The Foundation is a charity originally established by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1972, to protect his property in North Wales and ensure its conservation for long-term public benefit.

The Foundation is managed by up to eight trustees. Some are descendants of Sir Clough. All are volunteers who bring expertise in a range of areas.

The Foundation’s property consists of three main components: the rural Brondanw Estate in the parish of Llanfrothen, including cottages, farms and woodlands; Plas Brondanw - Sir Clough’s home on the Estate; and Portmeirion Village - his architectural creation at Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth.

In caring for the land and buildings in these areas of beautiful Welsh countryside, the Foundation seeks to ensure Clough's vision for them endures, specifically to "Cherish the past, adorn the present and construct for the future".

Aims & Values

For the benefit of current and future generations, the Foundation seeks to:

  • Promote conservation of the countryside and rural landscape, and its flora and fauna.
  • Preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Foundation’s land including its formal gardens and parklands, its agricultural holdings and its wilderness areas.
  • Protect areas of historic, ecological or other scientific interest and preserve or improve their natural character, environment and biodiversity.
  • Promote responsible public access to the countryside and the preservation of walking routes and footpaths for this purpose.
  • Preserve and restore buildings of historic, architectural or artistic merit, including Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’s architectural legacy.
  • Develop and promote sustainable agriculture and woodlands and green energy projects.
  • Provide good quality rural housing to help maintain a vibrant community able to retain people in the area and sustain its language and culture.
  • Promote public awareness of Welsh history and culture and the importance of conservation, environmentalism and excellence in design.

The Founders

Clough and Amabel Williams-Ellis, who founded the Trust whose website you are reading, lived long and varied lives together in a partnership that lasted more than 60 years.

Clough and Amabel

Clough, born in 1883, always felt he was born an architect ‘Although much else has befallen me in the course of a long and varied life seems quite irrelevant to my master passion, yet even as a scientist, engineer, soldier, amateur sailor, country landowner, traveller and writer, the architect within me has been ever present, no matter how heavily overlaid by more immediate concerns.’ Architecture lead naturally to conservation and town planning as he became a passionate advocate for preserving beautiful places for the nation.

Amabel Strachey his wife was a writer of novels, political pamphlets, books for children on science and history as well as notable collections of fairy stories and science fiction. ‘An Anatomy of Poetry’ her first book is still a classic nearly 100 years later. Her pamphlets warning of the dangers of Nazism are displayed in London’s Holocaust museum. Her lively writing has been recently included in a volume of “radical writing for children” and her post-war feminist work The Art of being a Woman has had recent academic interest.

They were both prolific authors and wrote several books together, see details on the Library page.

Of their three children Susan achieved fame as a designer, notably of ceramics at Portmeirion Potteries, a firm run by her and her husband. Plas Brondanw now houses a gallery run by a Trust devoted to her work. Younger daughter Charlotte, a biologist, married a New Zealand serviceman who was seconded during the war to undertake research at Cambridge University where she gained her PhD. They moved back to New Zealand in 1946, where Charlotte became a founding member of the science faculty at the University of Waikato. The youngest child and only son Christopher sadly died in action in WWII, a devastating loss for the family.

In 2016 the Foundation was reconstituted as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation under the Charities Act 2011, and became registered charity no. 1165883.

Regulated by the Charity Commission, the Foundation is managed in accordance with its registered Constitution (dated 4th March 2016) by trustees numbering a maximum of eight.

Meetings of the trustees normally take place four times a year. Additional special meetings may be convened for particular purposes.

Sub-committees drawn from the trustees deal with matters including finance, tenancies and oversight of the Plas Brondanw gardens, reporting to the full board of trustees.

Day to day administration of the Foundation’s affairs and management of its estate are delegated to managing agents, Balfours.

The trustees retain professional advisors in specialist areas including legal, investment management, charity compliance and audit.

From time to time the trustees engage technical consultants, for example to advise on woodland management, historic building restoration and green energy projects, such as community heat from renewables (biomass) and hydro electric generation.

The trustees of the Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation are:

Ms Menna Angharad (granddaughter of Sir Clough)
Ms Seran Dolma (great granddaughter of Sir Clough)
Dr Rachel Garden (granddaughter of Sir Clough)
Mr Iwan Huws
Mr Dafydd Iwan
Dr Merfyn Jones
Mr Julian Wallace (grandson of Sir Clough) - Chairman
Mr David Wynne-Finch

The Brondanw Estate is managed on behalf of the trustees by Balfours LLP

Balfours LLP
New Windsor House
Oxon Business Park

Richard Jones-Perrott
Phone: 01743 239210

Frances Steer
Phone: 01743 239206