Posted on 24 March 2010
Left to right: Karen Armstrong and Pam Honeyman
A beer brewed and named as a tribute to Arthur Blayney, the 18th century bachelor squire of Gregynog, is to go on sale at the University of Wales's Conference Centre, Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, near Newtown in time for the Easter opening of a new courtyard café and shop.
Blayney’s Brew has been developed by brewer Pam Honeyman, owner of Monty’s Brewery at Hendomen, Montgomery, after discussions with the University of Wales and Gregynog Hall’s manager Karen Armstrong.
The beer will be sold in the bar, new courtyard café and shop at Gregynog Hall, the university’s historic and picturesque conference and event venue and study centre.
“We are delighted that ‘Blayney’s Brew’ has been specially brewed for Gregynog Hall in time for Easter,” said Miss Armstrong. “We have decided to replace some more well know brands with a local alternative to give visitors a true taste of the area.
“Blayney’s Brew has been inspired by the 17th century oak carvings of the Blayney Room at Gregynog Hall and as a tribute to Arthur Blayney, the bachelor squire of Gregynog, who died 1795.”
Mrs Honeyman said she was delighted to develop Blayney’s Brew for Gregynog Hall and described the beer as “very golden with a hoppy, citrus flavour with a long, bitter aftertaste.”
Having only started brewing beer in January last year, she has already won awards from the Winter Beers of Wales and Darlington Spring Thing Beer Festival. She currently brews five regular and three seasonal beers and is selling an average of 90 nine-gallon casks a week.
Described as an unpretentious man, Arthur Blayney was famous for his hospitality and generosity and was also known as an agricultural improver.
“During his time at Gregynog, the house was not grand but comfortable and visitors of every estate were welcome at his table, which groaned with local produce rather than expensive luxuries, except for his port, in which he took a characteristically 18th century pleasure,” said Miss Armstrong.
“He treated his tenants as friends and did all he could to help them improve their lands. Indeed he made no rent increases for 40 years and left each of his servants five guineas in his will. One of his most charming memorials is the note he left giving instructions for his funeral, which he desired to be as plain, quiet and early in the morning as possible.”
The fine heraldic carvings in Gregynog’s Blayney Room date to 1636 when they were commissioned by David Lloyd Blayney’s grandson John.
It was once believed that the carvings were executed by itinerant Flemish woodcarvers, but as there had been an important Newtown School of woodcarvers based in the area in the late Middle Ages it is not impossible that their skills passed to descendants who might have had a hand in the work.
The carvings depict in relief the coats of arms of the Welsh princes and chieftains from whom the Blayneys claimed descent, reaching back to those early times where legend and history intermingle.
For more press information please contact either Karen Armstrong, Gregynog Hall manager, on 01686 650224 or Duncan Foulkes, public relations consultant, on 01686 650818.
To learn more about Gregynog Hall and the University of Wales, please visit: www.wales.ac.uk