The original house, built in 1622, was owned by the Thelwell family and was later purchased by the Naylor-Leyland clan in the mid-19th century.
They enlarged it with Victorian extensions, leaving only the original oak sitting room and bedroom untouched, and they also kept the name: Nantclwyd, which means “the brook over the river Clwyd.” During the 1950s, Tom’s grandfather commissioned the famous Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis to remove the Victorian extensions from the original 17th-century home and add a subtly pink-hued facade facing the garden front, as well as a new clock tower, garden pagodas, and a fiberglass temple. The interiors received a refresh as well when Tom’s father enlisted interior designer John Fowler to update the estate. Fowler famously lent his talents to Buckingham Palace and is often credited with inventing the humbly elegant decor that is now commonly associated with traditional English country homes: a reverence for the past mixed with a thoughtful use of color and jaunty patterns. Today, Fowler’s ingenious style is everywhere at Nantclwyd Hall—the floral fabric wall coverings, the pink Victorian seating, and the classic canopy beds, one of which sits in a room that some members of the house believe is haunted. As Alice explains, “There’s only a possibility it’s haunted. The house is so not scary, but if it was anywhere, people do find this room a bit spooky.”
While Nantclwyd has famously hosted scores of guests who have passed through its expansive doors over the generations, it is first and foremost a gathering place for family and their nearest and dearest. “We used to spend our summer holidays here every year,” says Tom of his childhood at Nantclwyd. “Exploring, swimming, shooting rabbits, and playing tennis.” It’s a tradition that he continues with his family and friends, visiting the property for the Easter and summer holidays, as well as for hunt parties in the winter—like the one thoughtfully orchestrated by Alice and recently attended by Vogue’s Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis. “It was lovely,” says Alice. “It was amazing to see our friends all together, all just hanging out.” No word on which guest was lucky enough to stay in the room with the oak bath.
Below, take a look at the spectacular rooms, the intriguing history, and the curious, cavernous bathtubs of Nantclwyd Hall.