'beneath Kinmael, is Vaenol; one of the best old houses in the county of Flint. It was built in 1595, by John Lloyd…. register (Registrar) of St Asaph in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; a place extremely profitable, before the powers of the church were abridged.'
Thomas Pennant, 'A Tour in Wales' (1778)
When Faenol Fawr house was first built in 1597 by the John Lloyd, the registrar for the St Asaph diocese, it would have sat within a landscape of stunning natural beauty, and it is still possible to get a sense of that within the grounds of this Elizabethan house. Bodelwyddan has grown, certainly, and nearby is the concrete leviathan of Glan Clwyd Hospital and of course the A55 Expressway. Yet, this presence does not seem to extend past the skirting of trees behind which Faenol Fawr House resides, little altered from its Tudor past, externally at least.
Built to an Elizabethan H plan, the facade of the House is a riot of Dutch gabling, entirely of the 16th century and little changed, a fashion introduced to North Wales at Plas Clough in Denbigh. The interior, however has changed, at least in the way it is presented. It seems that in the 18th century alterations, little was actually removed, but rather moved and rearranged. The fireplace has a stunning Lloyd armorial dated to its foundation, 1597. A sensitive restoration was undertaken after a fire in the early 1980s.
As for legends associated with the House, there is a belief that a woman dressed in the finery fashionable in the 18th century haunts the upper stories of the House, and that Oliver Cromwell stayed at the House during the 17th century.