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Poetry always held first place among the arts in Wales, and nearly every area has a few Welsh-language poets associated with it. In the immediate area of Brymbo, Alfred Palmer found a reference in the 17th century Wrexham parish registers to the burial of John Roberts of Bersham, “Welsh poet”; another part of the parish records shows that Edward Jones, owner of the Pentre farm in the late 18th century, was familiar with the englyn verse form, as he scribbled one into the 1791 account books.

One of the area’s forgotten literary talents, however, was English; a “saesones”, as she described herself. In 1840, a slim volume of verse appeared called Sketches and Legends amid the Mountains of North Wales. Its contents were decidedly romantic in temperament – rather too much so for today’s tastes – with references to the Welsh harp’s “plaintive wailings” and “spells that work within the mystic night”, set in a landscape of moonlit ravines and tumbling rivers, along with a flurry of exclamation marks. It is, I suppose, a work thoroughly of its time. Nevertheless, Sketches and Legends was a greater achievement than would first appear: its author Janet Wilkinson, as noted in her initial dedication, was only fifteen. Moreover the dedication is dated 22nd August 1840, at “Brymbo Hall”.

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