The Big House, also known as Landshipping House, is a house in Landshipping, Pembrokeshire on the banks of the River Cleddau which was originally built in 1750 and owned by the Owens of Orielton who were the Landshipping Coal Agents. In a later press article to promote our project I was quoted as saying that Alun charmed me with some spectacular midnight boat trips and that is pretty much what happened. The boys ended up in my caravan, wearing my spare warm clothes and drinking hot chocolate waiting for their parents, after I took them in and made the calls. Our long-term ambition was to sail the world - starting from and returning to the Daugleddau estuary. eggs from the gate and when I found myself at home with the little ones, we spent hours every day outside where we grew mountains of veg in the walled garden and tended a flock of chickens, geese and ducks. In 1914 he granted a lease for a company to mine but this also did not seem to progress. The children and I found ourselves living full-time on the site on our own for about three years while Alun was away, maintaining our home and caring for the resident animals there until late 2010. As a result of a chance meeting while doing some reporting for the BBC in Pembrokeshire, I ended up considering Landshipping's Big House ruin my home for the best part of a decade. There were many incidences. She and the children lived in a trailer and small shack directly behind the main house until recently. The advertisement for Big House describes it as "Beautifully situated on the banks of the River Cleddy and opposite Picton Castle containing - sundry Bed Rooms, Hall, Parlour, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Nursery, Library, Servants Offices, Range of Stabling, Coach House, Saddle Room & Granary Over Yard, External Walled Garden, Orchards, Wood etc.". The National Park planners were breathing down our necks because with no building works taking place, it transpired that we had no right to live on the site in a caravan and didn't have planning permission either. For as long as I could, I held onto the lifestyle the children had been used to, cared for the animals we had left, coped with the daily hassles, carried on paying the bills and did a lot of thinking. In the winter of 2006, Alun went to work at LNG in Milford Haven.
Due to poor estate management and political misadventure, he lost his fortune in 1856 and had to sell Big House, which was bought by William Owen, who was an architect. Ray and Watkin were unconvinced. The boat business would work as an extra service once an income from accommodation was created, but the boat business itself was more of a hobby activity - great fun but not financially viable. 3.
The house is a private residence and private property. Highlights of my time living there include watching the barn owls coming and going from their nest in the chimney stack and the rare bats flying round my head at dusk; incredible harvest moon moments; raising a litter of spaniel pups; letting the little ones feed the chickens; welcoming swallows each spring; spotting otters and ospreys and kingfishers and being the first and last to see the tide in and out each day.
South Wales Daily News, 19 March 1883, p. 2. The original house was built in 1750, and has seen many owners and much work. The cottages are being used as storage barns. , Coordinates: 51°46′09″N 4°52′58″W / 51.7692773°N 4.8826557°W / 51.7692773; -4.8826557. About 'Cleddau King' Boat Charters . We experienced Pembrokeshire in all her rib-rattling glory. It was awkward to say the least. The house was constructed using stone and roof materials from an older, ruined inland mansion. Alun asked me to contact Channel 4's 'Grand Designs' but it was becoming clear to me that we could end up looking rather foolish if we continued to publicise our much-loved project but without the 'reveal' of a completed job at the end of it. It was a painful time. In 2002 Big House appeared in This Land, a network BBC TV series directed by Richard Traylor-Smith, as Alun Lewis and then partner Sarah Hoss and their children moved to the site to begin the project; then again in 2005 the family were featured with their project in the BBC TV series Magic Harbours presented by Jamie Owen.  Shortly after a lease was given by the Trust to John Maule Sutton to conduct mining activities.
A third storey was added to the western wing, and the entrance was moved to the North facade between two bow-fronted full height extensions. The website for Big House indicates that progress has been largely stalled since 2012, due to financial constraints; and, the proposed Bed and Breakfast is still not open.
He had inherited the property from his cousin Sir Hugh Owen who had died young and unmarried. Almost 10 years ago, he bought it.
The original house was built in about 1750 by the Owen family of Orielton who owned coal mines in the area. His design was inspired by Slebech Hall and Picton Castle.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners had considered it nothing more than an old ruin, (which it was, to be fair) which became, every summer, completely submerged in a huge curtain of ivy and trees. They partied by the gates all night, while the children and I stayed in the caravans, listening and hoping we wouldn't be discovered.
, The Trust of Sir Edmond Stanley was able to purchase properties and one of these was Landshipping Estate. The final alterations occurred in 1830 by architect William Owen.
We had exhausted all our media outlets in terms of generating maximum publicity for the project - I felt that what we needed was to undertake and complete the building works in order to have a holiday accommodation business to take to market. He fitted them (by building two stone gate posts) and created a further level of mystery to the place, with the old house now hidden behind them. Having won the argument and put plans in place, they put the project on the market due to family reasons when both their wives fell ill. (photo by kind permission of the photographer Watkin Jones).
Cleddau King is available for leisure, diving & fishing trips and as a work boat. Our caravan home and TV ariel can be seen to the left in publicity shots that the BBC took of the project. The boat business proved unprofitable - by the time bad weather, wrong tide and poor sea states were taken into account. However, Ray and Watkin saved what was left of the main walls, and had an engineer report on the structure.  In 1888 a new seam of coal was discovered at Landshipping but little was done to reactivate the mines. I came to Pembrokeshire in search of a compass-net fisherman - and found Alun.
The House was originally owned by Sir John Owen, later passing to his son Hugh, who was born in Lincolns Inn, Middlesex in 1804.
Alun had installed what became known as 'Sarah's Sunset Bench' on the end of the quay wall to keep me focused on our distant plans to sail off on a long trip one day - as well as the enormous task back in Pembrokeshire that we'd set ourselves. Potters Electric News, 13 May 1868, p. 4.
Life became very difficult. He’s got a big job on his hands. Eventually me and the kids ended up living in the caravans on our own. Restoration Home - Big House - Episode Six. Despite our humble living quarters, we held seven family Christmases at the Big House, often with extended family brave enough to come to west Wales to 'rough it' with us. The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, 15 June 1866, p. 2. The current property is set in about 2 acres.. Low moments include removing a dead rat from the excited clutches of my two year old; finding my toddler son dangling by one boot - 20 feet up a ladder; and dealing with the squalid conditions that crept up around us as the years rolled by and I was still a land-lubber!  The 1841 Census shows the family living at the “Big House” with two of their children and seven servants. The current property is set in about 2 acres. However in 1867 his firm the Landshipping Colleries Company was wound up due to insolvency.. “A shocking elopement in Regency England: Mary Ann Stanley and Edward Trant Bontein”. One night, a group of teenagers congregated and lit a fire by setting light to some old dinghies in the boat pound. By this time the Great House which had previously been a splendid mansion was roofless and in ruins. Ray was a property developer and had access to stonemasons and a team of workers.
The 1851 Census shows Hugh at Landshipping with his new family.
Email provider. Photos on the website from across the river, and on a Facebook page for the area, show the current state of the building. YouTube (7 January 2006). We decided to establish a business we could pass to our children as they grew up, before heading off into the sunset, safe in the knowledge we would sail back home one day. After more than a decade, one still needs to leave the house to go to the toilet. However the cottages at the rear remained lived in until the 1970s. This building would have been a simple rectangular design with an entrance facing South-West, before several alterations occurred. A map of 1785 shows the Landshipping Estate. The Aberystwith Observer, 13 July 1867, p. 4.
In 1922 the Landshipping Estate, including Big House, was sold at auction. I just concentrated on keeping the kids safe and hoped things would improve.
Richard Fenton 1811 “A historical tour through Pembrokeshire”, p. 242.
The children and I would come and go from school and work by accessing the site at the rear - down a dark pot-holed lane on foot and through a hole in the hedge.
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