Meadow of the Rays of the Sun
Set in a timeless and quiet valley, this 16th-century gentry house has many of its original features, including a first floor solar open to the roof beams. We have taken the house back to its original form, to a building its owner, Henry Salesbury, would recognise if we travelled back in time to the 1580s. "Meadow of the Rays of the Sun" is one translation of the name Dolbelydr, which rings especially true as you gaze at the sunlight slanting across the ground from the mullioned windows down this tranquil valley. There is an open plan kitchen and dining area in front of a huge inglenook fireplace.
Dolbelydr was the family manor of humanist and physician Henry Salesbury. In 1593, Salesbury published his Grammatica Britannica, written in this fine stone house. Welsh scholars such as Salesbury rose to the challenge of Henry VIII's regime, who was imposing English as the language of government. By putting a classical discipline on the grammar of this ancient language, Salesbury's work gives Dolbelydr some claim to be the birthplace of modern Welsh.
‘Dolbelydr is in another world, a sanctuary standing solitary in its timeless valley.’
From the logbook
Click here to view the floor plan for this Landmark.
A fine example of a 16th-century manor house
Dolbelydr is to be treasured on two main counts. It is a fine example of a 16th-century, stone-built manor house, which has survived remarkably unaltered. It was also where Henry Salesbury (1561-c 1605), physician and humanist scholar, wrote his Grammatica Britannica, published in 1593. The Grammatica was one of the first attempts to impose formal grammar on the Welsh language.
Little is known of Henry Salesbury’s life, although it seems likely that he was related to the Salesbury family, one of the most powerful and wealthy in 16th-century Denbighshire.
Dolbelydr, in the parish of Cefn Meiriadog, would originally have been a house of considerable status, built of well-dressed limestone and with tall chimneys. Analysis of the timbers dates its construction to c.1578 and for this date its plan is transitional. The end chimneys and primary spiral staircase would have been considered innovatory, as would the rectangular entrance hall with its plank and muntin screen (rather than the more usual cross passage arrangement). Dolbelydr gradually declined in status through the years and underwent various alterations. It stood empty from around 1912.
Landmark first visited Dolbelydr in 1982. Its significance as one of Wales’s ‘lost houses’ had long been recognised but the main obstacle to acquiring it was lack of access – during the latter part of its history the house was often approached on stilts from the opposite side of the River Elwy! We were grateful to Mr. Roberts, the farmer on whose land it stands, to agreeing finally to sell us the building and an access track to it in 1999. This acquisition was directly enabled by a generous bequest by Dorothy Stroud. By the time we acquired the house the roof had fallen in. A later bread oven and external staircase were reduced to rubble and the solar screen on the first floor had been removed to a house in Chester, where it remains today. We installed emergency scaffolding at once, although it was another two years before we had raised the necessary money for its restoration.
For a short history of Dolbelydr please click here for English and here for Welsh.
To read the full history album for Dolbelydr please click here for Volume I and here for Volume II.
Experience the house
For up to 6 people
Set in a timeless, quiet valley, this sixteenth-century gentry house has many of its original features including a first floor solar open to the roof beams. It also has good claim to be the birthplace of the modern Welsh language.
Book a stay
Select a changeover day to start your booking...
What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain More
A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.
Monday 13th February 2014