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A few years back I wrote down some notes on the Gyfynys, Brymbo, and the family called Powell who had once owned the house and estate. Although you can still find the name on maps, the Gyfynys itself vanished perhaps two centuries ago, so its site needs to be searched for carefully.

If you walk eastwards down Glyon Lane, Brymbo, towards its border with the township of Gwersyllt, you will come to a junction with Cae Penty Road. In the angle between the two lanes is a small field, raised above the road level. This is the Gyfynys. Enclosing it to the south and west, and bordering Glyon Lane, is another much larger field: this is Cae Penty, the “House-End Field” (or perhaps “Field of the Main House”), of which Alfred Palmer wrote in 1903:

this field […] is famed in the neighbourhood for the crop of snowdrops, violets, and other flowers which it yearly bears, presenting the semblance of an old but abandoned garden

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Pentresaeson farmhouse lies on the western slope of a shallow valley, at the bottom of which a tributary stream runs to join the Gwenfro at Gwernygaseg. Like many others in the area, it has not been a working farm for many years, but throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries, at least, was one of the largest in Brymbo, in terms of the land attached to it.

This land once stretched away northward as far as the Glascoed, and uphill westward as far as the Cefn; much of it well above the 800 feet mark, high, cold and best suited to rough pasture. Like other holdings in the west of the township, it would have been an unforgiving environment in which to farm. It was once the property of John Wilkinson, who purchased it in around 1800 when, gripped by an enthusiasm for agricultural improvement, he was in the process of expanding the Brymbo Hall estate. For some of this period a family called Harrison tenanted it; Charles Harrison in 1798, immediately before Wilkinson’s purchase, and John Harrison and his sister in 1829. Later in the 19th century a father and son, both named James Wilkinson, farmed there. In this period the immediate area would have changed substantially: for although there were some coal pits nearby from at least the 1680s, and perhaps earlier, the 19th century saw the arrival of the railway and its small halt, the Taylor Brothers foundry, and the adjacent Pentresaeson colliery, though without removing the location’s essentially rural character.

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This time, a very brief gem courtesy of Alfred Palmer’s History of the Parish of Gresford, taken from the parish registers of Dodleston. Gresford parish commenced just beyond the Ffrwd at the boundary of Brymbo township. A few miles further to the north-east it adjoined Dodleston, in what until the time of the Enclosures was a marshy and debatable common moor. Denbighshire, Flintshire and Cheshire all met here at a spring called Morwall, the “moor well”. In Palmer’s time there was still a field in the area called “Holywell”.
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While records of ordinary people during the seventeenth century are patchy at best, it is still often possible to trace individuals or families in one area over long periods of time. The name William Tussingham appears in the records for Brymbo for the best part of fifty years – suggesting either one long-lived individual or perhaps a father and son.

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In my last post I briefly mentioned a section of Norden’s Survey of 1620 which made reference to the lands of a “Hugh ap Robert ap Howell” on the borders of Minera and Esclusham. There are a lot of Hughs, Roberts and Howells in the history of the area, but the one mentioned by Norden seems to have been a member of a family who were once fairly important – in terms of the society of this corner of East Denbighshire, anyway.
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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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