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The 1829 sale catalogue of the Brymbo estate is a fascinating document, especially so given that relatively few other good records of the Hall and its grounds survive, and that there is no archaeological evidence left. Several of the features recorded on it are very helpful in rounding out the evidence of the maps, deeds, one or two pictures, and various court cases which remain. Among these features is a reference to a “cold bath” which demands further investigation, perhaps hinting at an elaborate garden design.

The relatively brief vogue among the 18th-century upper classes for cold, outdoor bathing gave rise to a distinctive architecture, explored in an interesting article by Dr Clare Hickman. Bath-houses, spring-fed pools and pseudo-rustic grottoes provided a congenial environment for the gentry of the time to pant and splash around in ice-cold water, while surrounding gardens allowed space for a leisurely stroll beforehand, as recommended by fashionable physicians. Even Denbighshire grandee Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Baronet, Hickman notes, had a cold bath built at Wynnstay. While Brymbo, several hundred feet up on its windy, damp hill, might not seem an ideal spot for outdoor bathing (even for those hoping to toughen themselves into Spartan healthiness) records suggest that one of the house’s owners had, at some point, had the same idea as Sir Watkin.

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This is site about Brymbo, a township once part of Denbighshire, and its history. You can read more about the site in general, start with the most recent posts or with the archives listed below.