Trevor Hall's secrets revealed in new TV series

Reporter:

Rob Bellis

IMPRESSIVE and imposing, Trevor Hall has commanded its position overlooking the Dee Valley for centuries and has been home to some of the region’s most illustrious figures.

Yet for a large part of the 20th century the only occupants of the magnificent building were a herd of cows from a nearby farm.

As part of a new series, ‘Hidden Houses of Wales’, which starts tonight on BBC One Wales, flamboyant presenter Laurence Llewelyn Bowen joins owner Louise Parker on a journey through the Hall, now fully restored, and looks at its fascinating history going back to the 1700s.

The house was bought by Mrs Parker and her late husband, Louis, in 1998, following 10 years of extensive and sympathetic restoration by its previous owner, surveyor Michael Tree.

A fire had devastated much of the building, but thanks to Mr Tree, who bought the house in the late 1980s, and the Parkers, who continued the renovations, the hall was rescued from a life as a dilapidated cowshed and brought back to its former glory.

The site on which the 18th century building stands had, some 400 years earlier, been home to Bishop John Trevor, the man who built the famous bridge in nearby Llangollen.

In 1742, it became the seat of the Trevors, who oversaw the construction of the current Georgian mansion and, in the late 19th century the house was occupied by the Coster-Edwards family, famous for terracotta manufacturing in the area.

Louis and Louise Parker, who together were responsible for building up an international pop empire, ditched their London lifestyle for the Llangollen countryside and the Hall became home to them and their young daughter, Daisy.

Sadly Louis, who was originally from Rhyl and had worked with such bands as The Prodigy, Nirvana and Boyzone, died from cancer just two years after they moved to North Wales.

Louise, his widow, has continued to transform their grand home into a legacy of pop, as well as remaining true to the Hall’s Georgian style and centuries of history.

“When we walked through the gates for the first time, this stupendous house was in front of us,” recalled Louise.

“The sun was shining, it was freezing cold and we just couldn’t believe our luck.

“We needed a lifestyle change. Louis was from Wales and we just knew that this was the place where we wanted to be.”

Recently, Louise bought back the 150 acres of land that originally came with the house but had been separately owned for more than two centuries.

As well as maintaining her connections with the music industry, Louise is also busy with her new role as a farmer and horse breeder.

Former Changing Rooms presenter Llewellyn Bowen, known for his foppish style, describes the rooms in Trevor Hall as “a picture of pure regency elegance”.

He adds: “But the gold pillars, gold discs and general showbiz bling (in one particular room) gives a dirty great big clue to the Parkers’ impressive pop pedigree.”

A little over 20 years ago, Trevor Hall’s future looked bleak.

Today it has returned to the level of grandeur that would have suited the eminent figures who have lived there in the past.

During the programme, Louise explains the motto Dum Spiro Spero (Whilst I Breathe I Hope), carved in stone on a plaque on an outside wall of the house.

“This motto was very relevant to me 10 years ago and will be relevant to me always,” she said.

“I believe you need hope in whatever you do, and I hope for other people, that this house will live through a next generation of family... or whoever moves in after me.”

  • Hidden Houses of Wales starts tonight on BBC One Wales at 7.30pm.
  • Louise offers the Hall to hire for private functions such as weddings, conferences or even a family break. For more information, go to www.trevorhall.com

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