Trefnant, Denbighshire


Dolbelydr, a 16th-century gentry house, has many of its original features and a fascinating place in history.

Free public Open Days: 7-8 September 2024


  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • Electric Car Charging PointElectric Car Charging Point
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • RemoteRemote
  • ShowerShower

Beds 2 Twin 1 Double

4 nights from
£504 equivalent to £21.00 per person, per night

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.

Grammatica Britannica

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.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Dolbelydr is within easy reach of the market town of Denbigh, which is dominated by its castle with a distinctive triple towered gatehouse. This is just one of a number of castles to visit in the surrounding area.

In nearby St Asaph, the annual North Wales International Music Festival is held in late September in its impressive cathedral, which is also the smallest in Britain. 

The Clwydian Hills, to the east of the Vale of Clwyd, provide the opportunity for walks with excellent views across moorlands and valleys.

Enjoy the sandy beaches and traditional seaside attractions of Rhyl and Prestatyn. Take a stroll around the botanical gardens in Rhyl.

Close by is Bodelwyddan Castle and Park (7.1 miles). Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at, the dog walks community. For more information on things to do during your stay at Dolbelydr, please see our Pinterest page. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via a long track from the main road.
  • Rhyl – 10 miles.
  • There are four spaces approximately 15 metres from the property.
  • There is a Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge point at the property, delivering a restricted 3.6 kW due to the capacity of the local electricity supply. You will need to request this facility at the time of booking to ensure the outlet has been enabled for your arrival. There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.
  • The building is centrally heated by the oil-fired boiler. There is underfloor heating to the ground floor and radiators to the first and second floors. There are two open fires.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • Vanessa, our head of communications, reported in April 2021 that 3G signal is decent in and around Dolbelydr, with 4G in places, allowing phone calls, internet access and WhatsApp on O2. To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker and a dishwasher.
  • There are two bathrooms, one with a free-standing shower and the other with a bath.
  • The stairs are steep and narrow.
  • There is an enclosed garden.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

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.

A short history of Dolbelydr:

Read the full history album for Dolbelydr:
Volume I
Volume II

Download the children's Explorer pack for Dolbelydr


Once a house of considerable status

Our initial view was that this was a very interesting vernacular building, special because of its largely unaltered features. Local building historian Peter Welford soon convinced us that this had also once been a house of considerable status for the area, with its tall chimneys and well-dressed stone. This led to considerable soul searching about how we should restore it as its later fabric was, if anything, more dilapidated than earlier, hard wood remnants.

In the end, we decided with our architect Andrew Thomas that as both Dolbelydr’s architectural and historic significance stemmed from its late 16th-century form, we should present it as closely as possible to its primary appearance.

The house would once have stood in a cluster of walls and farm outbuildings. The forecourt walls have been reconstructed on the footings of the originals and are typical feature of buildings in Denbighshire at this time. As was customary in the 16th century, the walls have again been flush-pointed and then limewashed. Most of the wall at eaves height also had to be rebuilt. Much of the first floor framing remained on the site as well as some of that on the second floor so replacement of the floor joists was not too difficult. The collapsed roof structure was a bigger job, subcontracted to specialists Carpenter Oak and Woodland who took away the roof timbers to their framing yard in Perthshire. Here they painstakingly reassembled the roof frame.

Late in the autumn of 2002, a 40-foot crane arrived on site to lift the three massive roof trusses back into position. Stone tiles were used for the roof covering, as they would originally have been. There were vestiges of a rear dormer window, which we have recreated and the building now has a full set of correctly sized windows in their original positions, several having twelve or even fourteen mullioned lights, survivals of great rarity. These too are limewashed once more, in imitation of stone.

Supporters of Dolbelydr

We are hugely grateful to those who have already supported Dolbelydr, including:

Mrs C Hunt, Mrs D Stroud, Mr W Williams, Mrs D Wray Bliss

Gifts in memory:
Mrs E Ashby 

Charitable Trusts and Statutory Grants:
Carpenter Charitable Trust, Denbighshire Key Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, J G Hogg Charitable Trust, Trees Naunton Charitable Trust, Trusthouse Charitable Trust, Veneziana Fund, Welsh Development Agency, Welsh Tourist Board

CADW logo   Heritage Lottery Fundy Logo 


We would also like to thank everybody who supported the appeal and Mr R Eaton for donating books for the library.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

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.