The following is a transcript of part of document E179/264/300 from the National Archives in Kew. This is a later copy of an original hearth tax collector’s book for Denbighshire – the transcript is of folios 21-22, which cover Brymbo township. The original document was undated, but probably comes from the period 1666-72.

The information may be of interest to anyone researching the history of the area, as I’m not aware it’s been transcribed anywhere else. Names are recorded as written, with number of hearths to the right. I have added notes on some of the people recorded – though in some cases identification of the properties involved is rather speculative and should be regarded as a work in progress.

pd. William John Gough – 21
ditto 2 more disputable – 2
pd. Joh. Ffox – 12
ditto another in dispute – 1
po. Richard Griffith – 1
po. Thomas Walter – 1
pp. Robert Williams – 1
po. Humphrey Salisbury – 1
po. Jane vch John – 1
po. John Williams – 1
po. Elizabeth Probert – 1
po. Robert Samuell – 1
po. John Pugh – 1
po. John ap Bevan – 1
po. John ap Edward – 1
po. Evan ap Pritchard – 1
po. Jane vch Edward -1
pd. Thomas Parry – 1
pd. Mr Samuell Powell – 33
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. Thomas Parry – 1
pd. Edward Probert – 1
Richard Shone – 1
Samuell Powell in his mill – 1
pd. Griffith Thomas – 14
pd. Humphrey Roberts – 15
Mary John Griffith – 26
pd. John Hughes – 1
pd. John Griffith – 1
ditto another disputable – 1
pd. Edward Kenrick – 1
pd. Alice Jones – 17
pd. Thomas Matthew – 18
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. John Griffith – 1
po. Rowland Prytherch – 19
Evan ap Humphrey – 1
pd. Thomas Shone – 1
Thomas ap Robert – 1
pd. John ap Pugh – 1
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. John Robert ap Parry – 1
pd. Richard ap Edward – 1
pd. William Twisingame – 110
ditto another disputable – 1
pd. Valentine Kenrick – 1
Robert Parry – 1
John David – 1
pd. Edward ap Hugh – 1
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. Edward John – 1
ditto a forge – 1
pd. Lewis Thomas – 1
pd. Humphrey Lloyd – 111
pd. Robert Hughes – 212
ditto another in dispute -1
po. William Gittins – 1
Jane Powell – 1
pd. Thomas Lloyd – 1
pd. Mr William Mosten – 213
ditto 2 more in dispute – 2
pd. John Powell – 1
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. John Nicholl – 1
Mr Griffith a vacant house – 2
pd. Robert ap Edward – 1
pd. John Pugh Francis – 114
pd. Richard Cadwalader – 115
pd. Thomas ap Edward – 116
pd. Mr William Mosten – 6
pd. Robert ap David – 1
pd. Robert Cadwalader – 1
pd. Edward ap Pugh -1
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. Owen Probert – 1
Ralph Thomas – 1
po. Margrett John – 1
Katherine Taylor – 417
ditto another in dispute – 1
pd. Edward John Nicholl – 1
Hugh Kenrick vacant – 1
pd. Alis verch (or Elianor?) Evan – 2
ditto another in dispute
po. Phillip David – 1
pd. Robert ap Hugh – 1
Mr John Griffith a new house not then finished – 318
po. Thomas Bennett – 1
po. Matthias John – 1
po. John ap John – 1
po. John Robert – 1
po. John Hughes – 1
po. Robert Sandars – 1
po. Griffith Younge – 1
po. Richard Brinallt (?) – 1
po. David ap Pugh – 1
po. Humphrey Salisbury – 1
po. Thomas Edwards – 1
po. Widdow Sandars – 1
po. Hugh Jones – 1
po. John Parry – 1
po. Elizabeth the widd[ow] – 1
po. Alice Madock – 1
po. John Prichard – 1
po. Robert Hughes – 1
Mr John Griffith – 5
ditto more in dispute – 3
Jane Williams – 1

Records from E179/264/35

Another set of Brymbo hearth tax records from the National Archives. These are fragmentary, but interesting as they include a little more detail and show some of the same names as on document E179/264/300. Taken from document E179/264/35, an arrears book for the Hundred of Bromfield for c. mid 1668-70 – part of the Brymbo records are missing.

I have transcribed the remaining sheets.

Mr John Griffith – 5
John Nicholl – 1
John ap Hugh ffrancis – 1
Mr Robert Hughes – 2 & bakehouse
Ales Jones – 1
William Twisinggam – 1 & and one in a chambre not finished
Valentine Kendricke – 1
John Gryffith – 1
Thomas Matthew – 1 & one not finished in a chamber
Richard Kadwalladr – 1
Mr Will. Mostyn for 2 houses- 8 & 2 stop’d up
Mr Humphrey Roberts – 1
Robert Kadwalladr – 1
Robert ap Hugh & (?) forge – 1
Mr John Griffith ty kerig – 2
Owen ap Robert – 1
Lewis Thomas – 1
Jane Williams – 1
Thomas Parry – 1
Robert ap Hugh – 1
Thomas ap Edward – 1
John Howell – 1
Edward ap Hugh ap John ap Morgan – 1
Mr Samuell Howell – 3
Edward John – 1


Back to post. 1.William John Gough (or Goch), yeoman, was one of the deponents in the court case between Captain Thomas Powell of the Gyfynys and those involved with a codicil to Powell’s father’s will. At the time of the case (1678) he described himself as about 56 years of age, and had known both Powell’s father and grandfather.

Back to post. 2.John Ffoulkes of Brymbo. He had connections with the gentry; the Chirk castle accounts describe him as one of the “poor kindred” of the Myddletons. He married Elizabeth Stokes in Wrexham on 28th May 1639: she was the sister of Richard Stokes, “corvisor” (shoemaker) of Wrexham Abbott, who married another of the Myddletons’ relations.

He was not the only one of the Myddleton’s “poor kindred” recorded in Brymbo. Another was the Mrs Elizabeth Holland rated for Ty yn y Celin in the early 1700s. John Griffith the younger of Brymbo Hall had also married a Myddleton (Jane, of Plas Cadwgan) and somewhat surprisingly one of his daughters also turns up amongst the poor relatives to whom the Myddletons gave money.

To return to Mr Ffoulkes, the will of an Elizabeth Ffoulkes of “Brombo” was proved in 1727. The rate books show her to be the widow of a William Ffoulkes, who could (perhaps) have been John’s descendant: her eldest son and heir was also called John. Elizabeth Ffoulkes occupied one of Brymbo’s larger farms, according to the rate books. A John Ffoulkes, followed by his son Edward, were tenants of Craig Corn (on the mountain above Bwlchgwyn) in the mid 18th century.

Back to post. 3. Samuel Powell, gent, of the Gyfynys. He would have been an old man by this time. Powell was the uncle of John Griffith (see below) by marriage.

Back to post. 4.Griffith Thomas, gent, of Brymbo, who was noted as being one of the officers responsible for the township roads in 1666. He made his will in 1689 leaving a large number of small legacies to various people, including several nephews, nieces and children of cousins, as well as a shilling to “Edward Jones the smith”. There is an interesting postscript of the following year attached, in which Edward Jones of Brymbo, 36, states that he drew up the will and read it back to Mr Thomas in Welsh, at which point the latter signed and sealed it; a story confirmed by Robert ap Hugh of Brymbo, 65, Edward Jones the smith (and beneficiary), 57, and John Williams of Uwchmynydd, 33, who all swear that Mr Thomas was of “perfect sence and memory”.

An “Edward John” appears on the hearth tax sheet charged for a forge: possibly the same man some twenty years before. It seems he and Griffith Thomas were old friends.

The occasion for the further document was an exchequer case brought in 1690 by Magdalene, Thomas’s sister, and her husband against Robert ap Hugh and Griffith Thomas’s niece Rose Edwards, the latter being the main beneficiary of the will. From the depositions in this case we also know that Griffith Thomas was the son of Thomas ap Edward ap Madoc, and that his grandmother was a “Mrs Griffith”, widow, who held land in own right. He was a dealer in goods at the market, but was reputed in the neighbourhood to have had strange ‘turns’ in the decade or so before his death, and was said by some people to wander around barefoot wrapped only in a sheet. It was this question of his sanity that led the will to be contested.

Back to post. 5. Mr Humphrey Roberts, as he was styled in another assessment sheet; apparently of a gentry family. He was dead by 1690, when he was mentioned in the legal case above, described as a friend and neighbour of Griffith Thomas. Charles Lloyd, gent, stated in the depositions that he had known Mr Roberts well and that the latter had been a clerk in the Exchequer at Westminster; another deponent refers to Roberts as a “scholar”. This would explain the bold, very distinctive signature used by Roberts when witnessing the will of his near-neighbour Samuel Powell in 1665 (see above). The depositions also suggest Roberts had a wife and family, and an “Ellin Roberts” is mentioned along with Humphrey in Griffith Thomas’s will.

Back to post. 6.A bond of the late 1670s survives with respect to Mary John Griffith’s will. She is described in another bond of 1663 as a widow, the “relict and executrix” of Samuel Mathew. Her name seemed to imply some sort of connection with the Griffith family of  Brymbo Hall (then living in rather straitened circumstances), particularly as a Robert John Griffith, “generosus” (gentleman), is also mentioned on the same bond. Mr Griffith is, however, described as of “Bryneglwys”, so we probably have another obscure Denbighshire family here.

Back to post. 7.Probably the widow of Maurice Jones of the Glascoed, who had been well looked after in his will.

Back to post. 8.Almost certainly a member, if not the head, of the Matthews family of the (Lower) Glascoed farm.

Back to post. 9.Rowland Prytherch’s daughter, Jane, was recorded as being christened at Wrexham on 4th November 1665.

Back to post. 10.The surname Twissingham, Twisingame or Tushingham occurs in Norden’s 1620 survey, when a William Twissingham sits on the Esclusham manorial jury. He owns a few acres and a cottage in Glascoed, but his position on the jury indicates a reasonable social standing. The name also occurs in a variety of documents relating to the Glascoed up to the 1660s, but seems to disappear after that period. Another William, presumably a descendant of the man recorded in 1620, was a witness to the will of Maurice Jones, mentioned above. By 1669 his name is crossed out in the rate books and the property is recorded as “in the hands of John Griffith”.

A William Tushingham, gent, of Wrexham, made his will in 1674 (it being proved in 1679). The fact that his main legacy is a sum of 45 pounds owed to him by bond from “John Griffithes of Brumbowe […] Esq” suggests he is the same man as mentioned above. He had sons called Robert and John, and daughters called Katherine, Margaret and Mary; his wife was Elizabeth. Another Brymbo resident, his “trusty and wellbeloved” friend John Hughes, is mentioned as an executor.

Back to post. 11.Possibly Humphrey Lloyd, Esq, of Bersham, who had been willed a house and land in Brymbo in Maurice Jones’ will in order to secure an income for Jones’ sister Elinor. Lloyd, who died on 27th December 1672/3, lived at Lower Berse. He was a Royalist, and was fined £150 by the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents (in other words, he had to pay to get his estate back and promise not to take up arms against Parliament). He was also a lawyer by profession: his engraved brass memorial in St Giles, one of the few surviving from the period, describes him as “one of the masters in Chancery extraordinary”. His daughter and heir married into the Chambres family of Ruthin.

Back to post. 12. This is possibly Robert Hughes of the once-important but rather shadowy Hughes family of Gwernygaseg, who may have had a hand in founding Minera chapel. Another candidate is a Robert Hughes, or Robert ap Hugh, of Penycoed (though the latter could also be the “Robert ap Hugh” recorded later in the sheet).

Back to post. 13.William Mostyn, Archdeacon of Bangor. The second, 6-hearth property was Plas Mostyn.

Back to post. 14.A “Hugo Francis” (Hugh Francis) is mentioned in Norden’s survey of 1620, where he owned a cottage and three parcels of land called “Tir y deri”. There seems a slight possibility that this John ap Hugh Francis (i.e. John son of Hugh Francis) may be his son despite the forty odd years in between the documents.

Back to post. 15.The will of Richard Cadwallader, “husbandman” of Brymbo, was proved in 1672. He left land and a house to his daughter Dorothy verch Richard and a pound to his “loveing brother Thomas”. His other brother Robert, probably the Robert Cadwallader mentioned on the same sheet, got his black horse (though prudently “not till the day of my buriall”). His cousin, John Powell of Esclusham, got four pounds, and was charged to look after his “deare Child Dorothy”, “that she receive no Wrongs by any to the Utmost of his power”.

Back to post. 16.A Thomas ap Edward, yeoman, of Brymbo made a will in 1672, mentioning land in Brymbo and Minera, left to his son Edward, and further provision for his wife Katherine, daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Martha and Katherine, and sons John and Robert; a large family. His oldest son was probably the Edward Thomas ap Edward of Pentre farm, Brymbo, who was churchwarden of St Giles in 1704 according to Palmer. As the property assessed here seems to be adjacent to Plas Mostyn it is likely to be the Pentre.

Back to post. 17.With 4 hearths in total, this was clearly a large property.

Katherine Taylor is the wife of the old Parliamentarian soldier Captain Edward Taylor of the Parkey,although why she would have been assessed for the property in her own right is a mystery. The Taylors had some connections in Brymbo, notably another Parliamentarian captain, the tanner Hugh Prichard of Broughton, who owned an estate there, and his wife Ellinor. Of course they would have been known to Richard Saltonstall, who had leased part of Brymbo Hall.

The rate books suggest that this property was the farm known as Glanyrafon, now at the western end of Southsea village, and had formerly been the estate owned, or leased, by Prichard, though this is not yet completely certain. It was rated to “Capt. Taylor” in 1667.

Back to post. 18.Mr John Griffith, Esq, then the representative of the Griffith family, the owners of the Brymbo Hall estate since mediaeval times, though by the 1660s they had fallen on comparatively hard times. As such he seems to have often been in debt to various people, such as his neighbour Mr Tushingham above. His father, also John Griffith, had built the Hall in 1624, presumably replacing an earlier building (see the entry for 5 hearths, below). A possible candidate for the “new house” mentioned here is the substantial farmhouse at Penrhos, which was part of the estate. Griffith died in 1678.