4 July 2015
The walled garden of Llanidan House (also known as Llanidan Hall or Plas Llanidan) is open to the public three times a year under the National Garden Scheme. The garden and grounds date back to the development of the property in the 17th century, although the original layout was lost when the garden was ploughed over after the Second World War. It was restored from being completely overgrown in the 1980s.
The estate was the location of a monastery in the 14th century and was purchased from the crown in 1606 by Beaumaris MP Richard ap Rhydderch (Richard Prytherch). When Prytherch’s great-great-grandson Thomas Lloyd died in 1740 the estate was sold to Henry Paget (1744-1812), 1st Earl of Uxbridge, who left it to his nephew Sir William Irby (1707-1775), 2nd Baronet and later 1st Baron Boston. The property remained in the Boston family until it was sold in 1958.
The Grade II* listed Old St Nidan’s Church, which is adjacent to Llanidan House, is on the site of a church said to have been founded by the Welsh saint Nidan in the 7th century. The existing structure dates back to the 14th century. A new anglican church also dedicated to St Nidan was built between 1839 and 1843 about half a mile away on the main Brynsiencyn road. The old church, which was in need of repair, was partially demolished and its contents moved to the new church built to serve the growing population of Brynsiencyn. Amongst the items transferred was a 66 cm-long sandstone chest found below the altar in 1700 by Henry Rowlands (1655-1723), rector of St Nidan’s from 1696, which was thought to contain the remains of Nidan. There is a story from the 12th century of a mystical stone in the form of a human thigh, which would magically return to the church by the following day no matter how far it was taken away. This stone came to be embedded (for safe keeping, one presumes!) in the wall of the churchyard. Its magical properties must have become somewhat diminished, however, as Rowlands later reported that it had been stolen.
The old church was never deconsecrated and was bought in 1994. It was restored by the owners of Llanidan House as a private chapel and is open to the public at the same time as the garden.