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The Weird and Wonderful Grotesques of Rhos Uchaf Hall

I first came across these rather wonderful characters some many years ago, after leaving one place and traveling on my way to another. I love that - you know, coming across the unexpected quite by accident - forcing you to swerve from your ordinary and mundane. And it's fair to say these grotesques, lining the road facing wall of Rhos Uchaf Hall, are quite extraordinary. I came back, of course, knowing what I was looking for this time, and with the early summer sun on my back, I traveled up to Llanfynydd to reacquaint myself with the grotesques of Rhos Uchaf Hall.

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A pair of Lions guard the wonderfully moving World War 1 war memorial to the lost of Llanfynydd Parish. 

All manner of strangeness is here - winged creatures, all ears and proboscises, squatting demonic savages, leering monstrosities, alongside recognisable curious monkeys and apes, lions and a magnificent crocodile. Quite the sight in this quiet and unassuming little village. They are not unlike the stone sculptures surrounding Cardiff Castle, but stranger and weirder, and startling. The grotesques were the work of a clearly talented farm bailiff, and are said to be, at least in some instances, copies of gargoyles at Notre Dame Cathedral.

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The weirdness of this...a winged and trunked monstrosity.

Rhos Uchaf Hall is fascinating in itself - owned by the wonderfully named Claude Pierrepoint Hunter, son of the founder of Hunter Seeds of Chester. Claude used the grounds of the Hall for seed experiments and made a name for himself in creating Hunterised airfields, grass runways of exceptional quality - including that of the Great West Aerodrome - now known as London Heathrow Airport. He also had one of the earliest airfields in the area, adjacent to the Hall and now long since returned to pasture.

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Worn weird - a demon, perhaps?

Rhos Uchaf Hall is fascinating in itself - owned by the wonderfully named Claude Pierrepoint Hunter, son of the founder of Hunter Seeds of Chester. Claude used the grounds of the Hall for seed experiments and made a name for himself in creating Hunterised airfields, grass runways of exceptional quality - including that of the Great West Aerodrome - now known as London Heathrow Airport. He also had one of the earliest airfields in the area, adjacent to the Hall and now long since returned to pasture.

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Y Diafol?

Though parts of Rhos Uchaf Hall have 17th century origins, much of the current building is said to have been the bricks of a chapel and school in Saltney.

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Could this be a stone representation of a gwyllgi?

Built into the wall is a well, of sorts, but better still is the quite beautiful memorial to those men of Llanfynydd Parish that fell during World War One. Splendid and desperately moving.

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