Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire

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Golden Grove (Welsh: Gelli Aur) is a mansion and estate in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire located 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Llandeilo.


There have been three mansions on the estate. The first was built in 1560 by the Vaughan family which was later ennobled as Earls of Carbery. This was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1754 by a Neoclassical box of fine quality with a long doric-columned portico. In 1804 the estate was bequeathed by John Vaughan, the last of the Golden Grove Vaughans, to his Oxford friend John Frederick Campbell, Lord Cawdor of Castlemartin, later 1st Earl Cawdor, who demolished the previous property and built the existing house, designed by the leading architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville 700 yards (640 m) to the south-west above the original: begun 1827, completed 1834.[1] Wyatville was simultaneously occupied in the extensive remodelling of Windsor Castle for King George IV, and subsequently King William lV, as well as the building of a remarkably similar property, Lilleshall Hall in Shropshire, for Cawdor's cousin, George Leveson-Gower, nephew of the Duke of Sutherland. Correspondence exists between the two families relating to the huge costs of construction of both Golden Grove and Lilleshall, and the problems in bringing them to completion created by Wyatville's pre-occupation with the complexities and demands of his new schemes for the King.

Golden Grove remained in Cawdor family occupation until 1935.

During the Second World War it was occupied by the United States Airforce. Carmarthenshire County Council used it as offices, and Coleg Sir Gâr operated it as an agricultural college until 2003.[2]

Plans were made to convert the building to a hotel, to flats, and to a convalescent home, but the building remained unused and deteriorating until 2011, when the council sold the house and park to the Golden Grove Trust, formed to make the house a destination for art and cultural activities and restore the park. In 2015 it received a grant of almost £1 million from the Welsh Government.[3]

The 2017 BBC television series Decline and Fall, based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, was filmed at Golden Grove, and in 2018 the house and park were primary filming location for the film Six Minutes to Midnight.[4]

House, gardens and country park[edit]

Golden Grove in August 2005

The house has Scottish Baronial features in a Tudor or Elizabethan architectural style, although it is a late Regency, Georgian, house and not a Victorian house. It is constructed of Llangyndeyrn limestone traditionally called 'black marble'. Its national importance is recognised by its Grade II* listing. Gardens immediate on the house include an arboretum, laid out in the 1860s, and deer park, both Grade II listed.


  1. ^ "Golden Grove Mansion; Gelli Aur; Llandeilo". Coflein. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
  2. ^ "Gelli Aur Country Park reopens to the public". BBC. 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ Coles, Jon (2 September 2016). "Gelli Aur park closure hints at massive renovation bill". The Carmarthenshire Herald.
  4. ^ Bannon, Christie (16 July 2018). "The incredible gothic Welsh mansion where Judi Dench is filming in Carmarthenshire". Wales Online.

Coordinates: 51°52′N 4°02′W / 51.86°N 4.04°W / 51.86; -4.04