This is an A-Z index of placenames in Brymbo township and immediately adjacent areas. Many are still used, though some are now historic. Some notes and history are given for each: links take you to more detailed information, so it can also be used as an index to the site. I’ve also given alternative names and old spellings where appropriate. I’ll add more information as new details come to light and as new articles are added.

Allt Goch. “Red bank”. This farm was part of the Grosvenor estate, and like the other Grosvenor holdings was in the vicinity of Brymbo village: its land lay mostly below Halcog, a little north-east of the point where Brymbo High Street today joins Coedyfelin Road. According to Palmer, its name came from coal deposits which would occasionally catch fire and burn to reddish ashes.

Berse. The name of several farms, once important estates, in the township of Bersham, adjacent to Brymbo. There was a Lower, Middle and Upper Berse (as well as a farm known as “Little Berse”). The house of Berse Drelincourt was built on a portion of one of these estates lying in the township of Broughton (see below).

The Bronydd. A piece of land adjoining Cae Penty, once part of the Powells’ Gyfynys estate, and probably recorded in 1620 as “Brond” (sic). In 1799 it was owned by and in the occupation of Robert Jones. At the time of the tithe assessments Jones still owned it, but John Thompson of the Ffrwd ironworks was tenant. Towards the end of the 19th century the Bronydd became part of the site of Cae Penty colliery.

Brithdir, “mixed land”. A farm on the Bwlchgwyn road possibly owned by the Robinsons of Gwersyllt in the 17th century, having previously belonged to the Puleston family. A more certain period of ownership was the early 1700s, by which time the Lloyd family of Pontriffith in Flintshire possessed it. It was later owned by John Edwards of Stansty, and ultimately purchased by the ironmaster John Thompson, who stabled racehorses there. Its tenant in the 1720s and 30s appears to have been an Edward Jones (rated for “Brith Tire“) and in 1799 was Edward Humphreys.

Broughton, the township bordering Brymbo to the east. Like Brymbo it was a coal producing district, particularly across the Broughton Hall Estate.

Brymbo, a township or tref of Maelor Gymraeg and of the old parish of Wrexham. Later the name of a village in the township. Also the name of its main estate, owned from mediaeval times by the Griffith family, of Brymbo Hall, until the death of Robert Griffith (1720); then the inheritance of his daughter Mary, and ultimately purchased by the ironmaster John Wilkinson. The name “Brymbo” is something of a mystery, but was early on recorded as Brynbawe and Brinbou. Following a suggestion by Alfred Palmer, the name is possibly thought to derive from bryn, hill, and baw, dirty, though other theories have been put forward. Thomas Morgan, writing in 1887, noted that some thought the name came from bryn and boda, “buzzard” or “hawk”, as the red kite was “supposed to have made this place a favourite place of refuge at times of peril”. Lloyd’s History of Powys Fadog gave the name as “Bryn bwa” or “Bryn y bwa”, “hill of the bow”. Palmer did not think this correct, but early occurrences of forms like “Brinbou” and “Brynbowe” show that “hill of dirt” might not be accurate either.

Brymbo Pool, also known as the Top Pool or Cold Pool, is found more or less on top of Brymbo Hill, and was enlarged in size over the years as a water supply for the steelworks. Immediately to its east was a smaller artificial pond known as No. 6 Pool, and later as the Hot Pool. The latter was filled in after the closure of the works.

Bryn Fedwyn, the “hill of the birch tree”, was one of the older field names associated with the estate called “Gwern y Sawdl” (see below).

Brynmally or Bryn Mali, “Molly’s (ie Mary’s) Hill”, was the name of a large house and a colliery, but was originally applied to some land in Broughton very close to the township border with Brymbo. The Anglicised form of the name is almost invariably used in older documents. It was owned by James Morgan of Stansty in the mid 18th century, and presumably like the rest of his lands had been a part of the former Gyfynys estate of the Powell family, along with the adjacent Halcog Issa (Lower Halcock) tenement. Eventually coming into the hands of Thomas Brock, city clerk of Chester, it was leased to the pioneer industrial magnate Charles Roe from 1769 onwards. At Brynmally Roe developed what was to become one of the area’s main collieries, later taken over by Roe’s protégé Richard Kirk. The ‘capital messuage’ of Brynmally, built by Brock, was later rebuilt by Kirk, and as Brynmally Hall stood until the 20th century.

Bryn rhug, a farm on the north-eastern slope of Brymbo hill, which also formed part of the Gyfynys estate before the latter’s break-up. “Un’ claus’ terr’ arabil’ vocat’ y bryn Rhyg” appears in 1620 owned by Thomas Powell of Gyfynys. “Rhyg” could point to a place name meaning “rye hill”.

Brynyffynnon, “Hill of the spring”. Another of the small farms more or less on top of Brymbo Hill, and part of the Grosvenor estate. Its location is still indicated by a street of the same name. The tenant in 1840 was John Matthias, and the Thomas Matthias recorded as a Grosvenor tenant in 1799 may also have had Brynyffynnon.

Bwlchgwyn, “white pass”. The second village of Brymbo township, a settlement of miners’ and quarrymens’ cottages on the western part of the old common.

Cae Adar, the “close of the birds”, is a farm in Minera township very close to the border with Brymbo. In the 17th century it was, I believe, occupied by Hugh Kenrick, gent, and then by his son John. By the mid 18th century it was home to a lead mine manager, Thomas Smith.

Cae Cam, the “crooked close”, was long listed in the township rate books, and lay near the Gwenfro just west of Glanyrafon. It was, however, part of the land of one of the farms in Bersham, just across the Gwenfro.

Cae Helig (Cae Helik, Cae Heligg). “Willow field”, a field a little south-west of Gyfynys farm. At one stage it was a separate small tenement, or farm. By the 1660s it was owned by Maurice Jones, yeoman, of the Glascoed, who placed a rentcharge on it to benefit Wrexham’s poor. Later Cae Helig is rated to the Matthews family of Glascoed (possibly as tenants) but under the terms of Jones’s will its ownership went to his friend Humphrey Lloyd, the Royalist attorney of Lower Berse. Lloyd’s own will, dated 1673, devised Cae Helig to his daughter, the wife of Richard Myddelton of Llansilin, and thus it came into the hands of the Myddelton family.

Cae Hico or Cae Hick, also known as Cae Iago – James’ s field – or Cae Hugh – Hugh’s field – was described as “common land” in Broughton, close to Brymbo, in the approximate area of Bryn Seion chapel. The name was also applied to a house and land nearby owned by the Wynnes of Garthewin. Cae Hico, like Brynmally, was leased to Charles Roe and then to Richard Kirk, and was heavily worked for coal in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was also the site of the notorious 1885 Brymbo election riot.

Cae Llewelyn, also Vron Field, Minera Chapel Field. A large field north of the Vron which had been purchased for Minera Chapel from the bequest of Mary Myddleton of Plas Power and Croesnewydd (d.1747), and which was often rented by the tenant of Glanyrafon.

Caello, “Calf field” (the English version of the name is used on the tithe map). Field in the northern corner of the Brymbo estate, near Penycoed, whose name was preserved when it became the site of the Caello brickworks in the mid 19th century.

Cae Madoc Ddu, “Black Madoc’s Close”, was the name of two fields between Penrhos and Ty Cerrig. Names like this were perhaps a relic of enclosures made by the 13th or 14th century freemen of the township. Others found elsewhere in Brymbo, and still surviving as late as the 19th century, were Cae Llewelyn (see above) and Cae Iocyn (part of the Brymbo Hall estate).

“Cae Maw”, presumably Cae Mawr, was recorded as an alternative name for the Ffrwd estate (see below).

Cae Mawr and Cae Mawr Bychan, the “Great Close” and the “Little Great Close”, were fields in the Brymbo estate near Mount Pleasant, which were the site of coal works in the 1680s.

Cae Mynydd was a large estate in Minera, including some land adjacent to Brymbo township, and which was traceable back to the 16th century. Its owners appear to have had some connection with Minera chapel.

Cae Penty. “House-end field”, or perhaps “field of the head (main) house”. A field adjoining the vanished mansion of Gyfynys, which Palmer believed to be the “house” in question. Later the site of the Cae Penty Colliery, and now mainly remembered as the name of the lane alongside it.

Cae Saeson. “English field”. Along with “Cae Belard”, one of several fields on the slopes immediately below the present-day Smelt farm, and which were a part of the Brymbo Hall estate. The name is also written as Gwerglodd Saeson, “English hay meadow”.

Carreg y pig, the ‘pointed stone’, was recorded on 18th century documents dealing with the Nant y Ffrith valley (see below).

Sheep on the Cefn ridge above Brymbo

Sheep graze on the Cefn ridge, above Brymbo. Penrhos engine house can be seen in the middle distance at left, while on the right is the Smelt Wood and Pentresaeson.

Cefn. “Ridge”, a farm between Glascoed and Bwlchgwyn. This farm seems to have been owned by the Wynne family of Garthewin at the close of the 18th century, with a William Hughes occupying it. At the time of the tithe assessments, and into the 1850s, its tenant was a Mr Edward Roberts.

Cefn-bychan, also Cefn bach. “Little Ridge”, a farm of around 8 acres at the head of the Cefn Brook, supposed by Palmer to have been enclosed from the common by John Wilkinson. After the collapse of the Wilkinson business it was purchased out of Chancery by the ironmaster James Kyrke.

Cefn y Maes, the “Ridge [or “hill”] of the field”, was a farm enclosed from common land south of Maes Maelor crossroads. By 1832 it was occupied by Thomas Rogers, a member of the same Rogers family who had farmed Plas Mostyn from the 1760s, but was owned by James Kyrke and tenanted by David Roberts by the time of the tithe assessment. The farm buildings have now vanished, though they still appeared on OS maps of the 1960s; its site was immediately west of Pantdedwydd house.

The College. A farm of around 33 acres covering much of the site of present-day Tanyfron. Owned by the Murhall-Griffith family of Wrexham from around 1770.

Crachdir, “Barren land”. A farm near the Gyfynis and long part of its estate. In 1620 Thomas Powell is listed as holding “un’ claus’ pasture vocat’ Crach Dire“.

Craig-corn. “Horn-rock”. A mountain farm on the common south of Bwlchgwyn village, close to the source of the Gwenfro. During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries it was owned and occupied by the Ffoulkes family and then by their descendants, the Kendricks.

Ddol y Blaidd, “the river meadow of the wolf”, is one of the earliest field names recorded in Brymbo. This was in a deed of 1484, when it belonged to one Edward ap Bady ap Adda. The land in question lay along the River Gwenfro.

Esclusham, the name of two other townships of the old parish of Wrexham, was also the name of the ‘manor’ of which the township of Brymbo was a part. Manorial courts lingered into the 19th century as a mechanism for dealing with minor land issues. Like Broughton, Esclusham is one of the many English or part-English township names found in this part of Wales.

Ffrith, an old and important farm on the Brymbo bank of the Afon y Ffrith near its junction with the River Cegidog. For at least two centuries before 1800 it was owned, and occupied, by the same Matthews family as owned the neighbouring Glascoed farm (see below); it was subsequently one of the many holdings bought by John Wilkinson. The modern-day village of Ffrith, being mostly on the northern bank of the Afon y Ffrith, is in Flintshire, unlike Ffrith farm.

Ffrith Hall, not to be confused with the original Ffrith farm itself, was a house first built by James Kyrke in the late 1820s, and was later owned by the same Atcherley family who also owned Cymmau Hall nearby. Confusingly, when first built it was also known as Glascoed, a name borne by several other farms in Brymbo township (see below).

The Ffrwd, the “stream” or “torrent”, was a house and small estate located near Cae Penty on the border of Brymbo, Gwersyllt and Broughton, though just within the latter township. It was also known as “Cae Maw” (Cae Mawr?) according to a lease of 1792. Some of the fields attached to the farm were in Brymbo and Gwersyllt. Palmer said that it was long in the possession of a family called Griffiths; the last of these seems to have been the John Griffiths, “gent”, who in the previously mentioned 1792 agreement leased the coal and ironstone rights under the Ffrwd estate to Richard Kirk. One specific piece of land was known as Coed y Brain, the “wood of the crows”, and another as Cae Gwydd, and these names were subsequently applied to Kirk’s pits on the site. After John Griffiths the estate passed to his son in law John Jones of Hafod, Hope, and subsequently to the Parry family. By Palmer’s time the farmhouse was in ruins, but the Ffrwd inn, or “Three Jolly Colliers” – not the same building as today’s Ffrwd Inn – stood very close by. The name, invariably anglicised as “Frood”, was also applied to the 19th century ironworks and colliery complex that succeeded Kirk’s operation.

Ffynnon Wen, the “white spring”, was a very large and powerful spring that flowed into the Clywedog on the north-east side of Minera Mountain. It is thought to have dried up after 18th century lead workings lowered the water table.

Ffynnon-y-cwrw, “Spring of the ale”. A farm west of Brithdir and below Bwlchgwyn common. Palmer, who found the first mention of it in 1760, thought its name “strange” and considered it might originally have been “Ffynnon y ceirw”, while R V Kyrke suggested “Ffynnon groew”. The farm had a little under 40 acres. It was the property of the Peter, or Peters, family from 1760 onwards. The farmland was later owned by John Wilkinson, and then by James Kyrke, though the dwelling house at least was still in the hands of Robert Peters in 1827.

The Flash, former commonland off the Glascoed road not far from the Gorse (see below). This is an interesting name, derived from a Middle English term variously meaning a pasture by a stream, flooded land, or swampy ground. The latter sense is probably meant here. The same name occurs in the adjacent township of Uwchmynydd.

The Gorse. A small farm, of around 5 acres, said to have been enclosed from the common by John Wilkinson. The name is almost certainly a corruption of gors, “marsh”. The Gorse was later purchased by James Kyrke, and sold on in 1849 with the rest of his properties. In 1829 its tenant was Thomas Owens; a decade later it was in the hands of Robert Jones. On older maps the name is also applied to the whole area around the farm.

Glanyrafon. Literally “beside the river”, a large farm on the Gwenfro at the south-eastern corner of Brymbo township. Its land, totalling over 70 acres, lay to the north and west. Palmer believed it to have been – under the name of Tyddyn Broughton, the ‘Broughton farmstead’ – the property of the Hughes family of Rhosddu, Wrexham, and to have been purchased by William Davenport of Chester in the late 18th century. The 1666 will of John Hughes, gent, mentions two holdings in Brymbo, including one “in the possession of Hugh ap Richard gent or his assigns”, so Glanyrafon may have been the estate occupied by Captain Hugh Prichard. However, it seems that Tyddyn Broughton was for a period around 1700 owned by the Chambres family, specifically by Edward Chambres of Ruthin and then by his son the Rev. Charles Chambres of Dartford, whose will mentions it in connection with his “cozen” John Hughes. Whatever the exact nature of this convoluted ownership history, Glanyrafon was later bought by Henry Robertson and the Darby brothers, and the farmhouse was heavily rebuilt, while much of its land was appropriated for industrial use. There was another Glanyrafon nearby in Bersham; this farm, part of the Robinson estate, occupied the site of present day Southsea village.

Glascoed, “greenwood”. Area in the western part of Brymbo township; also the name of several farms there (see below). The survey of Norden (1620), which describes “the place called Pentre Glascoed”, suggests that it was regarded as a distinct settlement. The landholdings there certainly had a differing legal status, as most of the land in Glascoed, rather than being freehold, was in 1620 held on 40 year leases from the Crown, showing it to have been old customary land of the lordship.

  • Glascoed. A large house near Ffrith Farm, described as “newly-erected” in 1829, and part of the estate of the ironmaster James Kyrke. Later known as Ffrith Hall.
  • Lower Glascoed, also Glascoed. The large farm in the valley of the Cefn Brook, until the 1660s the property of Maurice Jones, but owned by the Matthews family through much of the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1799 the farm was in the tenure of William Moses, but owned by John Matthews, who occupied the adjacent Ffrith Farm. It was later purchased by John Wilkinson and then by James Kyrke. In the 1850s the tenant was John Hughes.
  • Glascoed, also Glascoed Hall, or Middle Glascoed, was a farm higher up the Glascoed valley. Owned in the 1700s by Roger Hanmer, Esq, of Maesgwaelod, then by Edward Rowlands, and split for a time into two tenements. One was tenanted successively by Peter and Richard Fennah, with the second occupied by John Michael in the same period. I think one of these to have been the farm in Glascoed shown in 1620 owned by William Tushingham. Purchased in 1825 by James Kyrke, who rebuilt the farmhouse in a grander style as “Glascoed Hall” and lived there; after Kyrke’s bankruptcy owned by a Mr. Roskell; Glascoed Hall is still a farm today.
  • Bryn Glascoed, a farm that was for a long time attached to the Pen-y-coed estate. John Hughes tenanted it in 1840, while by the 1880s it was farmed by Edward Jones.

Glyon: a small farm close to the Vicarage. Like other farms in the immediate vicinity it was long part of the Grosvenor estate. Palmer said that local tradition claimed the name was derived from the word gloyn (glow-worms, or perhaps burning coals) but considered the derivation unlikely and did not make any other suggestions. It may be, however, that the name is a corruption of the small parcel of Grosvenor land recorded in 1620 by Norden as y gerthi gleission (sic), the “green gardens”, then tenanted by Robert Lloyd.

Graigwen, “white rock”. A small farm on the old Bwlchgwyn common and presumably enclosed from it. It was at one time part of the Nant y Ffrith estate.

Groes Faen, the “stone cross”, was the name of the spot at the south eastern corner of Brymbo township where the Glanyrafon farms stood. The name was recorded in 1620 but did not appear in later years, and whether it referred to an old wayside cross or something else is unclear.

Gwernygaseg (Gwern y gassag) “the mare’s alder marsh”, farm on the Gwenfro in the south-west of the township. In the later 17th and early 18th century in the hands of an old family of freeholders called Hughes. Later purchased by Minera landowner Robert Burton, and tenanted successively by Robert Peters and John Turner.

Gwenfro, the ‘river’ – really only a brook – dividing Brymbo from Minera and Bersham townships.

“Gwern y Sawdl”. Name given by Palmer to a small freehold estate in Pentre’r-fron immediately adjacent to Plas Mostyn, successively owned by Hugh Hughes, William Robinson of Gwersyllt, Lady Dorothy Jeffries of Acton, and the Meredith family of Pentrebychan, and farmed by various tenants.

Gyfynys (also spelt Govennys, Gofynys, Govenice etc). Once a large estate scattered across Brymbo, Broughton and Gwersyllt and held by the Powell family, ‘parish gentry’ who took a very active part in the Civil War hereabouts. The main house was in Brymbo, but at various times the Gyfynys was recorded in terms that suggest it was regarded as a sort of quasi-township by itself. The Powells’ descendants later moved to Ireland and their estate was broken up into constituent farms (one of which, however, still bears the name of Gyfynys). The original mansion disappeared in the 19th century, its site indicated by field names.

The Hafod was a farm on the Bersham bank of the Gwenfro, close to Adwy’r Clawdd. In the late 18th century it belonged to a Thomas Parry of Llangollen, who also owned further land in Brymbo itself.

Halcock, or Halcog using Welsh orthography, was another part of the Gyfynys estate. This tenement lay partly in the township of Broughton. It was originally known as Plas Alcock, “Alcock’s Hall”, presumably after an early resident. At some point it was split into two tenements, Upper and Lower Halcock (or Halcog Ucha and Issa) which by the later 18th century had different owners. Part of the Lower Halcock tenement became the site of Brynmally (see above). As Halcog, the name is still used for an area at the north-eastern corner of Brymbo village.

Harwood, the part of Brymbo common in the far east of the township. Brymbo village was later built on it, and indeed was usually known as Harwood in its earliest years. The name is of Old English origin and has been said to mean “hare wood”, though har could also be “hoar, grey”: a word which over time became attached to boundary lands through the association of ‘hoarstones’ used to mark out boundaries. Welsh-speakers often turned the name into “Harwd” or “Harwt”, in which form the name lingered into the 20th century. One of the village chapels was also known by this name.

Hirdir, the “longland”. There were several fields of this name around Ffrwd. One was part of Thomas Powell’s Gyfynys estate in 1620, described as “a close of land with a wooded mountain slope extending all the way to the river”. Another two parcels, Hirdir Issa and Ucha, were a former possession of the Griffith family and then in the hands of John Rees ap Hugh. By the 1660s they were held by a John Jones of Allington and ultimately became a part of the Coedmarchan estate. The ironmaster John Thompson later bought this land and sited part of his Ffrwd ironworks there.

Gwerglodd Lee, or the Lea Meadows, shown in an early 18th century township rate book. Henry Jones

Gwerglodd Lee, or the Lea Meadows, shown in an early 18th century township rate book. Henry Jones “of Penrose” (Penrhos) also appears.

Lea Meadows or Gwerglodd Lee, fields in the vicinity of Gwernygaseg. A rental of the early 18th century appears to show them as part of the Brymbo Hall estate, but in 1799 they were owned by Robert Burton and tenanted by Robert Peters of Gwernygaseg.

The Lodge, a small estate on the border with Broughton. It had once belonged to the Sontley family, but throughout the 17th century it was the property of the Griffith family of Brymbo Hall, being farmed by a Richard ap Roger for some of the period. Some small coal pits were in operation there during this time. In the 18th century it belonged to John Hill of Shrewsbury, and was often known as “Hill’s Land”. In the 19th century it became the site of the village of Lodge, which was mostly swept away by extension of the steelworks in the mid 20th century.

Other fields called Lodge could be found on the opposite, western end of the Brymbo Hall estate, adjacent to the Smelt Wood.

The Lodge Brook, which divided Brymbo from Broughton township, was described in 1620 as “a little brook running from a common called Harwood”. It is now largely culverted, if it runs at all, though still forming the border between the communities.

Maes Maelor, from maes, “open field”, and the historic name Maelor (thought by Ellis Davies to perhaps be derived from mael – lawr, the “Prince’s territory”), is a very old place name given to land on the moor in the far north western corner of Brymbo township, adjoining Llanarmon parish.

Minera was the small township adjoining Brymbo to the west, a hilly area of common and moorland. Despite this, it possessed its own chapel. Its unusual name is Latin-derived and relates to the unique status enjoyed by its mediaeval lead-mining inhabitants. It is also sometimes described in documents simply as “the Mines”, though the Welsh name Mwynglawdd also appears from the 17th century onwards. The latter word, according to old dictionaries, was applied to any metalliferous mine. The suggestion that it derives from Mwyn y Clawdd (“Mine of the Dyke”), appears to have originated with the Chevalier Lloyd (in History of the Princes…), who is not known for his accuracy.

The Mount, an area adjacent to Harwood common. The will of John Taylor, 1848, mentions his estate “commonly called the Mount” “near Brymbo blast furnaces”, consisting of three houses with attached land. A mention in Norden’s 1620 survey of Brymbo of a “Mynydd Harwood” may be early evidence of this name. It finally gave its name to the Mount Hotel, now demolished.

Mount Pleasant. A farm on the Brymbo estate of around 60 acres, south of Brymbo Pool, much of whose land lay above “the rocks” and which now forms some of the newer parts of Brymbo village. Its English name (suggested to be “ironic” by one historian, as it was right among the estate’s coal works) indicates a more modern origin, perhaps in the Wilkinson era. A lot of its land was in fact farmed by Wilkinson personally in his lifetime. After Wilkinson’s time, as part of his trustees’ estate, it was successively occupied by Thomas Shone and Frances Shone.

Mount Zion. A small farm on the Brymbo estate, adjacent to Brymbo Pool, consisting mostly of the land known as Maesclawdd (the “Dyke Pasture”) and Nant Ucha (between Mount Zion and the old turnpike). Like Mount Pleasant’s land, these fields were farmed by Wilkinson himself in 1799, but by 1829 it was a separate farm of the Brymbo estate, with Samuel Evans as tenant.

The Nant, “valley”, or later, “stream”. Palmer, however, says that nant in this area always means “valley”, with aber used for “stream”. Nant was the name once given to part of the valley below the Mount and Harwood common, on the eastern edge of the township. Much of the area was covered by the steelworks banks after the 19th century. The Nant Pit, close to Lodge, presumably took its name from it.

A second Nant Pit, one of the Brymbo Company’s named pits, was found on the other side of the township, on the east side of the turnpike road between Smelt and Caello. The “Nant” in this case may be connected with the large field known as Nant Ucha and which was part of Mount Zion farm.

Nant y Ffrith. The valley forming part of the township’s northern boundary, with a stream flowing to the Cegidog at Ffrith. That nant here also means “valley”, not “stream”, is indicated by the fact that the stream was usually called “Avon y ffrith”. In mediaeval times the valley was recorded as nantorimongell. The last element might be myngul, ‘narrow-necked’. The area was once part of the ‘wastes’ of Bersham, but was added to Brymbo as common land in the 14th century. Visited by the painter Edward Pugh, and the site of lead mining trials.

Penrhos (Penrhose), “Moor end”. A small hamlet south-west of Brymbo village taking its name from several farms (see below). The name was also given to several coalpits in or near the hamlet.

  • Penrhos, also Penrhos Mawr. A large farm, part of the Brymbo estate. Tenanted by Charles Harrison in 1799, by John Hughes in 1829, and by Margaret Hughes by 1840.
  • Penrhos, also Penrhos Isaf, now Rhos-y-coed. A farm of roughly 30 acres south-east of Penrhos Mawr. Hugh Hughes “of Penrhose” is mentioned in the 1720s rate books, but like adjoining properties it probably became part of the Robinsons’ estate at this time; by the middle of the century it was in the hands of the Robinsons’ heir Mr Humberston-Cawley of Gwersyllt. Later in the century it was bought by the Griffith or Murhall-Griffith family of Wrexham.

The Pentre. Farm in Pentre’r-fron, of around 30 acres, known as “Top Farm” from the late 19th century. Probably very old in origin, it remained in the hands of freehold owner-occupiers long after most other farms in the area had been swallowed up by large estates. Thomas ap Edward occupied it from at least the late 1660s until 1702, followed by his son, Edward.

Pentresaeson. “The English hamlet”. The shallow valley between, roughly speaking, the Brymbo estate’s western edge and the Cefn, which has given its name to several houses. Many of the township’s early mine workings were in this area, the result of an outcrop of coal close to the surface. The Pentresaeson farm itself, of around 80 acres, may have historically been a part of the Brymbo estate, but was owned by a George Ravenscroft in the mid 18th century and prior to that by the Holland family. Wilkinson later bought it, at which time a family called Harrison tenanted it. Nearby is a former foundry, dating from the mid 19th century.

Penygroes. This farm lay on the top of Brymbo hill, next to present-day Ael y Bryn, with its land stretching across to a spot behind Mount Zion. Palmer said it historically belonged to the Myddleton family of Chirk, but prior to that it, in the 17th century, it was part of the Coedmarchan estate, belonging to a family called Parry. As most of the Coedmarchan properties in Brymbo seem to have until the 1660s belonged to a John Jones of Allington, Penygroes may have come through the same route. The Myddletons appear to have purchased it from Sir John Curzon in 1724 along with the rest of the estate of Richard Parry of Coedmarchan, then deceased. By 1840, the time of the tithe assessments, it was owned by their descendant F R West, Esq, and tenanted by Edward Michael.

Pentre’r-fron, “hamlet of the brow”. A small group of farms and dwellings between Plas Mostyn and the township’s southern border on the Gwenfro.

Penycoed, “Top of the wood”. Farm on Offa’s Dyke above Glascoed, owned by Robert ap Hugh in the late 17th century, then by his son Hugh Hughes, and afterwards let to various tenants.

Plas Newydd, “New Hall”. A house, and attached land, part of the Brymbo Hall estate. Located near Wilkinson’s blast furnaces, according to Palmer; much of the Plas Newydd land later became part of the ironworks. In a deed of 1695 Edward Jones, gent, is described as “of Plas Newydd” in Brymbo; Richard Jones is rated for “Plaise Newydd” in the 1730s, followed by Evan Edwards, while a Robert Jones tenanted part of it in 1799. The ironworks was sometimes referred to as the “Plas Newydd Works” during its early years, such as on some versions of the tithe map.

Plas Mostyn. “Mostyn’s Hall”, a house and attached estate owned in the 16th century by a branch of the Sontley family. Purchased from William Sontley in c.1640 by Archdeacon William Mostyn and subsequently owned by his descendants before being purchased by Roger Kenyon of Cefn Park.

Plas Mostyn Bach, also Plas Mostyn issa, small farm west of Plas Mostyn and part of the same estate. Ellis Allington was rated for it in the late 17th century.

The Smelt Wood, on a corner of what was once the Brymbo Hall estate.

The Smelt Wood, on a corner of what was once the Brymbo Hall estate.

Plas maen and the nearby Pont plas maen (“bridge of the stone hall”, listed in Edward Lhuyd’s Parochialia) have long been place names on the border of Brymbo township, near Ffrwd. Plas maen itself was an old gentry house. In Edwardian times it was the home of Alfred Darby.

Smelt Wood, the small wood on the Brymbo estate at Pentresaeson crossroads. This was probably the site of much of the early mining on the estate: shafts dating from at least the 18th century have been found here, and some coal works seem to have been carried out until at least Wilkinson’s time. No trees are indicated on the 1829 estate sale map, but the fields in which the wood is situated are identified as “Lodge Mary“. A coal level here was known as the “Lodge Level”, according to Brymbo Company plans. The area is clearly shown as wooded on the tithe map (1840). Judging by its depiction on Ordnance Survey maps, the wood was much larger before the 1950s.

Stryt y Cefn, “street of the ridge”, a name given to a small farm in the vicinity of Cefn. This was in the occupation of a Joseph Wilkinson by c.1890, who may have been related to the father and son, both named James Wilkinson, who farmed Pentresaeson in the same period.

Top Brymbo, a name used at least as early as the 19th century to refer to the area around Brymbo Pool and Mount Zion, and sometimes found in census and other documents.

The Twelve Disciples were one of the area’s best known landmarks, a group of trees in the demesne land of the Brymbo estate.

Ty Cerrig (Tukerrig, Ty kerig), “stone house”. A farm immediately south of Brymbo Hall; the “John Griffith of Te Kerig” recorded in the 1660s was probably also the owner of the Brymbo estate. In the 1680s Ty Cerrig was owned by a branch of the Robinson family and tenanted by Hugh ap Edward and John ap Hugh; by the 1720s it was occupied by Simon Taylor, and was farmed by his descendants until the mid 19th century.

Tynycelyn. “House in the hollies”, or perhaps from “Tir yn y…”, “land in the…” (the name is also spelt Ty yn y kelin, Tyn y ceylin, and many other ways). A now vanished piece of land, and possibly a house, that was part of the Brymbo estate. In the 1680s Lewis Thomas was the tenant; later it was rated to “Mrs Elizabeth Holland”. By 1799 it was recorded as part of Penrhos farm. The fields across the old turnpike from the Smelt Wood, called “Holly Field” in 1840 and recorded as “Cae Hen Ty”, “old house field” in 1829, may represent the site of Tynycelyn.

Uwchmynydd Ucha, the township adjoining Brymbo in Flintshire to the north.

Vron, also Fron. The “brow”, the hill above the Gwenfro that gave its name to a farm, a colliery, and latterly a village (most of which was actually built on the land of the College, above). Like the neighbouring farm of Ty Cerrig, Vron was a holding of the Robinson family of Gwersyllt Ucha before being purchased by John Edwards of Llan-y-cefn in about 1750, eventually passing to a family called Meeson. The farm was tenanted by the Lewis family for many years.

Waen farm

The Waen, near Bwlchgwyn, once part of the Wilkinson estate.

The Waen. A farm north-east of Bwlchgwyn. Gwaen is the local version of the word gwaun, meaning an unenclosed pasture, down or moor. “John ap Hugh of Waene” appears several times in the rate books of the 1680s, while the John Michael or Michill recorded as as the tenant of some of Edward Rowland’s land in the 1790s was probably of the Waen. The farmhouse was supposed to have once been used as a stop off by pack trains climbing up the route from Ffrith; some of its land may have been enclosed, or “improved”, from common by John Wilkinson. It was another of the Wilkinson properties bought by James Kyrke.

Waen goch, “Red down”, “Red moor”. Fields between Pentresaeson and Cefn, in Wilkinson’s time attached to the Pentresaeson farm. Perhaps recorded in Norden’s survey as “Diuers’ clausa pastur’ et arabil’ terr’ sterilis adiac’ vocat’ Wayne go’ vcha et Wayne go’ issa“, owned by John Griffith of Brymbo Hall.

Waen John ap Hugh Kenrick was a name recorded in the 1760s for commonland around Bwlchgwyn. A John ap Hugh Kenrick, alias John Hughes, appears in the rate books of Minera a century earlier. It is unclear whether the “John ap Hugh of Waene” mentioned above was the same person.

The Wern. “Alder grove”, or “marsh”. The area on the north-eastern slope of Brymbo hill, above Gyfynys, and including Bryn rhug farm.

The Yord. An odd name, given to a small row of cottages on the lane adjoining Cae Penty. Perhaps simply an early corruption of “yard”; the word yeord appears in some deeds as equivalent to the term erw, itself roughly similar to the English term “close”. The Yord estate itself, land in the top corner of Broughton, was associated with Ffrwd farm and by the early 19th century was owned by John Jones of Hafod farm, Hope, whose wife Mary was the daughter of John Griffiths of Ffrwd. In 1840 it was owned by Jones’s son, also called John, and eventually passed to his son in law Edward Parry.

A note on name translations. As in English, the meaning of some Welsh words has shifted over the centuries. I’ve always translated glas as “green”, rather than “blue” (as I was taught at school). As mentioned above, Nant in North East Wales usually had the sense “valley”, rather than the common modern sense of “stream”. For the word cae, usually “field”, I’ve tended to translate using the English field term “close”, as the word has the sense of an enclosure or hedge, and to try and differentiate it from other words such as maes. Corrections and comments are always welcome however.

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