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Press release

Cultural gem, Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, to get £294,000 boost to help celebrate its special story and unique Bible collection

A stone farmhouse standing on a hillside above a low stone bridge.
The 16th-century farmhouse of Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

The nearly £150,000 funding from the Wolfson Foundation, gifts from Welsh charitable trusts including the Vronhaul Charity and Gaynor Cemlyn-Jones Trust as well as significant investment from National Trust Cymru will help to protect, celebrate and share Tŷ Mawr for everyone, for ever.

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant came into the care of the National Trust in 1951. The farmhouse was restored and re-opened in 1988 to celebrate 400 years since the Bible was translated into Welsh by William Morgan, who was born at Tŷ Mawr. His 10-year endeavour played a vital role in standardising the language and ensuring Welsh is still spoken today.

Since 1988, Tŷ Mawr has welcomed thousands of visitors from all over the world, some of whom have been so moved by the story that they have been inspired to donate a family Bible or a Bible in their own language.

There have been few alterations to the building and how its stories are shared since the 1980s. The pandemic, however, has been a catalyst to re-evaluate and to try new approaches as Tŷ Mawr enters a new and exciting chapter in its history.

Trystan Edwards, National Trust General Manager for Eryri, said:

“As a charity that’s had the privilege of restoring and looking after such a significant place, we recognise that Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant is a place of primary importance to Welsh literature, language and religion and we are committed to looking after this special place for generations to come.

“We are especially excited to be sharing more of the stories behind our unique donated Bible collection. With the help of the Wolfson Foundation funding the project will improve visitor experience at Tŷ Mawr, whilst ensuring the iconic building and unique collection are protected and celebrated.”

There are three main parts to the project which the funding will help support at Tŷ Mawr: repair work to the building, new collection display and improved access and interpretation on the site.

Due to the nature of the building and its location, issues relating to damp and water are a challenge at Tŷ Mawr. Fundamental repair work will be carried out to address these issues to ensure that the building can be enjoyed by everyone for centuries to come. This will not affect the opening schedule for the farmhouse.

Work is already underway to catalogue and interpret the many hundreds of Bibles in over 100 different languages - many containing personalised notes, reflecting their connection to Tŷ Mawr – which have been donated to the property over the years. A selection of these items will be on display in the farmhouse.

The intention is to replace the current display case on the first floor with a bespoke display case which meets museum grade specifications, with a smaller museum-grade display case placed on the ground floor to improve overall accessibility so that visitors can view items from the collection on every floor.

A specially designed walk-in ‘pod’ will also be commissioned for the exhibition room - a separate building opposite Tŷ Mawr - which will house a selection of Bibles, including some that can be handled by visitors.

The aim is to complete the project by the summer of 2025.

Lois Jones, Senior Programming and Partnership Officer for Tŷ Mawr, said:

“We’re looking forward to developing the experience at Tŷ Mawr, in the meantime we have another exciting programme planned this year, which will include working with new community groups and exploring a variety of different themes during our open days including nature, history and music.

“Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for more details.”

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant will re-open over Easter between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 24 March, Friday 29 March, Sunday 31 March and Sunday 7 April.

From 7 April until 6 October the farmhouse will be open on the first Sunday of every month between 10am and 4pm as part of a series of monthly open days, each exploring a different theme and are free to attend. The exhibition room will be open daily between 24 March – 1 September and visitors are welcome to visit the grounds anytime.

Additional opening times are to be confirmed following recruitment of seasonal staff and will be published on the National Trust website.

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