Magic Carpet Journals
Ghosts and Legends in Wales - Nanteos Mansion
Nanteos Mansion is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in Wales, but we were told a different story. Who are we to believe?
Story by M. Maxine George
Pictures by Milan Chvostek and M. Maxine George
One afternoon we drove south from Aberystwyth along Wales spectacular west coast, turning inland towards the Devils Bridge, then right until we came to the signpost for Nanteos Mansion. Backed by a forest of trees, this mansion sits on thirty acres of private land. This once stately mansion was reputed to have some rather fascinating ghost stories attached to it, including a spirit who appeared on the staircase to forewarn of an impending death in the family. Sometimes a phantom coach and horses was said to draw up to the front door in the middle of the night. Ghost Hunters International featured the paranormal activity at Nanteos Mansion in a segment of their programme in 2008.
Built by Thomas Powell in 1738, he did not live to see it completed. However, Nanteos Mansion was the home of the Powell family for over 200 years. After the death of Thomas, Nanteos passed to his brother, William. It was William’s wife Elizabeth whose spirit is believed to roam the halls. The lady had been very ill and bedridden for some time prior to her death. She had a fine collection of jewellery which she hid during that time. It was never found after her death and her spirit is believed to still be looking for her jewellery.
The music room in Nanteos Mansion is said to have been one of the finest eighteenth century rooms in Wales. For sixty-nine Christmases, a harpist named Gruffydd Evans played for the Powell family in that music room. His music is sometimes still heard in Nanteos woods near the house.
Now for our experience. When we pulled up in front of the mansion, we were met on the doorstep, by a man who claimed to be the “caretaker,” who had looked after the place for five years. He said that the place was a shambles and therefore we would not be able to visit it. He also told us that the inside and back of the building were derelict and therefore it would not be safe for us to wander around. From the front the place looked to be in quite good condition. There was a ladder and some tools near the front step. The woodwork around the front door and the window sills all appear to have been freshly painted white. Being March, the place was probably being spruced up for the summer trade, and not prepared for guests; however he had been forewarned of our arrival. At any rate he chatted with us for a while. The original estate extended over 30,000 acres but he told us there were only 30 acres connected with the estate now. He said, “All the land that appears toward the horizon had been part of the Nanteos land. At one time there was a settlement there that had been moved further up the hill to make room for a new road." According to him, “The last person to leave was a local witch who cursed the family. The curse was that the first born of each generation of the Powell family would die. This is why the Powell family died out.” He also told us that a previous owner, during the last century, removed all the lead off the roof, sold it, then applied for a grant to re-roof. When asked about the ghost stories, he stated , "The ghost stories were not true. They were just stories made up for publicity." Those stories have been recorded for many, many years.
We were a little perplexed by the visit and our strange treatment. After we left, one of our group commented, “Judging by the caretaker’s upper-crust English accent, he was probably not a caretaker.” The suspicion was that we may have been speaking with the owner himself. It seemed to be just another conundrum to add to the other stories about the place.
Brynafon Rhyader or The Old Workhouse is the next story in our quest for ghosts and legends in Wales
Story and pictures by M. Maxine George
Last Updated on November 05, 2011 by M. Maxine George editor.
© 2010 Magic Carpet Journals. All rights reserved