A family home for 10 generations

Colonel William Lewis, Captain T P Lewes and J P Ponsonby Lewes

For over three centuries the Llanerchaeron estate was home to ten generations of the same family. Each generation contributed to the estate as you see it today with a villa, servants' quarters, stables, farm buildings and walled garden, set in a landscape which is both beautiful and productive.

Llanerchaeron was purchased in 1634 by Llewellyn Parry, who could claim his lineage all the way back to the Welsh Princes. At this point the estate comprised of a small farmhouse with 500 acres of land, and a small formal garden, possibly the first in Wales. The estate would continue to grow over the following 100 years, with purchases of more land and an advantageous marriage to the Lewis family of the neighbouring estate at Ciliau Aeron.

Redesigning Llanerchaeron

Colonel William Lewes married a local heiress Corbetta Williama Powell of Nanteos mansion in 1786. Corbetta not only brought greater social status for the Lewis’ at Llanerchaeron but also a large dowry that paid for the renovation works to the farmhouse already situated here. John Nash was employed as the architect and work started in the 1790s to the house. It was transformed, under Nash’s vision, from a small farmhouse into the elegant Villa that we have today.  

William and Corbetta's son John Lewis inherited the estate on his father’s death in 1828. John Lewis married Mary Ashby Mettam in 1841. He sadly passed away early into the marriage in 1855 leaving Mary alone at Llanerchaeron without any children. Mary continued to manage the estate until her death in 1917 aged 104. She outlived most of the heirs of the original will and the estate eventually passed to Captain Thomas Powell Lewes, Major John Lewis’ Great-Nephew.

The modern era

Captain T.P.Lewes, made some minor alterations before moving in to Llanerchaeron in 1919. These were the first substantial changes in over 120 years. The Captain incorporated new fireplaces in some rooms, fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms, and the first bathroom installed at Llanerchaeron. Captain Lewes utilised the water wheel on the estate by adding an electrical system within the house. The water wheel charged up two large batteries that were brought to the house to run electric lights and sockets. Luckily the fabric of the Nash building remained untouched and unaltered.

It was during this period that many historical houses suffered economic hardship. Llanerchaeron managed to survive as the Lewes’ sold some of the acres of farms and land to maintain the estate. On the death of Captain T.P.Lewes in 1940 his only son, Mr John Powell Ponsonby Lewes, inherited Llanerchaeron. Mr Pononsby Lewes lived here successfully managing the estate until his death in 1989, at the age of 89. Mr Ponsonby Lewes left The National Trust the remaining estate of 760 acres along with the Villa and farm.