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Gwylfa Hiraethog (a.k.a. Plas Pren)

There is an isolated ruin on the Denbigh moors which can be seen from the A543 as you head north east towards the Sportsman’s Arms. It is ‘Gwylfa Hiraethog’ (The Watchtower of Hiraethog (where Hiraethog is the Denbigh moors)), yet it is still known locally as ‘Plas Pren’ after the original wooden structure erected on the site. The house was constructed between 1908 and 1911 for the politician Hudson Ewbanke Kearley, 1st Viscount Devonport (Born 1st September 1856 – Died 5th September 1934), as a hunting lodge, to accommodate his shooting parties. It was said to ‘have been the highest inhabited house in Wales, and to have the widest views of any house in Britain’ when it was built. Unfortunately, due to its isolated position on the moors it proved difficult to retain servants, and it was sold in 1925. The last inhabitant of the house was Hugh Williams, the estate gamekeeper who left for further employment in around 1955. Abandoned, the house fell in to dereliction and ruin, and it has deteriorated rapidly over the last twenty years.

The house and ruins are reputedly haunted. The locals of the nearby Sportsman’s Arms tell the story of a couple, who saw a ‘tall luminous skeleton that glowed in the dark’, and as it approached them, the couple scared witless ran away and never returned. Other people out walking on the moors have reported hearing strange noises emanating from the house, and have seen lights shining about the building. Many people refuse to go anywhere near to the ruins.

Simon Topham

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Ian Topham
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Re: Gwylfa Hiraethog (a.k.a. Plas Pren)

I am always dubious when I come across such unusual things as luminous skeletons, so it came as no surprise (and with a bit of relief) to have this account confirmed as being bogus from Richard Holland, author of Haunted Wales.  I think it is still very valuable to record and keep these stories as well as confirming that they are probably more of a myth than reality.



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