Llanerchaeron, The John Nash Experience.
By Jamie and Charlott
Llanerchaeron with its simplistic design leads you into many false impressions. The fact that at the approach to the main door you see two bay windows. Once inside you are confused by the fact that there is a fireplace where the window should be, rather interesting.
John Nash designed and placed the property to make the most of the views and picturesque landscapes. The main building is built around an amazing central staircase. Once on the second floor you are greeted by yet another space of surprise and intriguing design. Look out for the oval rooms and curved doors. Amazing features that has survived all this time.
John Nash was a little known architect at the time and only returned to Wales from London after going bankrupt in 1783. Returning to his mothers’ home in an attempt to rebuild his reputation.
He was later commissioned by King George IV to design the Brighton Pavilion, Regent street in London and Buckingham Palace. Its safe to say he managed to rebuild his reputation. Later he became one of the most renowned national architects of his time. Llanerchaeron had a strong foothold in the success of the John Nash portfolio.
The visitors journey takes you through rooms full of stories and past. A painting by Sarah Biffen must be one of the most amazing paintings of the property. Sarah was unique as she was born with no arms and only vestigial legs, she measured at only 94 cm tall.
The painting below was remarkably completed by her using her mouth. A fascinating part of history based on the times and her condition. In later years Sarah went on to paint many pieces for royalty. As a young child of twelve years old, Sarah Biffens’ family apprenticed her to a man named Emmanuel Dukes, who exhibited her in fairs and sideshows throughout England possibly as part of a freak show or circus act.
According to some accounts, it was Dukes who taught her to paint, holding the paintbrush in her mouth, in order to increase her value as an attraction. Sarah clearly made the most of this time and excelled in her fame. Sarah Biffen held exhibitions, sold paintings and even charged entrance fees so people could watch her paint and sew. A remarkable individual and I guess a disability ambassador of her time.
As much to see outside as there is on the inside.
Walking through this impressive property, is an incredible experience of history and time with plenty of wonderful things to see and a story in every room.
Once you step outside you are greeted with a wonderful working farm with many beautiful animals going about their lives. A magnificent wall garden crammed full of flowers, herbs and vegetables will leave you feeling your keen to try out green fingers. If going for a walk is your thing then don’t forget to visit the lake, full of ducks and wild insects. I even seen a few dragonflies playing on the water surface.
From start to finish the day was wonderful. The staff are so friendly and clearly care about the property, we were even tested on a few items in the kitchen. I am glad to say I actually got a few right.
National Trust always seem to try and get young people involved by adding something to the property for them to get their minds working. This time it was 10 hidden mice. Well we decided to get involved and found all ten. Yes, we were very proud of ourselves. If you can’t have fun then what’s the point as I always say.
The property is relatively accessible but definitely has its restrictions, I used my SmartCrutches and Flexyfoot add-ons so for me it was a simple case of taking my time on the stairs inside and making sure I did not trip. Outside was relatively flat so wheelchair access was achievable and the lower levels of the property was also fairly accessible.