About Gelli Cottage
"Gelli" (pronounced gehlee) is a unique ex-Nannau, grade II listed cottage, high up in the Welsh mountains near Cader Idris and the local town of Dolgellau.
Octagonal in shape, it was designed by a local squire in the early nineteenth century. A date panel above the door displays the figures "1814" and the initials "RWAMV", those of the squire, Sir Robert Williams Vaughan, and his wife, Anna Maria. Sir Robert built or modified several other houses and follies in the vicinity in a scheme to alleviate the high unemployment of the area, and the construction of "Gelli" in boulder-sized blocks of stone testifies to the plentiful supply of labour.
It was built as part of the Nannau estate. Nannau has been home to two of the most powerful and influential families in the county for hundreds of years, the Nanneys and the Vaughans and their rich history can been seen to this day amongst the local architecture.
Gelli has an interesting history and some local folk legends attached to it. One of the surviving belifes is that there is a crock of gold buried beneath the hearth - the solid stone floor discourages any investigation!
Probably built for the squire's gamekeeper, the house's past inhabitants include a twentieth-century wise-woman, one Mari Jones, a herbalist of local repute in the early part of this century. The story goes that she refused even on her deathbed to divulge to the local doctor the secret recipe for her famous cure for burns, eliciting the doctor's acid retort: "Keep it then - you'll need it where you're going!".