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Yesterday I briefly talked about the remaining evidence of the gardens on the Brymbo Estate. There isn’t much, but there is enough of a record through maps and photographs to give some idea of the house’s landscape setting and of what was lost through neglect and opencast mining.

Other evidence may still exist in estate records, some of which survive thanks to their inclusion in papers relating to the estate of Brogyntyn in Shropshire, whose owners had a close legal involvement with Brymbo in the days before John Wilkinson bought it.

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Brymbo Hall in the early 1950s. Crown copyright.

Brymbo Hall in the early 1950s. Crown copyright.

The picture to the right shows Brymbo Hall from the air, taken in the early 1950s. While the level of detail shown isn’t huge, it reveals a few interesting landscape features long since destroyed by opencast mining.

The house is surrounded by what locals, in the 20th century, called Brymbo Park. On earlier documents it was known as Brymbo Demesne, and consists of those parts of the Griffiths‘ old estate not let out to tenant farmers but directly attached to the main house. A further subdivision of this land was the formal, partly terraced garden seen on older Ordnance Survey maps, and glimpsed in a few older photographs. Given the neglect of the house from the 1920s onwards, the garden is otherwise poorly recorded, but it is possible to reconstruct some of its main elements.

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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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In the vicinity of Pentresaeson and Gwernygaseg there was once a field, and probably an attached house, called “Ty yn y Celyn” or “Tyn y Celyn”. It was part of the Brymbo Hall estate, owned by the Griffith family, but seems often to have been let out to tenants – around 1700 to a Lewis Thomas, and by 1716 to a “Mrs Elizabeth Holland”, possibly a relative of the Griffiths. A coal pit was dug nearby in the 1680s (with a Lewis Thomas again mentioned). It last appears on the land tax assessments shortly prior to 1800, at which time the tenant of Penrhos occupied it. I have, very tentatively, identified it with a field just across from the Smelt Wood at Pentresaeson.

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I have talked a lot, in previous posts, about the farmers of Brymbo and the surrounding area, but have said little about what it was they actually farmed. Up until around 20 years ago this was a largely dairying area, with most fields given over to pasture, but this sort of narrow specialism was a 20th century development. 19th century documents, like the tithe records, show the same fields being used to grow a variety of crops, although some of these would have also gone for animal feed. We also know about John Wilkinson’s efforts as an ‘improver’, which by heavy fertilisation of the clay soils of the township got the tithe values up quite substantially. But how about earlier still?

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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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