Wern Isaf

designed & built by

Herbert North

In a wooded garden above the village of Llanfairfechan with far reaching views across to Puffin Island and Anglesey is the arts and crafts house of Wern Isaf.

The house was designed and built by Herbert North whilst working in London as first assistant to the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Herbert North oversaw the construction of the house on his visits back to his family's home, and occupied the completed house with his wife and daughter when he returned to North Wales in 1901 to practise locally. During his time in local practice he designed “The Close” in Llanfairfechan and many other houses in Wales and beyond. He was also responsible for reordering many churches in both Wales and England. Wern Isaf is a beautiful example of the arts and crafts design. It was built to a butterfly plan to make use of daylight to illuminate different rooms as the sun moved across the sky. North knew the William Morris company, the firm established by the influential Victorian designer to produce wallpapers and textiles and examples of the company's work are to be found in the house. Herbert North favoured natural design, and the garden was modelled to retain a deliberate wild or natural state with a brook running through. In the grounds is a cottage which was originally built as a garage and chauffeur's accommodation. The house was originally named Rosebriars but built on a plot of land called Wern Isaf (meaning lower wood.) The house was renamed Wern Isaf following North's death in 1941. Today the house is occupied by Herbert North's granddaughter and family and is open to the public once a year. Details of when you can visit are available on social media. 

Our thanks go to Mrs Phillips granddaughter of Herbert North and History Points for the contents of this article.