Twentieth-century indulgence

Three photographs of Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden, at Chirk Castle

In 1910 Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden, fell in love with Chirk Castle, and negotiated a lease with the Myddelton Family, which continued until 1946.

The Influential tenant

A man of many talents, 'Tommy's' personal interests included writing plays, operas and pantomimes, commisioning flying machines, working with radio, Welsh theatre, falconry, fencing, art and literature. Tommy also spent lavishly at Chirk Castle, bringing the infrastructure into the twentieth century so that he and his wife could host generous and lavish house parties.

Tommy also had a passion for all things medieval, staging jousts and keeping a vast collection of arms and armour. He even had his own suit of armour designed by the armourer Joubert. The artist Augustus John was staying at Chirk Castle and once found Tommy sitting in an armchair in the Billiard Room in full armour!

In 1946 Tommy left Chirk Castle and retired to his Scottish estates, dying that same year.

Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden
Lord Howard de Walden portrait in uniform
Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden

What is there to see?

The story of Tommy and his family at Chirk is told in the Chapel Music Room, which has been decorated in 1920s style, based on a painting of the family at Chirk by John Lavery.

Our Howard de Walden exhibition gives a feeling of what high society life would be like in the mid-20th-century. So, relax in a fireside armchair, play the piano, listen to the wireless or go ‘guest hunting’ for famous early 20th-century society names in the guest book – there are quite a few to find!

" The Howard de Waldens entertained on a large scale, frequently including Royalty among their guests. Mrs Hardy (the cook) was in her element when serving her wonderful meals, full of flavour, colour and attraction on the lovely silver dishes."
- Hilda Wright, First Kitchenmaid from 1935 to 1941

20th-century art

Lord Howard de Walden supported many 20th-century artists and here, for the first time in more than 60 years, much of their work has been brought together for public display.

Especially, admire Wilson Steer’s landscapes and two portraits by Augustus John, an iconic painting of the de Walden family by Sir John Lavery and a remarkable bronze bust by Auguste Rodin.

Let the music of Holbrooke cascade over before you listen to Dylan Thomas (whose work was supported by Lord Howard de Walden) reading his own poetry, on the wireless.

Sir John Lavery captures perfectly a scene of the Howard de Walden family relaxing in the Saloon
A painting of the Saloon at Chirk Castle by Sir John Lavery
Sir John Lavery captures perfectly a scene of the Howard de Walden family relaxing in the Saloon

Download a copy of our Access Statement here: Chirk Castle Access Statement 2019 (PDF / 0.45703125MB) download