ABOUT THE HOTEL
This building is one of the oldest in Llandrindod Wells, with parts reputedly surviving from the 16th century. A staircase and some of the beams inside are known to date from the 17th century. The frontage mostly dates from the early 19th century, when the building was a coaching inn. You can see the former stables to the left of the inn.
The building was known as Llanerchdirion in the 18th century and is recorded in this form in an 1804 document, and as Llanerchdirrion in a 1771 will. An 1833 Ordnance Survey map names it as Llanerch-y-dirion. Llannerch is Welsh for a glade or place. Tirion = gentle or benign.
From 1775 to 1779 Llanerchdirion was the home of the Rev Ioan Thomas, a Methodist preacher. He was a tenant, possibly rent-free, of the owner, Thomas Jones of Pencerrig.
The Llanerch Inn was offering accommodation to the public by the 1840s. In 1823 completion of the turnpike road from Crossgates to Newtown had been followed by the introduction of stage coaches, which took about five hours between Newtown and Llandrindod. The Royal Dart coach ran three days per week, arriving from Welshpool via Newtown at lunchtime and returning in the evening.
In 1868 the Llanerch Hotel, as it was then known, advertised “Lock-up stables and coach houses” to appeal to travellers who had their own transport. “Extensive alterations” had recently been made. Board and lodging cost £1.15s per week (about £180 in today’s money) or six shillings per day. Servants could lodge at the hotel for £1.1s per week.
At that time the hotel was adapting to the arrival in 1865 of the Central Wales Railway, replacing horse-drawn vehicles for many journeys. The proprietor boasted in 1874 that the hotel “is within two minutes’ walk of the railway station”. In 1908 plans were drawn up to replace the “somewhat out-of-date” hotel with a new building adjacent to the station, but the idea was killed off by a shortage of money and uncertainty over whether magistrates would transfer the old hotel’s licence to the new one.
In September 1918, Thomas Lewis, proprietor of the Llanerch Hotel, was informed that his son, Lance Corporal Glenville Lewis of the East Lancs Regiment, had been seriously wounded. Another son had been discharged from the army because of wounds earlier in the First World War. The Lewis family ran the hotel from the early to mid-20th century, their sons and daughters all working there.