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Newton House

by Well Polished Swansea, Jul 2018

Built in 1660, you can still find traces of the original Newton House on a visit to the Dinefwr estate. Most of what you see of the grand building today dates back to the 1850s, when it was given a fashionable Gothic facelift, with stone cladding and four impressive turrets.

Newton House was the home of the Rhys (or Rice) family. They were descendants of the powerful Princes of Deheaubarth, who ruled from the nearby Dinefwr Castle; perched on top of the hill overlooking the Towy valley.

George and Cecil Rice designed the landscape around Newton House, so what you see as you look out of one of the windows is exactly what George and Cecil envisaged centuries ago.

Capability Brown

They also brought in the famous landscape designer, Capability Brown, to give his advice too.

I wish my journey may prove of use to the place, which if it should, it will be very flattering to me. Nature has been truly bountiful and art has done no harm.

– Lancelot ‘Capability Brown’
Some of his suggestions were taken on board, one of which is the vista that looks back at Newton House through a natural frame of deciduous trees on the Capability Brown path.

Financial difficulty

The family ran into financial difficulty and had no choice but to sell Newton House. In 1972 Richard Dynevor sold the house and eight acres of land for £50,000. From then on, Newton House was used by some rather diverse individuals – an antique dealer, squatters, and even a television company.

In 1990 the National Trust took over, having already bought the deer park and parkland National Nature Reserve (NNR) that surrounded Newton House four years prior. We’re really proud to look after such a wonderful building; sitting in the heart of this designed landscape.

Did you know?

Newton House is so called because in medieval times, when Wales was being anglicised by English rule, a new town was built as a place for the English to trade.  This ‘New Town’ was located where Newton House now stands.

Most Haunted – Spooky tales

Newton House is thought to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain and it’s clear to see why. Many have a spooky tale to tell about a ghostly encounter or paranormal experience. The servants’ basement seems to be an area of high paranormal activity with visitors claiming to have seen, heard and even smellt the tobacco smoke of Walter the Butler.

Some people have also experienced a choking sensation as they climb the sweeping cantilever staircase. It’s believed that this stems from the tragic tale of Lady Elinor Cavendish, who was strangled by her suitor when she refused his advances.