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My previous post discussed the early history of the Brynmally estate and its colliery – which started operation in around 1753 or 1770, depending on which source you consult. We arrive on firmer ground with the appearance of the coalmaster Richard Kirk during the 1770s. Kirk, who ran or was involved with a number of pits in and around Brymbo and Broughton, was to be central to the district’s mineral developments for the next fifty years.
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Despite the closeness of Brynmally to the modern-day village of Brymbo, it is not actually in the old township; it lies just over the border, in Broughton. Nevertheless the colliery at Brynmally employed many Brymbo men over the years, and the residence of its owners, Brynmally Hall, was one of the area’s most notable houses. Its name, which mean’s Mary’s (or Molly’s) Hill, is more correctly written as Bryn Mali, though the anglicised version is probably more familiar. The hill, such as it is, forms a low ridge of farmland lying east of Clayton Road and marked by the distinctive tower of the Wrexham-Rhos transmitter. The house of Brynmally lay just north-east of the hill’s highest point, with the colliery a little further to the east beyond that.

The land in question was once attached to the Lower Halcock or Halcog Issa tenement, itself one of the farms belonging to the Gyfynys estate. The Gyfynys had been owned by the Powell family since at least the 16th century, but by the early 18th century the Powells had departed the area and their estates were broken up to satisfy various inheritances. Much of this land, including Lower Halcock, then in the tenancy of Thomas Rogers, came into the possession of a Mr James Morgan of Stansty, and after the latter’s death in 1760 passed to his heirs. Although mining was undoubtedly taking place on surrounding land in this time – with pits at the Lodge and on the Broughton Hall estate – there is not much evidence of either the house or the coal pits at Brynmally, although there has been a suggestion of a reference to the pit on the estate as early as 1753, during Morgan’s ownership. That was soon to change, however.

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The definition of ‘the gentry’ in seventeenth and eighteenth century Wales was rather elastic, and encompassed many families of rather modest means. The dignity of being a ‘gentleman’ mostly attached to the ownership of freehold land, however small the piece of land in question was; and if it could be backed by a pedigree showing descent from some ancient prince or member of the old uchelwyr class, then so much the better. As A. H. Dodd observed, in Tudor and Jacobean times the concept of the proud but impoverished Welsh gentleman, ready in an instant to recite the contents of his “card”, as the home-compiled genealogical tables were known, was sufficiently familiar to become a staple of stage comedy.
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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.
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