Saturday, 23 April 2016

Bodelwydden Castle, symbolism and Freemasonry

Bodelwydden Castle, near St. Asaph in North Wales, was built between 1830 and 1832, though a manor house was situated on the site of the present castle from around 1460 owned by the Humphreys family. The property was purchased by the Williams family in 1690, the family having an association with the site for around 200 years. The castle was designed by Joseph Hansom in a Gothic style; the castle is a mock medieval masterpiece.

The Williams family were a member of the extended Williams-Wynn family, a number of prominent members of the family serving as Provincial Grand Masters in Wales during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 3rd Baronet was a Jacobite and resided at his estate at Wynnstay in Denbighshire in North Wales. His son, the 4th Baronet became a Freemason, founding his own lodge which met on the estate in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Other family members of the family were also Freemasons. Wynnstay is now demolished and the remaining buildings are now apartments, though the chapel still exists and reveals evidence of Masonic influences.

The Williams family also constructed the magnificent Gothic Chateau Rhianfa overlooking the Menai Straits on Anglesey, and along with Bodelwydden Castle, they are two of the finest examples of nineteenth century Gothic architecture in North Wales. The 'marble church' as it has become known, was also constructed in a Gothic style by the family, the church, like the castle, celebrating an architectural style that harks back to the medieval period. The church can be seen from the castle and was used by the family and the workers on the estate. The Seal of Solomon can be seen in two windows at either side of the church.

The Cross Foxes - the coat of arms for the family, and the name given to a number of local pubs.

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