Powys Digital History Project

The Elan Valley dams
"The Poet Shelley's house"

The location of
the Elan Valley dams
and reservoirs
is shown on the
sketch map.  
Cwm Elan house
The drowned valleys of the rivers Elan and Claerwen each contained a large and historic country house linked with the lyric poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The estate of Cwm Elan, containing the Elan Valley mansion, was purchased in 1792 by Thomas Grove. It was described then as "10,000 worthless acres, which he is now converting into a paradise."
A local touring guide published in 1892, before the start of the dams project, noted that:
"...the Cwm Elan Estate was purchased early in the century by Mr Grove, a Wiltshire gentleman, and it is to his fostering care that a great part of its present luxuriant beauty is due."

Cwm Elan mansion
shown in an early
postcard of the 1880's

County Archives

1880's  postcard of Cwm ElanThis Wiltshire gentleman was Shelley’s uncle, and the poet, who came to stay at Cwm Elan on two occasions, was to become very attached to the rugged grandeur of the local landscape.
The souvenir postcard shown here shows the lost house in its attractive setting in the 1880's.
  The romantic surroundings led Shelley to strive unsuccessfully to secure the lease of Nantgwyllt house, the large mansion in the nearby valley of the River Claerwen, only about one and a half miles from Cwm Elan.

 The submerged site
of Cwm Elan house
in 1999

Site of Cwm Elan It is interesting to compare the postcard view shown above of Cwm Elan in its setting, with the scene today.
The photograph on the left, taken in November 1999, shows the view across Careg-ddu reservoir, with the location of the lost house easily recognisable from the shape of the surrounding hills.
  There are 2 pages on Cwm Elan house. 
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