In 1921 this Tudor courtyard house was desecrated. The 17th century wall and ceiling decorations of the main dining room were stripped. The carved and gilded panelling was sold at auction, bought by the American press baron William Randolph Hearst. On Hearst's death, the panels were inherited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and until recently languished in storage.
The new owners of Gwydir traced the long lost panels and negotiated with the museum which generously allowed their return to Wales. They have been carefully replaced in their original setting and the restored dining room was recently re-opened at a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales.
Gwydir has a long and fascinating history. The first recorded owner
of the site was Howell of Coetmore who commanded a detachment of archers
under the Black Prince at the battle of Poitiers in 1356. The castle was
rebuilt for Meredith ap Jevan ap Robert, the founder of the Wynn dynasty
and the surviving buildings date from around 1500, with alterations and
additions in the centuries since.
William Randolph Hearst (supposedly the model for Citizen Kane) must
have had a certain interest in Wales. He once owned the beautiful St. Donat's
Castle near the historic village of Llantwit Major in South Wales. The
actress Mary Pickford was just one of a series of famous guests. The castle
is now known as Atlantic College and operates as a private boarding school
for students of the continental baccalaureate exam.