The name Trefriw is derived from two ancient Welsh words meaning ‘healing town’ - the area has been known since Roman times for its sulphur and iron-rich waters which are believed to have curative properties. The Trefriw Wells Spa pump room and bath house was built for Victorian visitors to ‘take the waters’ and although no longer open to the public, the Spa still uses the nutrient-rich water in its Spatone products.
Prior to the introduction of the railway in 1868, Trefriw had been an important trading centre and at one time was regarded as the biggest inland port in Wales. General merchandise was brought up river from the coast and the boats returned full of slate, ore and timber from the surrounding hills.
Trefriw was also an important centre for the wool industry and the current Trefriw woollen mill is one of Trefriw’s main attractions.
At the turn of the century Trefriw was a popular Victorian spa resort. Rowing boats and pleasure steamers sailed down the River Conwy, with daily trips from nearby Llandudno and Deganwy, and up to 1000 people landed at the quayside to enjoy the spa waters, fishing, climbing, painting and golf. Many shops lined the high street to cater for the promenading visitors, of which only a few remain.
The steamer service was abandoned during the second world war due to heavy silting of the river, and at this time there was a general decline in the attraction of Trefriw as a spa resort.
Our home was built in 1870 by Mr Hugh McDonald. Parts of what we think was the original dairy are now our cellar. It was described as “the most splendid in Trefriw, and its owner is one of the most reformist that our area possesses, and he leads the singing with the Independents, and he is zealous and patriotic”.
In 1897 it was sold , first being advertised as follows:
“situate in the best position in the village, and containing 4 sitting-rooms, 10 bedrooms, kitchens, wash-houses, cellars etc etc, large garden at the back well-stocked with fruit trees, also an extensive hot house, well stocked with fruitful vine trees”
The new owner, Robert Evans, advertised Crafnant House as holiday apartments in 1907, and was also a garage proprietor who “made arrangements to meet the steamers at the… landing stage with a Charabanc, also Waggonettes, Landaus etc, to convey passengers to Betws-y-Coed, Swallow Falls, Crafnant Lake, or any other places”…..!
The garage and associated buildings remained in place until the late 1990s when the previous owner demolished them (with ease apparently!) and created the beautiful garden that is now present.
The house alternated between being a private home and holiday apartments before settling on its current role as a bed and breakfast. It was also at one time split down the middle with different people living on each side.
The previous owners Jan and Mike ran it successfully as a guest house for 18 years before moving to the coast to enjoy their well earned retirement.
We bought her in 2017 having fell in love with both the property and village on a visit, and are just the latest in a long line of owners welcoming guests to our wonderful area!
Stuart & Jasmine