In our recent trip to north Wales we visited Penrhyn Castle, now under the guardianship of the National Trust. It was a medieval castle that had, for the time, a multi-million pound make-over in the early 19th century by the then-owner Richard Pennant.
The stone-work inside is totally amazing - in true 19th century style it is almost overpowering but very ornate and dramatic... but why sinister.
Obviously, this is a personal perspective but I found the Pennants to be a thoroughly unpleasant self-serving bunch. They made their fortune from sugar plantations in Jamaica, exploiting their slaves to grow and harvest the cane then make the sugar for export back to England.
Richard Pennant was one of the most vocal anti-abolitionist MPs in parliament, repeatedly speaking in support of the retention of slavery and when the act of abolition was passed he received the equivalent today of millions of pounds in compensation for the loss of his property - the freed slaves.
The Pennants then invested in quarrying and owned the largest slate quarry in the world at that time, in north Wales, and treated their workers there little better than the slaves they had in the West Indies.
See what I mean about unpleasant....?