RHUTHUN LOCAL HISTORY BROADSHEET Issue No 45 March 1996
PRECOCITY AT POOL PARK
By Peter Howell Williams.
Among those of the Bagot family who came to their Welsh seat of Pool Park, near Rhuthun, in June and July 1827, was twelve year old Eleanor Bagot, a daughter of William, second Lord Bagot and his wife, daughter of the third Earl of Dartmouth. Once she knew of the plans of the family, Eleanor decided to keep a diary of her trip into Wales.
Curiously, her initial diary made no mention of any rebuilding being undertaken at Pool Park, but this may not have been known to her at first. In any event, it was hardly the sort of information which would appeal to a young girl. But she was anxious to please and her writing was very neat, far better than most tourists. Her style, too, for one of her age was quite mature.
Eleanor lived at Blithfield Hall, near Rugeley, Staffordshsire, which the family accompanied by servants "left at a quarter past seven on Monday, June 4th 1827", as Eleanor precisely recorded. The entourage must have been impressive. There would have been at least two principal carriages and probably two smaller coaches carrying servants and luggage. The Bagots lived in some comfort.
Their barony was created in 1780, but each successive scion had inherited a baronetcy from 1627. Pool Park however came into Bagot ownership through the marriage of Jane Salusbury of Bachymbyd Fawr, near Rhuthun, to Sir Walter Bagot of Blithfield, ancestor to the first Lord Bagot.
The Salusburys, over some generations, through astute and fortuitous alliances, had become possessors of Llewenni, Bachymbyd, Berain, Bach-y-Graig, Galltfaenan, Rug and Pool Park as well as numerous smaller estates such as Rhyd-y-Cilgwyn in Rhewl. Unfortunately for the Salusburys, they inherited on the distaff side the ancient Welsh disability to produce male heirs. As the Salusburys acquired lands, so they were to lose them! No Salusbury interest remains in Clwyd today.
As they approached Chester, "Aunt Charlotte and most of our party went to Eaton to show it to Mr. Lane who had not seen it before". Lane was to marry Agnes, Eleanor's sister. At this point in Eleanor's diary there is a reference to staying with cousins, for "Mummey (sic) .... when it rained read to me Mrs. Marcet's 'Natural Philosophy', which made the afternoon pass very agreeably." She must have been a very bright young woman. Later, she played at German Tacticks. Jane Marcet (1769-1858) was an early feminist and a prolific writer, much of her work devoted to simple but edifying scientific and philosophical issues, suitable for young people. At least one such work went into fourteen editions. Her success did not please her husband, a distinguished Bavarian scientist, for he was opposed to the freedom, which his wife encouraged in young girls.
On Wednesday 6th June, they passed through Gresford, which Eleanor rightly found "beautiful". The Vale of Gresford offered, as de Quincey appreciated on his visit in 1802, "a lovely little seclusion". The Bagots visited a Miss Hayman at Glasfryn, Gresford, the daughter of a well-known Wrecsam attorney who, for reasons even A.N. Palmer, the Wrecsam historian, was unable to fathom, had once held the honorary title of Privy Purse to Caroline when Princess of Wales. On her return home to build Glasfryn, Miss Hayman appears to have been held in awe by all Wrecsam society until her death in 1847. De Quincey paid a visit to the Haymans - mother and daughter - in 1802 and wrote of them as "two ladies of some distinction, nearly related to each other, and old friends of my mother, were in manner the ladies paramount within the ring fence of this Arcadian Vale." C.J. Apperley (Nimrod) also referred to another Gresford tartar - a Miss Martha Price - eccentric, somewhat masculine, given to sarcasm, prim and who always dressed out of fashion. De Quincey thought that between them, "even little brooks were trained to behave themselves."
After meeting Miss Hayman, the Bagots called at 'Lady Glynne's house'. Lady Glynne was the widow of Sir Stephen Richard Glynne who died in 1815. (Their daughter, Catherine, was to marry the Rt. Hon. W.E. Gladstone, who made Hawarden Castle his home in 1839.) But where was Lady Glynne's 'house'?
(The second part will appear in our June issue).
THOUGHTS ON 18Th CENTURY RESTORATIONS TO ST. PETER'S, RUTHIN – PART 2
by P.D. Randall & Allan Fletcher
- describing the continuing process of repair and restoration.
From St. Peter's Churchwardens' Accounts and the Chirk Castle Accounts, it is recorded that the following craftsmen were employed, together with the amounts they received:
Samuel Dennil, mason £15 16 9½d. 99½d91/2½d.
Thomas Peirce, mason 5 16 0d.
John Owens, carpenter 40 0 0d.
Thomas Roberts, plasterer 10 11 9½d
John Griffith, plumber 11 10 0d.
William Evans, glazier 810 0d.
John Davies, carrying stones 2 10 6d.
William Powell, carrying stones 3 9 8d.
During 1735, the two then flat roofs over St. Peter's church were extensively repaired and re-leaded. The work is recorded in the Churchwardens' Accounts as follows:
Dr. to Mr Bill for leading £26 2 10½d.
Dr to Mr Ambrose Lloyd, timber 10 15 6d.
Dr to John Jones, Llanvorog, timber 3. 15. 0d.
Dr to Edwd. Owens, Carpenter 13 0 5½d.
David Williams, Carpenter 3 0 0½d
Thomas Price, Mason 0 15 4d.
Robert Roberts, Smith 0 12 4½d
Robt. Ellis for carriage of timber 9 0d. Thos. Roberts, Slater for
washing the church 2 13 6d.
John Evans by his bill 2 15 9½d.
Thos. Hughes, Joyn 2 13 1d.
David Hughes for painting 2 1 6d.
The following were some of the craftsmen:
- Samuel Dennall, Mason of Chester, was made a Freeman of the city on 17th March 1707/8.
- John Owens, a craftsman carpenter whose name frequently appears in the Churchwardens' Accounts. He was a Churchwarden himself for some years and lived in Castle Street from 1711 until his death in February 1731/2. The £40 must have included materials and labour for box pews he constructed in the same period. What remained of those pews was used in the 19th century as window shutters on the ground floor of the Old Cloisters.
- William Evans also carried out many repairs to the church windows. He was buried on the 18th June 1735, but his gravestone has not survived.
- Mr. Bill, also a glazier, repaired many windows in the church. Unfortunately, he drowned on 20th June 1781, when he was swept off the Clwyd Street bridge whilst watching the river Clwyd rising during a severe flood.
- Thomas Price, Mason, in 1727 made a marble chimney piece for Chirk Castle and was a Churchwarden of St. Peter's for the years 1725/26.
- David Davies, painter. He painted the 72 panels at the west end of the north roof, each a facsimile of the Tudor carved panels, though the painted panels are hardly visible today. The account is probably for this work. David Davies was buried on 14th August 1773.
It would appear that the work carried out between the Brief of 1714 and 1735 was not sufficient to make the church safe as, in 1754, the churchwardens sought a further Royal Brief ".... the steeple and [end?]of the parish church of Ruthin aforesaid being a very ancient and large structure containing twenty flour ffeet square on either side and ninety ffeet in length all built with stone and having a fflat roof covered with lead is become so ruinous and dangerous to the lives of the inhabitants not withstanding they have laid out great sums of money to repair the same." Several able and experienced workmen viewed the church and "steeple" and estimated the cost at £1,320. The application was made by Edward Thelwall, Thomas Price, the Reverend Hugh Jones and the Justices of the Peace and was granted by George II. 'Steeple' and 'tower' were synonymous.
The inhabitants of the town could not have met such a heavy cost if only because of the high poor rate. The church rate in 1732 was 6d. in the £1. This raised just over £9, £3 of which were spent on repairs and £3 on running the church. If a church rate of 6d in the £1 raised £9, then to raise the £1,320 required the rate should have been increased to £3.-13s.-4d., - an impossible figure. The Brief, measuring 22" x 20" and bearing a portrait (see above) of King George II, is kept at the British Museum, London. Some 297 parishes in Devonshire, 133 in Cornwall, together with 37 churches in London, contributed including 4s.0d. received from St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, where Bishop Godfrey Goodman. Dean Goodman's nephew. was buried. All Ministers. Curates. Preachers, Churchwardens and Chapelwardens were implored to "exhort your respective congregations and assemblies to a Liberal contribution of their charity for accomplishing so charitable work." Chapelwardens and Preachers were included in the Brief although intolerant legislation against nonconformists was still in place. The collection was to be in every county, city. Town and borough. Cinque Ports in England and "our town of Berwick on Tweed".
In Wales, a house to house collection was made throughout Flint. Denbigh. Radnor, Merioneth, and Montgomery. though the following were exempt: Anglesey, Breckonshire, Caernarvonshire, Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan, and Pembrokeshire. Why is a matter for conjecture. In Merioneth, there was to be a collection, but not in Caernarvonshire and Ruthin was then in the Bangor Diocese.
The door-to-door collection was to be quite extensive, including not only the parishioners presumably members of the established church, but also masters, mistresses, servants and 'others in the family'. Their names were to be entered in writing along with the amount of their contribution. The donations were to be forwarded to a number of distinguished people whose names were listed.
This embraced the social hierarchy of the time, headed by the Lord Bishop, two knights. two baronets, those gentlemen considered to be esquires, followed by the clerics and finally lay people not considered to be 'esquires'. The document was witnessed by William, Duke of Cumberland; known to all schoolboys as the 'Butcher of Culloden'.
It would be satisfying to record that the money was raised and the church restored. Alas, like so many things in history, this Brief is an enigma. There is no mention in the Council or Vestry minutes about the raising of the Brief or the receipts therefrom. A century after this, during the Wardenships of the Rev Richard Newcome M.A. (1804- 1851) and the Rev Bulkeley Owen Jones. M.A. (1851- 19091) and under the patronage of Frederick West of Ruthin Castle, the next major restoration of St. Peter's was undertaken, with, the addition of a spire, making it the church we know today.
Churchwardens' Accounts. Clwyd Record Office PD/9011/3. PD/911/1/33: Chirk Castle Accounts. 1666-1753, W.M. Myddelton; Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1863: Journal of the Historical Society Of the Church in Wales. Vol. 7, No: 12. 1957: British Museum, Department of Manuscripts and Documents; The William Suit Library.
Plas Einws is located in the former township of Maesmaencymro, in the parish of Llanynys, in the connote of Coelion within the Lordship of Ruthin.
Edward Lhwyd refers to it in his Parochialia of c.1699, placing it ninth in a list of nine "Houses of Note" in Llanynys. It was then owned by a Mr Williams of Aber Dinne in Llanferres. "Aber Dinne", currently Aberduna, is in Maeshafn. A document of 1732 establishes that a Mr Thomas Williams of Aber Dinne was a cleric living at Wicken, Northamptonshire. He settled several properties on his wife Susannah, including Plas Einws (Pease Innos), then occupied by a John Williams.
Thus, while the house may not have enjoyed a status of the first rank, it did enjoy prestige, possibly as home of an officer or servant, e.g., the agent of a larger estate.
The present exterior offers no clues as to its origins. Certain features have been lost. For example, in the south gable, there was a most attractive bay window at first floor level with diamond panes. All the windows were shuttered. There was also a second stone staircase externally leading to a workman's bedroom. Outside, the back yard was cobbled.
An officer of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales visited in August 1964 and found that the only surviving ancient features were the bricked chimneys and even these have since been replaced. The chimneys may have been remnants of an early timber-framed house, but present external walls are of 19th century stonework. The then owner of Plas Einws was a Miss Pugh, and possibly her brother.
The meaning of "Einws" is uncertain. Could it be a corruption of "Ynys"? The 1874 O.S. 25" survey refers to it as "PLAS YNYS". This may have been an error by the surveyors as it seems to be the only example of the use of that name. Plas-yn-Llanynys was correctly labelled so there was no confusion between the two. Another suggested derivation is that it may be from "Un Nos" ('one night'), implying that the original was constructed on common land overnight and had smoke emerging from its chimney by dawn.
In the Tudor period, the great landed estates, although generally remaining significantly large, began to break up and parts were sold-off to the holders of new money who were beginning to emerge. For example, the original Thelwalls, who had made their home at Plas-y-Ward, within a few hundred yards of Plas Einws, acquired much land. Descendants of that family acquired the Bathafarn estate, while Sir Eubule Thelwall [c.1560-1630], Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, was based at Plas Coch, Llanychan. At the height of their powers, the Thelwalls owned most if not all of the eastern half of the Vale from Denbigh southwards.
Again, the Bachymbyd estate of a sub-set of the Salusbury family of Llewenni, Denbigh, [where] the Salesburies, had settled was substantial. This passed to Sir Walter Bagot (3rd Bart.) of Blithfield, Staffordshire, on his marriage to Jane Salesbury on 25th June 1670.
However, no documentary reference has yet been found to establish a connection between Plas Einws and the Thelwall or Bagot estates, though Plas Coch and Plas Einws were in joint ownership in the 1920/30s. It seems clear that since c1699, when Lhwyd's Parochialia was compiled, Plas Einws was in the ownership of landowners who were not landed gentry.
The development of the non-conformist movement in the Vale, and in particular at Rhewl, provide clues as to the ownership of Plas Einws in the 19th century. That so many chapels sprang up in Wales belies the fact that usually their founders succeeded only in the face of much prejudice and, indeed, active discouragement and obstruction.
So it was in Rhewl. Initially, the meetings were held in private houses until these became too small. Sometimes barns or other farm buildings were brought into service. One Vicar of Llanynys and Gyffylliog helped to the extent of giving five shillings towards the purchase of books and equipment and allowed the use of the parish schoolroom. His successor turned them out, but later relented. And so it went on until a John Jones of Gelligynan, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, heard of this and, allowed them the use of Plas Einws indefinitely. This arrangement ran for many years before a chapel was formally established on 15th December, 1843.
Plas Einws baptisms, at least in 1841, were consecrated at Llwynedd (Llanbedr D.C., now demolished.) where the baptismal record has two entries dated 9th March, 1841, viz., Amos Jones and Evan Hughes, both of Plas Einws.
It is difficult to identify 'John Jones' of Gelligynan. Gelligynan Hall was a prestigious address of the Jones-Mortimer family, also of Plas Newydd, Llanfair D.C., and Heartsheath, Mold. John may have tenanted the Gelligynan home farm.
'Plas Einws' also features in the Llanynys parish records. For example, 5th May 1742, burial of John Williams of Plas Eunnys (sic); 16th January 1750, baptism of Robert, son of William Jones of Plasheinous (sic), Yeoman, by Margaret his wife. The Land Tax Assessment of 1797 identifies "I. Pritchard, Gent" as the owner with Mr. Ran Williams as the occupier with a valuation for tax purpose of £13.-0.-0d, giving it a middle ranking. In Maesmaencymro, Plas-yWard was the most valuable for taxation purposes at £200.10.-0d. Plas Einws was much the same in 1829, at £13.-6.-4d., when Humphrey Jones was owner/occupier. In 1832, the Register of Electors cites Thomas Rutherford of Pool Park as the owner of Plas Einws.
The Tithe Redemption Schedules of 1840 cite John Rutherford of Pool Park as the owner with a John Jones as tenant. The identity of this John Jones is not known, but it may be that it was he who assisted the founder non-conformists. Nor is the identity of the two Rutherfords of Pool Park known, but as Pool Park was not sold by the Bagots until the early 1930s, they were clearly tenants.
The census records yield information on the residents of Plas Einws on census days. In 1861, John Jones. Farmer, aged 55, lived there with his wife and two children. There were also a manservant and a maidservant, together with a policeman with his wife and child. There was also a "Plas Einws Cottage", occupied by an agricultural labourer and his wife. In 1851, a Richard Lewis aged 40, described as a Surveyor of Highways, was in residence with his wife and a maidservant; with Thomas Williams, aged 54, described as an agricultural labourer, his wife and two sons. Jane Williams aged 75 on census day, 1861, was head of the household with a husbandman, dairymaid and a farmer's boy. Jane was farming 45 acres. Ten years later, Jane was said to be 82, farming 56 acres and employing 3 men and a dairymaid. Census information for 1881 is lost, but in 1891, Margaret Parry, widow, aged 75, was in residence with her two sons and a domestic servant.
In the mid 1850s, schedules of land required for the railway from Denbigh to Ruthin showed John Wrightman as owner of Plas Einws with David Parry in occupation. A slightly later plan of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn's Ruthin estate shows that the railway passed over a corner of one Plas Einws field with the ownership still ascribed to Wrightman.
It may have been that two Parry brothers, John and Thomas, who jointly owned and farmed Plas Einws until the decade of the first World War, were the sons of the widow Margaret Parry who was farming Plas Einws in 1891. At any rate, the property had been untenanted for some time when Mr. Evan T. Jones and his family moved in during 1920 and remained there until 1932. The property was then in the ownership of a Mr. Herbert Jones, son of Mr. Henry Jones of Plas Coch, Llanychan. Herbert's brother, Llewelyn, was a veterinary surgeon at Denbigh and their sister was a May Jones, Matron of Ruthin Hospital.
Acknowledgements: Miss Mair Jones, Llanbedr D.C.; Mr. E. Stanley Scoins; Mr. John Williams; Mrs. Law, Penkridge, Staffs; RCAHM., Aberystwyth; National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; Ruthin Branch Library; Ruthin Records Office; and in particular Mrs. Mavis Parry for her research. Hanes Methodistiaid Dyffryn Clwyd (Dosbarth Rhuthun); Pierce Owen, 1921; Mr Meirion Pugh. Rhewl.