This summer we will be holding a Summer Garden Party and Cream Tea very kindly hosted by Peter and Johanna Kaufmann at Hartsheath, nr. Pontblyddyn, as part of our fundraising activities. Choir members, friends and family will be very welcome to join us between 2pm and 5pm on Sunday, 10th July 2016.
There will be something for everyone whether young or old!
- Cream Tea
- Bring and buy stall
- Outdoor games
- Quiz/treasure hunt
- Summer bonnet competition (with prizes for the best child and best adult)
- House tours (limited numbers, book on arrival, extra cost)
Please bring your own picnic chairs / blankets to sit on. There will be cover if the weather is inclement.
Tickets £10; £5 for children under 12; free for children under 5
For help, additional information or other queries, phone 01244 470 890.
Directions: (Sat Nav Postcode CH7 4HP) Hartsheath is only about 15 minutes from Chester. From the A55, leave at J35A (for Penyffordd) onto the A5104. After about 1 ½ miles, at the Penymynydd roundabout turn left onto the A550 towards Wrexham, then at the next roundabout rejoin A5104 towards Corwen and Pontblyddyn. At the Pontblyddyn crossroads, turn left towards Wrexham (A541), leave the village and after the 40mph sign, on a bend just before you go into the wood, fork left at the red brick lodge (before you reach the dual carriageway). Follow the drive to the top and park along the back road that leads left, away from the house.
Hartsheath is a Georgian mansion house tucked away alongside the river Alyn just outside Pontblyddyn on the road to Wrexham from Mold. The present house was built in 1825 as a fitting home for the Director of the short-lived Welsh Iron and Coal Mining Company. The architect, Charles Mathews, worked for a while in John Nash’s London office and was a little-known pupil of A. C. Pugin. He created a grand and imposing house, using the remains of a previous building on the site. However, the extravagant demands of the Director contributed to the eventual bankruptcy of the company. The experience also put an end to Mathews’ architectural career: as you can see from his portrait in the drawing room, he went on to become a comic actor. Hartsheath was his first and only house: he later expressed regret that it was still standing as testament to his youthful folly!
The formal rooms at Hartsheath were designed to entertain. The large dining room is lined with family portraits, almost as if the ancestors were joining you for dinner. The drawing room’s trompe l’oeil wallpaper dating from 1841 features the pineapple, a symbol of warmth, welcome and hospitality. This room, with Regency furniture, also boasts two grand pianos – sadly not as tuneful as they might be. Charles Mathews, in costume, gazes down on his creation. Marble chimney-pieces are a feature of the interior, with a further grand piano in the entrance hall and a staircase rising four flights to a glass cupola which lets the light pour in from above.
The grey stone building is set in a hundred acres of parkland, with many fine trees. There is an extensive garden, woodland by the river, and a sunken path which separates the grounds from the park. This was created so that servants could pass the house outside without being seen from within, but now purports to attempt to prevent sheep getting into the garden to graze!
Around 1830 the house was acquired by John Carstairs, formerly High Sheriff of Huntingdon, Fellow of the Royal Society and a London merchant, for his daughter, Cecil, who was married to Wilson Jones, the great great great grandfather of the present owner. Cecil was previously living at Gelli Gynan at Llanarmon-yn Ial, a day’s journey further into Wales, and felt that the delights of Chester and London were altogether too far away! Many of the family have been members of the armed services in various capacities from the Occupation of Paris in 1815 through the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny to both World Wars. During the Second World War the house was requisitioned and used as a drawing office by cartographers preparing for the Normandy Landings and also used as a hospital for venereal diseases! Hartsheath continues to be a much-loved family home and we hope you enjoy your visit.