Powys Digital History Project 

Upper Swansea Valley
Craig-y-nos Castle 10
by Len Ley

The end of an era
The story of Craig-y-nos changed once more with the death of Adelina Patti on the 27th September 1919, at her home in the Welsh hills. Her embalmed body lay in her private chapel until the 24th October when she was then taken to London for all the world to pay homage to her memory at the Roman Catholic Church in Kensal Green.

In accordance with her wishes, the great Prima Donna was taken to France and buried near Paris in the Cemetary at Pere le Chaise. She lies near Rossini and the grave is marked by her name on a plain black stone.

Craig-y-nos Castle
in its heyday
with the full range
of extensions
the Winter Garden

Photograph by
kind permission of Brecknock Museum


Baron Rolf Von Cederstrom left Wales almost immediately after her death and was to survive her by almost thirty years. He remarried four years later and became the father of a daughter, dying in 1947 at Newmarket.

Since her death, stories have been told of her benign presence being seen or felt over the years. The tiny figure of a lady dressed in black is said to have been seen gliding across different rooms and drifting around the courtyard.
One recent story tells of a lady pianist who once sat at a piano in an ante-room of the theatre and then felt a presence behind her. At her first attempt she played the whole of Patti’s ‘Home sweet Home’ perfectly, before turning round to find no one there.


The castle and the grounds were sold to the Welsh National Memorial Trust for £11,000 in March 1921, and it was called the ‘Adelina Patti’ Hospital at the request of the Baron. It functioned as a chest hospital and many were nursed back to health during this period until the scourge of tuberculosis was conquered. In its latter years, the patients were mainly elderly and infirm.

During the Second World War an RAF pilot was brought to the hospital for treatment and met a young woman who was almost confined to her bed. They decided to wed but she was too ill to travel so the church granted them a special dispensation. They were married in the theatre and returned to the outside world after recovering their health. 


The castle finally closed as a hospital on the 31st March 1986 after the transfer of remaining patients to the new Community Hospital at Ystradgynlais. The Welsh Office maintained Craig-y-nos Castle and its unique theatre until it was sold into private ownership. It remained open to the public for several years but is currently in private ownership.

© Len Ley

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