The owners of Dinorwic, the second largest slate quarry in the world
The historic Tudor hallhouse at Maenol or Y Faenol is still known today as Vaynol Old Hall. Its origins lie in the 16th century, when Thomas Williams acquired the land from the bishops of Bangor. Thomas Williams continued to consolidate and acquire land and when G W Duff Assheton Smith, the owner of the estate, died in 1904, it was said that he could have travelled from Vaynol to the summit of Snowdon and remained on his own property the whole way.
The new Georgian villa, visible in front of the Old Hall today, was built by Thomas Assheton Smith (senior), who inherited the estate in 1774. The wall surrounding the Vaynol estate was the work of father and son Robert George Duff and G W Duff Assheton Smith. It was begun by Robert in 1863.
The Dinorwic Quarry, developed from the time of Thomas Assheton Smith, reached its peak in the late 19th century, at which time it was producing 100,000 tonnes of slate per year and employing 3,000 men.
G W D Assheton Smith became the first of the family to be interred at Vaynol in 1904. The next to inherit was Charles Garden Assheton Smith, a lavish spender who relished the pleasures of life. Charles was a successful race horse owner, winning three Grand National races. He also kept an array of exotic animals on the estate.
In 1980 the Vaynol estate came to an end as an entity after almost 450 years, with the death of Charles Michael Robert Vivian Duff.