that the centre section of the house was being built during this period. It is also understood that Morgan Morgan had a further Living in Gloucestershire where his wife’s family lived and that he never carried out the duties of the two livings in this area. The house passed down through the distaff line of the Morgan family, named Ely, to The Reverend Anthony Ely, Rector of Whitminster with his wife the daughter of Reverend Morgan Morgan. It then passed to their son The Reverend Edwin Anthony Ely who added the 1878 wing of the house and laid out the grounds. It then passed to William Anthony Ely & Harold Ely of Worcester.
It is understood that one of the Victorian Ely’s was a Ships Captain and traded in tea. He was responsible for bringing many of the non-indigenous trees on the estate, back from around the world and was lost in the South Pacific.
[We are fortunate to have in the grounds one of the oldest Ginkgo biloba species in the country. (A pre-historic fruit bearing conifer, having no living relatives and originating in China).]
The House was renamed in 1922 to Brynhonddu (translating to ‘hill above the Honddu River’ probably by the next generation, George Thomas Whitehouse Coleman & Louisa Ely.
In 1928 the house past out of the Ely family to Richard Auther Grindall Festing & Alice Norah Lucy Festing. There was much dispute at this time regarding contested water rights with the neighbours Mr. & Mrs. James of Trefedw Farm, which Mr. Festing lost at the High Court.
In 1945 the House passed to Mr. & Mrs. Llewellyn who at the time owned Llanvapley Court (situated to the East of Abergavenny) which was being utilized by the Land Army for food production. Brynhonddu served as a dwelling and as a base for their horse breeding activities. We understand that Harry Llewellyn of ‘Foxhunter’ fame the showjumping winner of the Olympics was part of the family. Mr. & Mrs. Llewellyn's son, William, currently holds office in the clergy at Brecon, Powys, and their daughter Harriet is married to a diplomat in Canberra, Australia.
In 1951 Brynhonddu was passed on to the Wall brothers and their families, who between 1960 and 1968 split the main house into two separate dwellings due to a difference of opinion between their wives! Percy & Winifred Wall’s son Richard, who planted the line of Horse Chestnut trees at the bottom of the park area, has been back to visit on many occasions and Ray & Phylis Wall’s Daughter Frida (now Wakely) has been back to visit with her children.
During their period of occupation The Wall Brothers, who were Communists, used part of the property as budget holiday accommodation and advertised this in the Morning Star newspaper. Many of you locally will remember Jean Thomson who lived on Wern Gifford for many years, then with Sid took over The Crown Inn at Pantygelli and she now resides in Abergavenny. She spent many of her teenage summer holidays at Brynhonddu in the late 50’s and was later drawn back to this area to live.
Currently the main house is split into two dwellings. The separate building to the north, was originally joined to the main house by a glass conservatory, within that conservatory were the stone steps leading up to the ballroom, situated over the coach-house beneath. This building is now also two separate dwellings. The Longroom Flat was fashioned mainly from the Ballroom, together with parts of the Coach house, with the remainder forming the current Farm Accommodation.
It is understood that in Victorian times, guests would drive in their carriages up the old drive to the rear of the Coach house, dismount into the Conservatory, on up the stone steps to the Ballroom for their entertainment. The Coach staff was not allowed into the house, only into the farm. It is also understood that at this time the complement of staff employed by the occupants of the main house included 4 maids and 6 gardeners.
More recently after the main house was split, Unit 2 was occupied from 1971 until 1983 by Brendon & Joan James with children Toni & Peter. Mr. & Mrs. Roy Barton with their 3 children followed were in residence up to 1985. Next, Carol & Keith White, initially with children Steven & Barry are in occupation up to the present day.
Unit 1, has had the continuous occupation of Bob & Chris Mitchell with Hannah & Nathan, up to the present.
Bwlch Trewyn Farm was owned by Wyndham & Margaretta Evans from 1963 until 1966 when the present owners Edgar & Shirley Bufton with their daughter Ann, took over.
The Longroom was originally owned, in 1963, by Philip & Margaret Woods with son Dickon up to 1966 when Hilda(Jenny) & Ted Booth with children Sean, Sarah, Owen & Cathrine took over. In 1978 Jo & Mervyn Jones was in occupation followed in 1979 by John Ivers with daughter Megan. Finally, Keith Majerison from the year of 1984 to the present day.
The grounds that were laid out by the Ely family in Victorian times are the subject of a Blanket Tree Preservation Order. The Estate currently has 51 different Tree Species together with 47 different bird species.
The property is mentioned in Sir Joseph Bradney's 'A History of Monmouthshire' in Part 2a - The Hundreds of Abergavenny (Part 1).
This can be seen in a separate pdf document by Clicking Here.