Beacon Lodge

Beacon Lodge was owned by the Downing family as a shooting lodge from about 1912 to 1939.

Beacon Lodge, 1920's

Beacon Lodge, 1920’s

It stands in a remote place on the Welsh Borders about two miles west of Llangunlo station. It is now a ruin. The track that now passes by the house is on the Owen Glendower trail and the lodge presents a welcome staging post for walkers following the path.

It was probably the culmination of a number of properties and ‘Shooting Boxes’ used by the Downings from about 1870’s onwards. In the 1881 census Walter Showell, William Edmund Downing‘s father-in-law is in residence in the ‘Shooting Box’ as ‘Head’ of household together with William Edmund, Hannah and the twins. But the address here is close to Church Stretton in neighbouring Shropshire. They also seem to have owned or rented similar lodges in Ratlinghope and at Llanbrynmair.  However, it was the Beacon that became a firm favourite of the Downings by the 1920’s. There are many photos of both William Edmund and Thomas Lee Downing on frequent hunting trips across the surrounding countryside.

Carillon of Bells

Carillon of Bells

There were outbuildings for pigs and chickens, maintained by the full time housekeeper, Mr Griffin, his wife and children Audrey and Francis. The Griffins lived in a separate part of the house. The head game keeper, who lived in Llangunlo, was James (surname) and pictures of him and his sons from the 1920’s also survive.

After William Edmund Downing’s death in 1939 it seems to have taken a while to wind up and sell the whole estate. The only document that survives is a Surveyors evaluation in 1944 of a hill farm in Upper Ferley (£800) – this property would not obviously appear to encompass the Beacon Lodge.

A carousel of cast iron bells survives that used to stand inside to summon the shooting party for meals.

Ruins of Beacon Lodge