Llanover Hall

Llanover Hall holds a special place in the modern history of the revival of Welsh-language culture and literature. The mansion was a comparatively recent addition to the list of Welsh country houses, commissioned by Benjamin and Augusta Hall, Lord and Lady Llanover in the year 1828, and deigned by Thomas Hopper. Benjamin Hall (1802–1867) was a wealthy civil engineer, MP and social reformer from Abergavenny. As he was responsible for overseeing the later phases of rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament, it is thought that ‘Big Ben’, the large bell in the clock tower that was installed under his supervision, was nicknamed after him. In 1823, he married Augusta, neé Waddington, (1802–1896) from nearby Abercarn. Lady Llanover’s chief interests were the study of Welsh history, language and literature. She adopted the bardic name Gwenynen Gwent (the Bee of Gwent) and as a patron of the arts, she engaged a series of domestic harpists to work at her house and, further, encouraged the revival of country fashion worn by the peasantry in different parts of Wales. So fond was she of the various locally produced dresses that she took to wearing a more gentrified version during various cultural celebrations and festivities, and it may be claimed that Lady Llanover created the ‘national costume’ of Wales. (As Benjamin Hall did not quite share his wife’s penchant for dressing in country fashion, there is no male equivalent to the women’s costume.) In addition, Lady Llanover was a collector of manuscripts and established the annual Cymreigyddion Y Fenni, a local eisteddfod to which she invited many international guests who shared her fondness of Welsh poetry and music. She was a patron of the Welsh Manuscripts society, funded the compilation of a Welsh dictionary and was instrumental in the founding of Y Gymraes, the first Welsh language periodical for women. Over the years, prominent guests included her German brother-in-law, the diplomat Christian Carl von Bunsen, as well as Théodore Claude Henri, vicomte Hersart de la Villemarqué, from Brittany who was initiated as a bard into the Gorsedd. Llanover Hall, renamed to Llanover House, was largely demolished in 1936, but the surviving range remains a private home with a large garden and park. The owners frequently open the doors to the general public to enjoy the carefully maintained, 200-year old, landscape garden that had been commissioned by its first owners, Benjamin and Augusta, as well as continue the tradition of tree-planting themselves.
No. 1: 'Welsh Girl in the Costume of part of Gwent'.
Llanover House was built in 1837, the owners, Sir Benjamin and Lady Hall, intended Llanover House to become the centre of the promotion of the Welsh language.
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography has a new article by Marion Löffler on the life and work of Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover (1802-96), the patroness of the Abergavenny Cymreigyddion Society eisteddfodau and inventor of the Welsh national costume.
Thomas Gruffydd was taught to play the harp by John Jones and succeeded him as the Llanover family harpist. He won a number of competitions (including the triple harp in the Abergavenny Eisteddfod of 1836) and was recognised for his skill as a performer,...
This striking costume was worn by Thomas Gruffydd. He was Lady Llanover’s family harpist. He would play the harp to entertain guests at Llanover Hall. Lady Llanover was keen to promote the Welsh woollen industry. She insisted that all workers and...
She succeeded her father, Thomas Gruffydd, as court harpist to Lady Llanover.
Two harpists of Llanover. Taken during the 1892 Eisteddfod in Caerwys that was held under the sponser of Lady Llanover. Part of the National Library of Wales collection
Susannah Berrington Gruffydd Richards succeeded her father Thomas Gruffydd as court harpist to the Llanover family following his death in 1888.
Programmes and competition lists for the eisteddfodau of Cymreigyddion y Fenni. Lady Llanover was a prominent member of the society.
'Cymdeithas Cymreigyddion y Fenni' (The Abergavenny Cymreigyddion Society) was an influential Welsh cultural society. It was formed in 1833 by a number of patriots including Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc, 1787-1848) and Lady Llanover (Augusta Hall, neé...
Lady Llanover viewed the triple harp as the national instrument of Wales. The instrument originated from Italy, and became popular in Wales in the 17th century. By the 19th century its popularity was waning, largely as a result of the introduction of...
Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover, 1802-96) gave this leek to Mr and Mrs David of Ty-Mawr Farm, Llanover. Similar leeks were given to all tenants of the Llanover Estate.
This black silk parasol with lace trim and cherrywood handle was owned by Mrs Hughes who worked on the Llanover estate, and was presumably donated to her by August Hall (Lady Llanover, 1802-96).
There are 16 items in this collection
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