The area known as Crogen first makes an appearance in literature in the very early 13th century, as a small hamlet in the Meirionydd area just off the River Dyfrdwy. Nearby to the current house is a castle mount, which is thought to have been occupied by Elise ap Madog ap Maredudd (Lord of Penllyn) in as early as 1202 - although some suggest the location of the castle was actually closer to Llandderfel. However, there is evidence of stones from a previous building, perhaps a castle tower or summer house at the steep sided oval mound. Although there is no hard evidence to suggest that the area has medieval origins, the presence of the castle mound which is similar to those at Castell Prysor and Rug suggest that this may be the case.
Crogen is a Grade II* listed house which is possibly the site of the hanging of Gwilym Brewys (also known as William de Braose or Gwilym Ddu). Lord of the Abergavenny, he had an affair with Siwan, the wife of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) and daughter of King John - reputedly 800 people witnessed his death here in 1230.
The history of Crogen between the 13th century and early 19th century is a little harder to find, although those residing in the hall are mentioned on many occassions in the Heraldic Visitations of Wales between 1596 and 1613. We read from this that the house and land passed to the Barons on Edeirnion, possibly until the mid 16th century if not longer. In 1639 the owner was recorded as Morgan Lloyd, although a mere 10 years later it was owned by Maurice Wynn who was the receiver General of North Wales.
If you're interested in reading about the exterior of the house, we recommend this webpage on the British Listed Buildings website: Crogen A Grade II* Listed Building.
More recently, the house was modernised by the Earl of Dudley in 1831 who, as the then-owner, used the property as his hunting lodge. In fact, Dudley had plans to substantially extend the house.
In 1864, Henry Robertson – a very successful civil engineer, entrepreneur, industrialist and politician – acquired the lease on Crogen and subsequently acquired the property in the 1890’s but not before he’d built his own substantial house nearby, Palé. In 1889, Queen Victoria came to stay at Palé and visited Crogen to see Henry Beyer Robertson, who at 27 years old, had succeeded his father in the family businesses and properties.
Over the past 100 years or so, the house has remained in the Robertson family, although for the majority of that time, it has been let out. The family came back to the main house in 2004 and whilst it retains a family atmosphere, it has been sympathetically modernised to accommodate guests and friends alike.
Although Crogen is steeped in history, the current owners are very forward looking, and passionate about the ecological prospects of the estate: as well as biomass heating and a hydro system, they are currently investigating the possibilities of wind power.