History of the CastleThe history of the house and estate extends to before 1460 though the association with the Williams family dates from around 1690. The Castle as seen today is a creation of Sir John Hay Williams dating from between 1830 and 1852. Architects Hansom and Welch were employed by Sir John to refurbish and extend the house while further works at this time also resulted in a magnificent estate wall and formal garden. The loss of the main income source for the estate - lead mining - in the 1850s resulted in the decline of the Williams family fortunes, though further building refurbishment took place in the 1880s.
By the First World War, the estate had been reduced in size and the house used as a recuperation hospital. The grounds to the east of the main house were also used by nearby Kinmel Camp as an area for trench warfare training. In 1920 the house and estate were finally sold by the Williams family to Lowther College, a girls private school. The College was based at the Castle until 1982 when it finally closed due to financial problems (Click here for more information on Lowther College). In the 1980s the Castle was purchased by the then Clwyd County Council and developed as a museum, gallery and visitor attraction. Partnerships were formed with the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts to enable the display of many important national treasures at the Castle. To house these collections, the interior was sympathetically restored to its Victorian splendour by architect Roderick Gradidge.
In 1994, the County Council leased part of the site to the Rank Organisation for its first Warner Holidays hotel. Meanwhile, the magnificent Williams Hall with its national collections was placed under the control of Bodelwyddan Castle Trust. The National Portrait Gallery maintains the loan of nationally important art collections at the Castle with day-to-day curatorial care resting with the Trust. The Trust is supported in its work by the County Council (now Denbighshire) with an annual grant currently in the sum of £184,000.