This ornate dwelling was one of the largest half-timber constructed houses in Flintshire. It was built for Randall Broughton in about 1642. The infill to the timber work was in wattle and daub and the massive lateral chimney stacks were built in brick and situated each side of the house. The ornamental brick chimney stacks towered above the complex slate roof.
The front projecting porch was built in stone and the family coat-of-arms was set above the heavy studded front door. This item and the two bows to the front elevation were added later, sometime in the 1850s, by Robert Howard. The early Stuart period brought about the Jacobean type of architecture, of which Broughton Hall was a fine example.
The interior of the house displayed many unique timber features, demonstrating the skill of the craftsmen of those days. The house contained many secret staircases and hiding places for priests – relics of the more troubled religious times and the troubled political period of Charles I, the monarch who ruled despotically and made great efforts to restore Catholicism in the country.
A plan of Broughton Hall showed the main block containing a Library, two Drawing rooms, a long dining room, a Justice’s room, and a pantry, with a large square entrance hall. The domestic block at the north of the main block consists of two Housekeeper’s rooms, Servants’ dressing room, Kitchen, hack kitchen, larder, scullery, plate room or Butlers’ pantry, store closet with cellar entrance. Across a large yard were several outbuildings consisting of wash-house and Laundry, Brew house, Bake house and Milk house. The woodwork of the interior of the main house was almost entirely of oak, a few doors were oak and were ornamented with carving but most doors were of oak two sunken panels in very heavy frames, The Library fitted from floor to ceiling with open oak book shelves, had one pair of oak pillars about nine feet high supporting the central beam of the room. The main entrance doors of the Hall were a pair of ornately carved oak double doors. The entrance hall contained a carved oak fireplace inscribed “when Friends meet, Hearts warm’, this faced the entrance doors, The Drawing rooms were completely paneled in pine the frieze carved in a garland pattern, Part of the Dining room was also paneled in pine, Some of the original fireplaces were filled in with marble Victorian mantelpieces. Some had dog-grates, and some the basket type of grate.
The Howard family were benefactors to the Church of St Deiniol’s in the village of Worthenbury. They gave a set of hymn and prayer books to the church together with other items. In the church is a tablet dedicated to the family who lived at Broughton Hall and it is inscribed: “In loving memory of Nugent Howard who died at Brindisi on March 18th, 1910. Regretted by his friends who erected this tablet.” The tablet is now looking dilapidated and neglected.
The Broughton Hall family vault is located opposite the east end of the church. On the wall of the vault is recorded the following inscription:
Robert. H. Howard. M.A. second son of John Howard of Brereton Hall, Sandbach, died 7th October 1908, aged 81 years. Lucy Annabella, his wife, only daughter of Archdeacon Isaac Wood of Newton Hall, Middlewich. Robert Moreton, their son, Barrister at Law, died 9th January 1881. John, eldest son, died 27th March 1938, aged 85.
Although the house was a listed building, the condition of the house had deteriorated so much that it was uneconomical to have the building restored. It was demolished in 1959. It was a great loss to the Parish of Worthenbury to see such a fine building disappear from the landscape.
Sources: Lost Houses In & Around Wrexham – Raymond Lowe, p.16-17; Wrexham History; Threapwood History Group.