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Touring Nanteos

The beautiful Nanteos mansion was the destination of our October trip. Now a hotel and wedding venue, this 18th century house outside Aberystwyth is probably most famous for having housed the Nanteos cup, said to be the holy grail.

Janet Joel, author of the book ‘Nanteos: Life on a Welsh Country Estate’, was our guide for the afternoon. Here she describes the house and our tour:

A guided tour: 11th October 2023

Nanteos was built in 1739, by the Powell family. The Powell’s owned over 31,000 acres at their peak, owning mostly North of Ceredigion and many lead and silver mines. The Georgian mansion was built by Thomas Powell and his wife Mary which the foundation stone states on the East side of the mansion. Sadly, Thomas Powell died in 1752 before completion but his brother Rev. William Powell completed the build. The mansion is built on top of a smaller house, which remains underneath and used as a cellar, it has been suggested that it dates to the 13th century.

During the tour we walked from the Entrance Hall through to the Morning Room, following through to the library, which is now the hotel bar. During the Powell time the Nanteos Cup was kept in a locked cupboard and taken out when visitors called to drink from it. Then through to the dining room, the largest room of the house. We continued the tour up the grand staircase to the gallery and saw the very grand Music room, with its decorative Rococo design, large mirrors, and Aesop’s Fable marble fireplace. Today, wedding ceremonies are conducted in this lavish room.

Then up to the second floor, to see the smaller private areas of the Powell family; today the rooms are bedroom suites for the hotel. The attic rooms where the servants slept had been removed in the early 1960s due to replacing the roof with lead.

Returning down to the ground floor via the servant staircase to the service areas. The service bells still hung in the corridor, sadly only the Music Room bell remains in working order. Then onto the kitchen, which was laid out for breakfasts for the visitors of the hotel. The Victorian dresser remains in the kitchen as does the ‘Vigars of Aberystwyth’ cooking range, charcoal ovens, and a huge plate warmer. Hooks can still be seen on the ceiling that once hung the meat for the family.

Making our way outside, to the courtyard, where there were more service rooms, including the Estate office and battery store, which are now 4 dog friendly bedroom suites. Leaving the courtyard, we were led to the Greek style stables, built in and around 1837, which would have housed up to 18 horses and several carriages. Then back down to the walled garden, and eventually returning to the dining room for afternoon tea.

Jan Joel


You can read more about the house on her website:


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