Penrhyn Castle Tour Session #6


The Grand Staircase

Just looking upwards to the ceiling two floors above me is too much for the eye to take in. I cannot imagine what guest to Penrhyn Castle must have thought when they saw this for the first time. I admire the craftsmanship yet wonder at the exaltation it depicted.

This next leg of my Penrhyn tour looks at the luxurious stone carvings reflecting a decade of work for a handful of men. This stairway, referred to as the Grand Staircase, further expresses the creative design capabilities of Thomas Hopper who’s designs became increasingly more evident as the Castle developed its full presence. It is indeed an impressive work fit for purpose and indeed fit for the grand scale of the house itself.

The neo-Norman style continues as the theme despite difficulties in Norman styling unsuited to this stairway. The expanse of diverse carving serves to embellish what is a particularly small footprint for a grand staircase. This gives the both impression of grandeur and practical step configuration resulting in landings and tread heights perfected to within 1/16” of each other.


These complex carvings to the pylons, newels and balustrades give weight to effect a spectacle for visitors as they pass through the different levels. Carved from solid grey sandstone and limestone, I was impressed by the sheer accuracy of the stone carvers, but then looking aloft to the upper balustrades and ceiling panels, I couldn’t help but wonder if this wasn’t the absolute peak of artisanry in the precision of each steel chisel that carved such pristine work.

Again, I would encourage you to take the tour and enjoy narration by the Penrhyn Castle tour team who are extremely knowledgeable about the whole of Penrhyn Castle. They have stories and information that will really expand your knowledge and enhance your tour.