Cochrane family, Earls of Dundonald

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Cochrane family, Earls of Dundonald

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The Lloyds of Gwrych Castle can be traced back to David Lloyd of Plas yn Gwrych in 1608. In 1787 Frances Lloyd, daughter of the Rev. John Lloyd and co-heiress of Henry Wrych, married Robert Bamford-Hesketh of Bamford Hall and Upton, who was the son of Robert Hesketh, of Upton, Cheshire. Through marriage the family had acquired land in Cheshire and Lancashire. It was this Robert Hesketh of Upton who acquired the Bamford estates following his marriage to an heiress named Nicholson. He was succeeded by his heir, Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh (1788-1861), who married Lady Emily Esther Ann Lygon, youngest daughter of the 1st Earl of Beauchamp in 1825. It was Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh who built Gwrych Castle in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was followed by his son Robert Bamford-Hesketh,1826-1894, who married Ellen Jones-Bateman in 1851. He bought various parcels of land and in 1873 the estate measured 3424 acres of land, along with a number of coal mines in North Wales.

Winifred Bamford-Hesketh (b. 1859), Robert Bamford-Hesketh's sole heiress, married Douglas Mackinnon Baillie Hamilton, 12th Earl of Dundonald in 1878. In 1919, she sold some of the old buildings on the estate, along with the Llanddulas limestone quarry and some mines. In her will, she bequeathed Gwrych to Prince George, later King George V, who was unable to accept the gift and sold the castle, which was later on re-purchased by the Earl of Dundonald for £70,000.

Thomas Hesketh Douglas Blair, Lord Cochrane, 13th Earl of Dundonald, sold Gwrych Castle mansion in 1946 for £12,000, along with the remainder of the estate.

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