Plas Mawr (Great Hall) is situated half way up High Street Conwy and is one of the best preserved Elizabethan houses in Britain. The façade of the building is magnificent with fine gatehouse and architectural detailing. The building was constructed for the influential Welsh merchant Robert Wynn who commented that the building was “a worthy, plentiful house”. Construction began in 1576 and was completed nine years later. Wynn returned to Conwy from touring around Europe and took up residence at Plas Mawr with his first wife, who sadly died a year after the construction of the house was completed. If you look carefully the initials of its owner “RW” can be seen on the ornate plasterwork.
Robert Wynn, at the age of 66, remarried and had six children. In 1589 he became MP for Caernarfon. He died in 1598. The building and gardens have since been completely restored with assistance from Cadw, the Welsh government body which oversees the promotion and conservation of Welsh Heritage. The preservation of the building both exterior and interior in every detail is breathtaking. The piece de resistance has to be the restored chimney piece in the Great Hall which has been painted in the exact style one would have seen it in the days of Robert Wynn. The size and style of the building and its furnishings can leave one in no doubt of the wealth of the 16th century Wynn family. Although there is an air of opulence throughout there is also a feeling that family life was of great importance. Besides the area used by the family there are interesting areas showing the servants quarters which were segregated for men and women.
The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art which was established in 1882 and devoted to the visual Arts in Wales used Plas Mawr before moving to the Seion Chapel next door. The Academy cared for the house for over a hundred years before it came under the protection of Cadw.