The Pritchard-Rayner family built Tre-Ysgawen in 1882. Later Gerald Pritchard-Rayner stood unsuccessfully for parliament but never got enough votes. This was in spite opening his election addresses with a spectacular magic show, and drawing big crowds. A skilled conjurer, Mr Pritchard-Rayner later settled for being church warden at the nearby Llangwyllog Church where there is a plaque to him.
Plas Rhianfa means Lady's Bower. It was built in 1851 by Sir John Hay Williams of Bodelwyddan in Clwyd. The baronet wanted to leave his wife a Loire Valley style chateau for her widowhood. Lady Sarah had made sketches of the sixteenth-century Château de Chenonceau on the couple's European travels and she worked with the architect Charles Read to create Plas Rhianfa with its Mediterranean-style gardens.
In 1885 a Welsh clergyman moved into his new house on the River Usk. It was an expensive building in the fashionable Italian style and by the time the Reverend West died, he had spent his way through three inheritances. The house was subsequently let to various dignitaries including the Breckonshire magistrate Sir Shirley Salt who then bought the house in 1903. In 1936 Gliffaes became a hotel and soon developed a loyal following amongst anglers.
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