At the age of 27, and nearly eleven years after commencing his gardening apprenticeship, Thomas arrived at the situation where he was to spend the rest of his working life. His employers the Robertsons, of whom much more later, had bought the estate and had demolished the house originally sited there to build the mansion as it is today. Meanwhile the Robertsons were living at the estate at Croggen a few miles away, which remained in the family and is still occupied by descendants of the family. Palé Hall was not entirely completed until 1872.
1869 January 17th Mr. Dickson wished me to leave at once for North Wales to lay out grounds for Mr. Robertson of Palé near Llandderfel Station, east of Bala four miles. I left Chester on the 19th Tuesday, en route for Llandderfel, passing Saltney and Wrexham, changed at Ruabon on to the Corwen line. Although it was a dull time of year, I could not help admiring the scenery from Llangollen all the way up, but I thought that I was getting into a fearfully wild country, and I was afraid that I would pass the station unconsciously. Mr. Robertson was waiting at the station where I arrived at 11 am. On delivering my letter of introduction, he told me to go up to Bryntirion first where he had engaged apartments for me and then get to Palé. Mr. Smith the architect and Mr. Bull the clerk of works arrived at the same time.
Mrs. Robertson and family came from Crogan in the afternoon, so that we spent the day in talking and planning. A new house was to be built with the dining room windows looking west, the boudoir and drawing room windows looking NW & W. The flower garden was to be (according to the architect’s wish) in the small piece in front of the dining room, but I got Mr. & Mrs. Robertson to have it where it now is with terraces instead of a bank. Mrs. Robertson then wished me to plan the glass houses. I was quite pleased with the affable and modest manners of Mrs. Robertson and family. Mr. Robertson’s manner was more like that of a business man, quick at comprehending me, and quick at deciding. I felt quite at home with my new employer and his amiable family.
I slept at Bryntirion , with the determination to make Palé a fine place. I set to work next morning, got some men to work and formed many plans in my mind. I next took rooms from Mr. & Mrs. Ellis at the farm house of Brynbwlan.