When idiot arsonists set light to grade-I listed Hafodunos Hall in 2004 they largely destroyed one of not only North Wales’ best country houses but also one of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s finest works. Built in 1861-6 at a cost of £30,000 for Henry R. Sandbach, son of Samuel Sandbach, a Liverpool merchant and shipowner who had bought the original, 17th-century house in 1831. Hafodunos was also designed with Sandbach’s collection of sculpture including works by John Gibson (1790-1866) which were incorporated into the walls and left exposed after the fire (but now removed for safe-keeping).
So a glorious house by one of the greatest Victorian architects which featured some of his trademark interiors including decorated doors, ribbed ceilings and fine chimneypieces was reduced to a burnt out shell and has remained as such despite attempts to sell the house and begin restoration. As the house continues to deteriorate efforts have been made to limit the damage through grants. The latest from Cadw (the Welsh version of English Heritage) is for £21,000 to pay for emergency work to stabilise the structure – which if you look at this gallery on flickr you’ll see is a drop in the ocean compared to total required for full restoration. However, any work is positive so hopefully this will help preserve what remains until a more secure future for the house can be found.
Full story: ‘Heritage cash boost for Denbighshire landmarks‘ [Denbighshire Visitor]