Country houses for sale

The enormous 18th century library turned into a magnificent country home

Wynnstay Hall in North Wales was the former seat of the Williams-Wynn family.

‘Low key’ and ‘unpretentious’ are probably words not readily associated with grand, Grade II*-listed Wynnstay Hall at Ruabon, near Wrexham, North Wales. The former principal seat of the Williams-Wynn family, it stands high above the River Dee, overlooking the Vale of Llangollen and the Berwyn mountains.

In the mid 17th century, the estate passed to Sir John Wynn, although, of this period, only the stone tower of 1706 survives. In 1736–8, the house was enlarged and remodelled by Francis Smith of Warwick and his son William, who also designed the stable block. A large assembly room was added in 1770 and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was engaged to lay out the estate’s parks and gardens between 1777 and 1782.

In the early to mid 19th century, another ambitious building programme ceased when a fire destroyed much of the building and, in 1858, the architect Benjamin Ferrey was commissioned by the 6th Baronet to rebuild the mansion in its present French Renaissance style.

Wynnstay Hall

After the Second World War, heavy death duties forced the Williams-Wynn family to leave the vast mansion and, in 1948, their 200-year link with Ruabon was finally severed. Much of the estate was put up for sale and the house became a private school, which closed due to bankruptcy in 1994, after which the building was converted to luxury apartments.

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Twenty years later, however, the central, 6,640sq ft Library was in a dire state of repair when, in 2014, the brothers Omar and Dafydd Gomez-Evans, founders of London-based design company Concept Bespoke Interiors, bought this dominant part of the Hall and set about restoring it as a family country retreat.

Wynnstay Hall

Following a painstaking, two-year refurbishment by local builder W. D. Stant, under the watchful eye of the Gomez-Evans brothers and the listed- buildings officer, The Library boasts three reception rooms, a kitchen/ breakfast room, seven bedrooms, four bath/shower rooms and a leisure complex with an indoor swimming pool and gymnasium.

It comes with access to communal tennis courts, an all-weather sports pitch, landscaped grounds and is for sale through Strutt & Parker in Chester (01244 354880), at a guide price of £995,000.

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