Visiting Newton House at Dinefwr
Standing proudly at the heart of the Dinefwr estate is Grade II* listed Newton House, a family home for over three hundred years to the descendants of The Lord Rhys, the powerful Prince of the Welsh Kingdom of the Deheubarth. Cared for by the National Trust since 1990, Dinefwr is now a place for you to enjoy, relax and refresh.
Things to see inside Newton House
The story of the Dinefwr estate reflects the history of Carmarthenshire and the nation of Wales. Built in 1660 by Edward Rice, the current house takes its name from the ‘New Town’ built for English settlers in the medieval period. The Jacobean mansion, from which the current house evolved, was built on a site that has been occupied for two thousand years.
The exterior that you see today dates from the 1850s when a fashionable Gothic façade was added. Many of the original 17th-century features can still be seen within the house, including the magnificent grand staircase and exceptional ornate ceilings.
Before the days of easy travel many rich gentlemen commissioned paintings of their country properties to hang in their London homes. Four ‘bird’s-eye’ views, dating from around 1690, now hang inside Newton House.
The 9th Baron Dynevor and the arts
In the mid-20th century, to try and raise funds to maintain the house, Richard the 9th Baron Dynevor, established a creative programme of arts in the house supported by the Arts Council of Wales. We’re taking inspiration from the 9th Baron’s approach today at Dinefwr with an ongoing programme of arts and cultural events that celebrate the legacy of that vision.
Visit the first floor exhibition rooms at Newton House
The exhibitions reflect on the varied aspects of life at Dinefwr over the centuries. They provide a glimpse into the history of the estate and its people by unveiling objects from the collection for the first time. They also provide a platform for contemporary creative practitioners to respond to the long history of the site and the landscape.
The Discovery Room
Explore a refreshed display in the Discovery Room, which unpacks the history and incredible range of wildlife and biodiversity at Dinefwr.
Dinefwr’s deep history is represented in a contemporary timeline, which meanders across the walls and unpacks the story behind this ancient landscape. Featuring Lady Cecil’s portrait and her impact on the parkland, you’ll find fine ceramic fungi models (on loan from the British Micrological Society) with thanks to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Learn more about the fungi which reflect part of the wider ecosystem of this SSSI site and showcases the importance of the parkland in relation to nature and ecology.
This new display was created by artist Julia Griffiths Jones and designer Heidi Baker.
The Landscape Room
Join us to explore the new Landscape Room in Newton House, as part of the ‘Treasured Land’ programme of exhibitions and events at Dinefwr. Discover four significant and rare oil paintings, which speak of the wealth, status and aspirations of the estate and the family who owned it.
Completed by an unknown artist, documentation regarding the paintings is minimal and research is ongoing, however it is thought that they were probably commissioned to celebrate the stewardship of Griffith Rice, who was MP for Carmarthenshire 1701 - 10.
Take a seat to watch a short film, which reveals how experts have studied the paintings to uncover their past. Find out how a tiny detail within the paint analysis, revealed the true age of the artworks.
Unlocked: 125 Objects from Dinefwr
During the restoration in 1999 and 2000 some of the floorboards were lifted to carry out repairs. Whilst the voids were uncovered National Trust archaeologists surveyed them and discovered some intriguing items - look out for a lit corner in one of the first-floor rooms to encounter one of strangest things they discovered.
Some of the finds are believed to have been deliberately placed as magical house protection measures to ward off evil spirits and safeguard houses from witchcraft and supernatural forces.
Under the floor discoveries
Other objects date back to the foundation of the current house: a charred copy book page dated 1689, a tiny early 18th-century child’s silver thimble or a hand-made playing card with a handwritten note on the back inscribed by a lovelorn lady of the house.
Come and see some of the finds in the current exhibition ‘Unlocked: 125 Objects from Dinefwr’.
Archaeology of Home exhibition at Dinefwr
From a rusty hand-forged nail or a scrap of hand-printed wallpaper, to a piece of decorative plaster work from an ornate ceiling, these objects not previously shown to the public reveal much about the 'Archaeology of Home'.
The exhibition features fragments and materials from Dinefwr’s collections that offer a fascinating glimpse into the historical building materials and decorative techniques used at Newton House since it was built in the mid-17th century.
Reclaimed by the descendants of a powerful Welsh Prince, Dinefwr Park and Newton House were home to the Rhys/Rice family for over 300 years.
Take a stroll through Dinefwr Park near Llandeilo, a stunning 800-acre estate where you can spot a variety of wildlife and some of the oldest trees in Britain.