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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Alongside coal and iron, the Middle Coal Measures of the Denbighshire Coalfield yielded huge quantities of fireclay, which gave rise to a thriving brick industry in the 19th century. Although the clays of Ruabon, and the hard red bricks made from them, were far better-known, the coal outcrops at Brymbo were no exception and there were once a number of brickworks in the Brymbo area, some of which survived until comparatively recently, and which produced both firebricks and “common bricks” for industrial and domestic uses. Although a lower-profile industry than the coal mines and less prestigious than the iron foundries, the brickyards were another characteristic part of the East Denbighshire landscape.

As with the collieries, I’ll start with a look at the Brymbo Company of Henry Robertson and the Darby brothers, operators of the Brymbo ironworks and much else besides.

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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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The turnpike roads came to the area early. An Act of 1758-9, back in the reign of George II, provided for the upgrade of the roads from “the town of Mold to the town of Denbigh, and from thence to Tal y Cafn and Conway, and from the town of Wrexham to the towns of Ruthin and Denbigh“. It was the Wrexham-Ruthin section, passing through Gegin Wen close to the township border and thence across the bleak moorland by Maes Maelor, that was finally to drag the inhabitants of Brymbo firmly into the 18th century.

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North and west of Brynmally colliery lies an attractive area of small, wooded hills, tiny deep-banked lanes, and old farmhouses, with a few relics of an industry that it is now difficult to imagine ever being here. The parishes of Wrexham, Gresford and Hope meet at this point, the latter lying across the Cegidog to the north. Much of the area is now given the name of Ffrwd – over the years it has also been spelt in the Anglicised form “Frood”, the latter particularly applied to John Thompson‘s colliery and ironworks which once occupied land at the very extremity of Brymbo township.
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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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