While Clough Williams-Ellis’s own improvements to the house of his Williams forebears are easily recognised (the buttress wing, the top flat’s bridge and loggia), the historic complex of Plas Brondanw had grown piecemeal over the previous 400 years. Its dressed-masonry structures form a modest-sized group, cleverly adapted to their hillside situation.
The low range with the wide arched fireplace (originally the late-Tudor farmhouse kitchen and later the dining-room) forms the core round which additions were made. At its valley end a cross-wing tower developed, dated 1660, which now overlooks the long 18th-century entrance court. Below, level with the lower garden, is a brewhouse and well; the main rooms above (later the ground-floor library and the first-floor drawing-room) have 18th-century windows substituted in the gable wall, which record this evolution.
Further extended north-east to form a long front to the valley and given a precarious fourth storey, this range provided the top-floor flat in which Clough and Amabel Williams-Ellis re-started their life at Plas Brondanw after its gutting by fire in 1951. The present interiors of the main house below, and the stone stairs, are replacement of 1952-53.
In the 1930s, adding the buttress-tower – subtly-scaled and in rubble masonry – provided more rooms. In the 18th century too the house had been enlarged, by building a separate broad unit at the north-east, with windows (now blocked) looking to Snowdon. This was remodelled as three service cottages in the later 19th century, when its stepped gables were added.
Richard Haslam, 2018