Built in the 1780’s in what was a district of Brecon town, 39 The Watton has had a lively history. The Watton’s name could be from the middle English wacor (in 1535 is was known as Wacttowne) meaning wicker/willow, hence the name Ty Helyg which is Willow House in Welsh. The area is low-lying and there are numerous weeping willows in the meadows by the canal
The Lansdowne is probably named after Lansdowne Terrace which runs alongside the side of the property. The property comprises 3 buildings which have been bought together 2 Georgian Town Houses, 39 The Watton and 8 Lansdowne Terrace which front onto the Watton and one Victorian building on Lansdowne Terrace (no. 7). One of the Watton buildings was once a Hat Shop and the other a cobblers. Some time ago it was revealed in Secret Government papers published under the 30 year rule that the Lansdowne Hotel would be the HQ for the Government in Wales in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK
Lansdowne Terrace is shown on old maps as ‘Moderator Terrace’ but we are unsure why it changed or the reason for this (Thank you to Sister Buenaventure for this information)
From the mid 1800’s Anne Brignall and her family lived in the house which was a boarding house. By 1901 it was occupied by henry Riddick and family, he was a plumber and fitter. In the 20th century it was a Café. In 1911 Ellen & Kate Higgins, two sisters, lived at 39 The Watton and were a dressmaker and milliner – it may have been a hat shop at that time
In 1937 the whole building and the Lansdowne Terrace houses were owned by W H Davies and sold in 1943 as 3 lots. No 7 and 8 Lansdowne Terrace, and 39 Watton were bought together for £1400 by Stanley Jenkins
In the late 50’s it was a cafe, run by Mrs Jones. Her husband Mr Jones had a bus called The Pontfaen Flyer (Pontfaen is a nearby village where they lived) and did bus trips to London (Thank you Messers Price, Parry and Peters for this information)
More recently it has been The Lansdowne Hotel until it’s refurbishment in 2015, becoming Ty Helyg Guest House
If you know of any other history, please let us know!