Here is the e-mail that I sent to the current owners of this hotel, which was built by my ancestors John and Alfred Burgoyne who were brickmakers in Little Mill, Wales. If I was doing a house history on this magnificent house I would be contacting myself!
My name is Robin Burgoyne. I am a house historian living in Toronto, Canada www.housestories.ca and I am VERY interested in the history of Gliffaes Country House Hotel. My interest in the hotel is twofold. Not only am I interested professionally and personally in the background behind houses of historical significance, but I have a particular interested in Gliffaes. You may or may not recognize the name Burgoyne. The Burgoyne’s were Welsh brickmakers. John Burgoyne came from Hertfordshire to start up the “Burgoyne Brickworks” in Little Mill around 1850. He was my great-great grandfather. John had a son, Alfred James Burgoyne who also went into the brick business. Cut to the early 1980’s when my father Edward Burgoyne, who had moved to Canada in 1954 and had made his career as a planner/real estate appraiser and my mother Jocelyn, were travelling through Wales. While visiting the area where my father grew up my mother and father came upon a grand old house that was being used as a hotel. As they approached the house my father turned to my mother and said to her; “I think that my great Grandfather built that house.”, and so inside they went. They spoke to the proprietors of the hotel and recounted to them my father’s story. The response that they received in reply was; “You’re name is Burgoyne? I think there may be some bricks with that name imprinted on them out back.” And so my parents went around to the back of the house. There in the orchard amoungst the trees they came upon a pile of bricks with the name of my great-great grandfather’s brickworks on them. I am therefore guessing that my father was probably correct in his belief that my forefathers at least had some hand in the making of this house. While in the orchard my parents picked up four of those bricks and with great effort they brought them home to Canada with them. Each one of the those bricks now lies in the home of one of Edward Burgoyne’s children in Canada. They act not only as interesting conversation pieces, but also as reminder of our ties to Wales and our family that once lived there and produced bricks. You can now understand why I feel a connection and am so interested in the history of Gliffaes.
Robin T Burgoyne