The Gatehouse, dating back to 1480, has recently been restored and is a principal feature of its thriving, picturesque idyllic small market town – known for its people who "smile and say hello!"
Crickhowell is reputed to have more gourmet restaurants per square mile than anywhere in Britain. It is set on the banks on the Usk River in the centre of the valley and nestled between The Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and Llangattock escarpment and Crug Hywel – the fortification of Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good), founder of the common law still recognised today and is the first to consider the rights of women.
Porthmawr, being an historical site, takes full advantage of these most spectacular 360º views. Although the site is secluded, being set behind a 12ft high castellated stone wall, making this a discreet setting protected from public gaze, but full of romanticism in its history and enjoying spectacular sun sets over the Brecon Beacons.
Cwrt-y-Carw was a Royalist stronghold of the Herbert family, related to Raglan Castle, whereas the lands to the immediate north were under the Welsh Lordship of the Rhumsey family, parliamentarian supporters of Oliver Cromwell. The site features prominently within the Civil war with Sir John Herbert (Knight in Armour to Charles I) being imprisoned by Cromwell and losing 13 of his 14 children in the plight. Lord Rhumsey being the objector to his release. Charles I, while mustering Welsh troops after his first defeat, stayed here overnight with his assembling army on route to Chester and meeting Lord Raglan with Irish troops.
The Regency Mansion was built in 1825, retaining the Gatehouse as a form of folly by the Seymour family and became a private Bank of Porthmawr from where the statement "to pay the bearer on demand" derives. In the latter 19th Century many romantic tales of its inhabitants ensued. Constance Mary Solly-Flood, a spinster of Irish descent, received a loan from Mr Wilkes, the garage owner – more than the value of the estate, and never repaid by her – why? James Gwynne Holford died here whilst visiting Constance – which he regularly did – you ponder the circumstance! Brigadier General Solly-Flood, (Constance's nephew) inherited Porthmawr and pays off Constance's loan and pays for a clock to St Edmund's Church – however when the clock was erected it was placed facing the house as he had had a falling out with the townsfolk – visit St Edmund's to see the effigy's of Sir John Herbert as Knight laid to rest with his wife, read the tales of the Solly-Flood's and see if you can spot the 3 salmons formed in the stonework!
The current owner, local Mayor, Award winning Architectural Consultant and Artist, has tastefully restored the Mansion House sympathetically, but displays the works of local Welsh painters and sculptors, an evolving collection to enrich the interior design skills of Simone Davies, who's Interior Design and Antique shop mingles in the bustling High Street, along with other fine galleries and stores – giving a haven for home lovers presents.
Enjoy the experience of Porthmawr, its history, its garden views and sunsets. Indulge in the extensive Welsh breakfast menu – chat or be private, relax and unwind. This is the ideal base to explore the spectacular landscape of the Brecon Beacons with its World Geo-Park status. The World heritage site of Blaenavon, its castles, mountains, lakes and rivers.
Porthmawr can't be missed at the junction of the A40 and the New Road A4077 in the heart of Crickhowell Town. Just 150 yards from the Bear Hotel, look out for the opening at the southern end of the castellated wall.