History - The Phillips & Walter Philipps (1800's - 1900's)
In 1803 Aberglasney was bought on his retirement by Thomas Phillips, a 'nabob' who during 30 years as surgeon with the East India Company had amassed a healthy fortune (and a consort, Mrs. Moore, who happened to be married to someone else).
His brother John, a lawyer from Llandeilo, acted on his behalf in the purchase, and a stack of surviving bills show how the place was put in apple-pie order for his arrival.
Thomas Phillips died childless in 1824, but was not forgotten. His heirs benefited from his fortune, and his amiable ghost is said to have appeared to a number of gardeners and household staff. Thomas Phillips left Aberglasney to his sister's son John Walters, who tacked on the surname Philipps (choosing the more aristocratic spelling) and made parallel embellishments to his property - adding a portico to the Queen Anne façade, throwing out a bay on the garden front, running an avenue across the fields from the road, having his new coat of arms depicted in a fine painted-glass window that was, sadly, smashed by vandals in the 1970s.
John Walters Philipps held county office and consolidated his inheritance, but was not fortunate enough to found a new Aberglasney dynasty. A son died in infancy; the three Walters Philipps daughters became, respectively, Mrs. Harries, Mrs. Pryse and Mrs. Lloyd-Phillips. Only the middle daughter had issue before dying young, leaving young Mary Anne (or Marianne) heiress - and the lone member of future generations. Her father John Pugh Pryse of Bwlchbychan in Cardiganshire made a second marriage, to Decima Dorothea Rice of Llwynybrain - a connection that became significant for the transfer of the property later on.
Aberglasney in the 1800s basked in the reflected glory of Dyer's 'Grongar Hill'. A young visitor in the 1860s called it 'a curious old fashioned looking place', but by the 1890s the formality of its gardens was again in vogue: a Gardeners Chronicle article about the yew tunnel concluded: 'It requires but little effort on the part of a wanderer in this charming garden of old times to people the place once more with the gentlemen and pretty ladies of Jacobean times.'