As you might recall from my previous post on the subject, Plas Mostyn was an interesting Renaissance house that was for many years the largest in Brymbo township, if not the most prestigious.

Built, most probably, sometime in the early 17th century, it took its name from a branch of the landowning Mostyn family of Flintshire, who had owned it ever since Archdeacon William Mostyn purchased the estate around in 1640. With the death of his son Roger Mostyn in the early 18th century, the house itself ceased to be a main residence of the Mostyns and became a tenanted farm, perhaps with increasingly large proportions of its land given over to small-scale coal mining.

The old farmstead at Plas Mostyn Bach, from the footpath between Talwrn and Pentresaeson.

These days there are in fact two farms in Brymbo called Plas Mostyn: Plas Mostyn Mawr, which occupies the hilltop site of William Mostyn’s original mansion, and Plas Mostyn Bach (“Little Mostyn Hall”) which lies to the west, in the valley of the Gwenfro near Pentresaeson. The latter is probably fairly old as well, as on the hearth tax returns of circa 1670 Mostyn is rated for two houses, one larger and one smaller, which could be the main family home and a farmstead for the tenant who would have farmed the estate. Towards the close of the 17th century Roger Mostyn’s “lower house” was rated to an Ellis Allington, perhaps one of the Allingtons of Gresford, yeomen who traced their ancestry back to Welsh nobility. Although Plas Mostyn Bach now has a modern farmhouse, the stone farmstead, built in the old Welsh longhouse pattern, still stands although it has not been occupied for many years.

Up the hill at the main house, the farm passed through the hands of a number of tenant farmers. The first of these was Edward Parry, who died in October 1766, and was followed as tenant by the Rogers family. John Rogers, yeoman, who made a will in 1779 “desirous that unity peace and concord may be continued amongst my children and my loving wife“, describes himself as “of Plas Mostyn”, as does a Thomas Rogers whose will is dated 1815 (Thomas is almost certainly the son of John Rogers, who mentions sons called Robert and Thomas). John Rogers’ will also mentions his “lease under John Humberston Cawley, Esq“, presumably referencing other land he farmed. Humberston Cawley, who lived at Upper Gwersyllt, was a distant relative of the Robinsons of Gwersyllt and had inherited parts of their estate (one possible candidate for this land is the small farm known as Penrhos north of Plas Mostyn, which Humberston Cawley seems to have owned in this period). The main Plas Mostyn estate was  rated to a William Mostyn in 1783, according to Alfred Palmer. Rogers would have had a change of landlord at some point, however, as it was in the hands of Roger Kenyon of Cefn Park by 1787.

Kenyon was a well-connected lawyer from a family of the Shropshire-Maelor borderlands –  a younger brother of Lloyd Kenyon, later Baron Kenyon, Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice of England. Unsurprisingly for a member of a legal family, one of Roger’s main pursuits seems to have been collecting old deeds and documents of interest in the area, all of which (including the deeds to Brymbo Hall) went up in smoke in 1794 in a fire at Cefn Park. At least some of his money may have come from mining leases or interests, though: it was during Kenyon’s ownership of the estate, which coincided with the time John Wilkinson was developing his ironworks and other industries in Brymbo, that the number of coal pits in the area increased substantially; the Plas Mostyn colliery was sunk around 1800, and ironstone was also to be found on the estate.

The Kenyons’ possession of Plas Mostyn ended in 1845 in the familiar Chancery tangle. It was sold, in pursuance of a decree of court, in 1847 for £7,000 (about £471,000 in today’s money using RPI, or in the region of £5 million in terms of average earnings) and acquired by John Burton, a Minera-based industrialist who was quietly buying up many of the area’s mining properties.

While miners worked under its fields, the original farm was still working in the hands of its tenants. As noted above, Thomas Rogers died in 1815, leaving everything to his wife Margaret. His own son, another Thomas, was later recorded as occupying Cefn y Maes, a small farm at Maes Maelor, high on the moor in the furthest corner of Brymbo township. Down at Plas Mostyn, the tenant for much of the latter half of the 19th century was John Parry, whose name appears regularly in the area’s newspaper of record, the Wrexham Advertiser: taking part in ploughing contests, inserting a “found” notice for a collie, or relating a story about a chicken hitching a lift beneath his milk-cart on its rounds. Parry’s obituary notice appeared in 1892, and the farm was subsequently taken over by John Wynne. Wynne, described in a 1908 newspaper article as “still hale and hearty at the age of 79”, was the last to live in Archdeacon Mostyn’s old house. Despite the great affection he apparently had for the old building, it was becoming steadily more unsafe and impractical, and he built a new house nearby around the turn of the century, using the old house as a store-room. Wynne bought the estate outright from the Burtons in 1920, and the elderly patriarch was to split it amongst his sons, Walter and Peter, who took over Plas Mostyn Mawr and Plas Mostyn Bach, while another brother took over the farm at Pentre-Fron just down the hill to the south.

The old house at Plas Mostyn, becoming gradually more derelict, was eventually demolished in around 1963, after standing on its hilltop for over 300 years.

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