A5 Capel Curig Conwy_County Wales
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The Ugly House, Ty Hwll in Welsh, is a landmark on the A5 between Betws y Coed and Capel Curig in Conwy County, North Wales. Though the true origins of the Ugly House remain shrouded in mystery, legend tells us that it was a crude house built in the 15th century by two outlaw brothers. It was a ‘Ty Un Nos’ - or house built overnight. Under ancient law, he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim the freehold. However, Ty Hyll was probably built in the mid-nineteenth century as a 'Picturesque' cottage that would appeal to the growing tourist trade. In the early 19th century, navvies working on Telford’s new road and the bridge by the Ugly House may have taken over the cottage. They may have added a loft and new windows before abandoning the house when it was no longer near enough to their place of work. By the mid 19th Century, the Ugly House is included in ‘A Tourist Guide to Wales’ as a ‘quaint cottage’. Its reputation grew so that more than a 100 years later visitors are still charmed by the old building. Edward and Lilian Riley bought the Ugly House back in 1929. The couple frequently entertained friends and even passers-by. Edward, a colourful and controversial man, became well known as a local storyteller. Lillian died in 1960 and Edward a year later. After the Riley's time the house was used as an antique shop and a tea shop, but it was left empty and decaying during the early 1980s.By 1988 the cottage was derelict, and was bought and restored by the Snowdonia Society. The renovation work was lovingly carried out by Peter Kirby, the husband of the Society’s founder, the late Esmé Kirby. It is now a Grade II listed building, housing on its upper floor the Society’s offices while the ground floor has a display about the Society’s work; a small sales area and a depiction of how part of a 19th century Welsh cottage would have looked.
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