Chronology of Bryn Estyn Hall Wrexham

by Nigel Whitby.

Up to 1783. Bryn Estyn (Bryn meaning, Hill. Estyn meaning, reach out, stretch, extend) was part of the estate of the Davies family of Erlas Hall, until Williams Kyffin of Maenan Hall married one of the daughters of Roger Davies of Erlas, Bryn Estyn passed into the possession of the Kyffins. 1783. Richard Lloyd, wealthy flannel merchant and pioneer of banking in Wrexham acquired land from Sir Thomas Kyffin of Erlas Hall, and in 1786 commissioned the Welsh architect Joseph Turner to draw the plans for the building of the first Hall on Bryn Estyn, in the township of Bieston as seen in the rare photograph above. 1814. Following the death of Richard Lloyd, Bryn Estyn was inherited by his eldest son Lieutenant – Colonel Sir William Lloyd who served as High Sheriff of Denbighshire. 1849. Lloyds bank in Wrexham (not to be confused with the present day well-known high-street bank) collapsed and brought shame to the family.

1857. Sir William Lloyd died; Bryn Estyn was passed to Emily Fitzhugh of Plas Power whose husband was Captain Rumley Charles Godfrey. 1879. Bryn Estyn road was closed from Rhosnessney to Erlas lane, as it was deemed dangerous from the top of Bryn Estyn going down to Erlas lane, the reason, a number of accidents involving carriages with injuries to people and horses had increased due to its popular use as one of the main routes for Wrexham Town. The road was widened, and the gradient decreased and stone retaining walls were built on both sides of the road. 1893. Captain Godfrey died, his son Major Rumley Frederick Godfrey inherited Bryn Estyn.

Nags Head, Mount Street when F W Soames &Co owned the brewery, notice the Tudor style.

1903. Brewing magnate Frederick William Soames. Esq. who owned F W Soames& Co Brewery since 1879 and became the largest brewery in Wrexham town under his ownership, bought Bryn Estyn Hall off Major Godfrey. The land included totalled up to approx. 95 acres, this included “The Home Farm” of 68 acres.

Messrs, G.E.Grayson & Edward Ould renowned architects of Liverpool, were commissioned to draw plans for a larger Hall some distance east from the original Hall in a more prominent position ( at the top of Bryn Estyn for superior views) at enormous cost. A list of works from around the UK they have designed is on Wikipedia, take a note of Wightwick Manor and Hill Bark, Frankby, Wirral and the majority of these buildings they designed are now listed. Edward Ould had an interest of Half-Timbered buildings, and he was a joint author of a book in 1904 on that subject. There are several buildings designed by Grayson & Ould around Wrexham, Bank of Liverpool, 33 High Street and 5, 7, 9, 11 Fairy Road, all these buildings are listed.

Plans drawn by Edward Ould 5 & 6 Fairy Oak Villas 1882.

Former Bank of Liverpool 33 High Street, Wrexham.

This is one of several plans drawn by William Goldring, Kew garden expert, this one shows the current hall that Mr and Mrs Soames eventually chose to have built in red overlaid onto a different designed hall and gardens for comparison, the walled kitchen gardens though would have been the same as they date back to when the original hall was built. This coloured drawing gives a sense of how beautiful Bryn Estyn estate originally looked over a century ago. This plan is the only one to survive and it’s actually A2 in size and is kept at Denbighshire Archives. Showing date drawn and signed by W Goldring, Kew, May 1st, 1903.

Showing date drawn and signed by W Goldring, Kew, May 1st 1903.

Bryn Estyn Hall C1910

Rear of Hall showing the Loggia and Balconies.

West side of Hall showing the Rose Garden.

1904. Bryn Estyn Hall was built to a chosen design of Elizabethan/Tudor revival style that was in Edwardian build period, this is today considered to be of exceptional high quality. It was intentional for the exterior to be made to look older in appearance, but its internal features are very modern compared to the old hall it replaced, and most probably the last great hall built around Wrexham, its front facade standing some 200 ft. across and 100 ft. deep in parts with 31 rooms. (1911 census) Some of the very modern specifications for its time are company’s piped water supply, full central heating and electric lighting, electricity had only been available in Wrexham since around 1900. Features of the hall include 20 bedrooms and dressings, 3 Bathrooms, oak wall panelled Billiard room, 5 reception rooms, some with oak panelling and solid wood ceiling beams, and a fitted laundry. The design of the hall is as always for buildings of this size and for private residency unique and bespoke, in this case with the east side forward and the west side set back, both sides on two floors. The central area of the building is set over three floors with its own staircase and entrance, presumably used mostly by the house staff. The gable end bargeboards are plain as well as the chimney stacks on the east side forward part of the building, this probably is where the house staff resided. The west side of the building is far grander, this is where the family would have resided, the end gable bargeboards have solid intricately carved scrollwork, these are not seen and unique to any buildings around Wrexham area. The main entrance is on the west side as well as the grand solid oak staircase going up to the first floor family rooms, the chimney stacks, have one off ornate moulded bricks that would be from one of the many brickworks that once existed around Wrexham . The rear of the hall has two balconies, one at the back to enjoy the views of the garden and natural lake and woodland (this was removed in the 1950’s when a school) the other on the east side to enjoy the spectacular views over many miles of the Cheshire plains and beyond, also on the rear corner is a Loggia overlooking the garden.

Temple overlooking Rose Garden.

Terrace overlooking the Lake.

The detailed design of the grounds of the estate included a rose garden and a Temple, this was at the end of the rose garden facing the west side of the hall. Terrace, this runs the entire length of the rear garden of the Hall overlooking the woodland and natural Lake, at the east end is an Exedra seat to view the beauty of the gardens. From the west corner of the Terrace are steps going down to a path that encircles the Lake and a small bridge.

Rare photograph below showing steps going down to lake, c1910.

There is an avenue of yew trees, a path and steps from the hall that leads down to the walled kitchen gardens. Still there today, although path is covered with years of rotting leaves, you can also see the white Principals House in the distance.

When the present Hall was built on the estate there were two additional cottages built alongside an existing cottage from the old Hall for the gardener and services. The first cottage is believed to be built at the same time as the original hall 1786, the other two cottages were built at the same time as the present hall 1904. The cottage furthest away was for the head gardener Mr Harding and his family, he maintained the grounds and kitchen gardens of Bryn Estyn when the Soames family lived there. These cottages were used as accommodation for staff when a school, are now privately owned since 1984.

The opposite side of Bryn Estyn road, a large Hunting Stables capable of holding eleven horses and several cars and a Grooms House, these were built around an enclosed yard. The old stables were converted into classrooms and changing rooms when a school, and are privately owned since the early 1990’s and converted into 9 town houses, they are currently rented.

The design for the new grounds chosen, included two Tennis courts and croquet lawns (Mr Soames was an avid supporter of many sports of which he participated in when a younger man, mostly Cricket and Tennis) Fruit and Kitchen gardens, and a natural Ornamental lake set in its own wilder valley. It has been said, the design of the grounds in a skilful way gave the visitor the impression of greater extent, which is difficult to imagine in certain parts that Wrexham is less than two miles away, and they were noted for their beauty by all that visited.

1926. Mr F W Soames after a short period of ill health, died at his family home, Bryn Estyn Hall.

1928. Bryn Estyn Hall was put up for sale by Mrs Soames who was living in the hall on her own by now with only the company of her house staff, the price was considerably less at half what it cost to build. The sale included 18 acres it stood in and all the other buildings on the grounds, also in the sale were “The Home Farm” and its 68acres and 5+ acres of accommodation land. Bryn Estyn is described as having wonderful panoramic views as far as the Wrekin, a well-known hill near Telford, some 35+ miles away.

1928. Mr & Mrs W E Greenwood, a landowner and horse race owner/breeder bought all that was for sale. They lived in the Hall for some 10 years, keeping the gardens to the same manicured standard as when the Soames owned it. They decided to put the hall up for sale in July 1938, as war was looming, with its 18 acres of grounds, 68-acre Home farm, and 5 acres of accommodation land that eventually sold separately. 1940. August, With war raging in Europe, Mr & Mrs Greenwood desperate to sell accepted an offer from the Home Office to acquire Bryn Estyn Hall in its 18 acres for turning it into an approved School for Boys aged between 13-15 years of age, the only one in Wales at the time. Boys have been resident since Jan 1942, but the official opening was not until Sept 1943 and most boys initially were evacuees from the cities. After the war, the school mostly dealt with juvenile delinquent boys, but also with some boys unable to find foster parents, and others that suffered troubles at home. They were provided with educational and vocational training in woodwork, building, horticulture, painting and decorating to help them with skills for their future adult life. The grounds of Bryn Estyn were kept to an extremely high standard, especially the gardens.

The Hunting stables were converted into classrooms and changing rooms, they were used when visited by other schools for games of football, cricket, or boxing matches. During the years there were other facilities added around the grounds of the estate that the boys mostly built themselves, this helped in their educational and vocational training. These included cottages for accommodation of staff with garages, School sports field, Gymnasium, and Cadet Force training Headquarters (later called Cedar House) these were built between the mid 1940’s and early 1950’s. The boys could earn pocket money for privileges so each month the boys could visit Wrexham Town and periodically for when they could visit their homes if possible. 1955. After a fire inspection, the water supply to the school was deemed inadequate in case of a fire emergency. It was decided that an Open-Air swimming pool, of which the boys constructed, served a dual purpose for both recreational fun and emergency needs. The official opening of the open-air swimming pool took place in July 1957, its position was next to the gymnasium.

Bryn Estyn School held several fetes with all sorts of entertainment held in its beautiful grounds for various causes for people in the Wrexham area to have a day out and enjoy.

1960. The last big project was the building of the Principals House (Now used by Erlas Victorain walled gardens and due for demolition) for the Headmaster and Matron, Mr and Mrs Bennett and their family. The house took approx. 18 months to build, and the boys could earn up to 6s a week, the boys did everything from the foundations up, apart from laying the roof tiles, electrics, and plumbing. Mr Bennet in a newspaper article in Feb 1960 said, “This house should stand as a monument to the boy’s achievements as a professional builder with difficulty would find any faults with the quality of build”. Mr and Mrs Bennet were well respected and earned the school a good reputation, they were appointed from the start, and after 25 years running of the school, they retired in 1967. They were replaced by a new Headmaster and Matron whilst the boy’s home was still run by the Home Office.

At some point in the 1970’s Wrexham Rugby club acquired most of the land for their sport pitches off Home farm that had been part of the original Bryn Estyn estate.

1974. Bryn Estyn, Approved School for Boys, was passed over and became the sole responsibility of newly formed Clwyd County Council and was renamed Community Home with Education (CHE). From the early 1970’s certain cowardly perverted evil individuals infiltrated the childcare system in Bryn Estyn home, and caused untold pain and misery to many boys. Over time the realisation that Bryn Estyn home was part of a far larger investigation of some 40 homes spread across North Wales and was eventually known as “North Wales Child Abuse Scandal”. This horrific criminal abuse is a very well documented historical event and at the time the largest investigation of its type, this involved hundreds of cases of all types of abuse from the mid 1960’s to 1990’s in these homes. It is now known that 12 boys over time took their own lives after leaving these homes, 4 from Bryn Estyn Home. Sadly large numbers of abuse cases of children and many other cases of abuse in children’s homes over the last couple of decades have come to light, this involves tens of thousands of children throughout most areas of the UK, and still continues today!

1978. Clwyd House, this was a red brick building built by outside contractors on the front of the estate to accommodate approx. 20 extra children, Cedar house was demolished as it was no longer fit for purpose. At the back of the home a red brick built secure unit was added on for up to 8 children. This type of secure unit is usually associated with Borstals! There were questions asked even then on how this got planning permission from the council as we can only hope lessons have been learnt?

1984. Community Home with Education was closed, the reason given was financial, as only 24-26 children monthly stayed for the last couple of years, as it could take up to 70-80 children, so Bryn Estyn school doors closed and lay empty for several years.

1989. Clwyd County Council reopened Bryn Estyn Hall for educational use, with conference facilities and Wrexham council departments, with a new name “The Erlas Centre”. By now the grounds of the old Hall and walled gardens had been abandoned for some years, and slowly with no maintenance, deteriorating and returning to nature.

2003/4. Erlas Victorian Walled Gardens. The old walled gardens that by now are quite dilapidated were renovated through a group of people who together wanted to help people with disabilities that prevent them from mainstream opportunities. Through many benefactors and charities and hard work, the walled gardens have been transformed to their former glory.

The gardens are a beautiful, tranquil place with many new features that are open to the public for all to enjoy. The garden teams always hoped to expand further into the other parts of the estate sometime into the future if possible.

2013. Wrexham Council looking at financial cost cutting decided that the Erlas Centre should reduce in size, so started to shut parts of it down. Although it’s obvious that this has everything to do with the Local Development Plan (LDP) that has been discussed previously many years earlier!

2015. The last employees of Wrexham Council left Erlas Centre, after over 25 years being used by the council, its doors shut and left empty.

2016. Clwyd House, this building was gifted to Glyndwr University at some point and used for student accommodation, then sold at auction in November 2014 for approx. £200,000 with 0.5 acres of land. First Choice Housing Association and partners converted the building into accommodation for up to 12 veterans, to help them with convalescence and returning to civilian life. The cost of the project was £800,000, the facade on all external walls was changed using wood, render and glass, this now looks a totally different building to when it was first built in 1978, as seen in picture below. It is good to see that this building that witnessed so much terrible horrific abuse inside its walls is now being used for our ex service personnel in rehabilitation and helping them get back on their feet in our society.

2020. The formerly known Bryn Estyn Hall today stands empty and slowly deteriorating. The interior of the building is still in remarkably good condition as well as the roof, but the guttering is quite poor along with some woodwork and external rendering, as it most probably received little maintenance whilst under council control. We must remember that Wrexham Council would have paid nothing for the land or buildings on Bryn Estyn as they would have just been passed over from the Home Office. Mr and Mrs Greenwood would have been grateful for whatever money was offered for Bryn Estyn from the Home Office, as our brave young men and women were fighting to stop the Nazis advancing in Europe in 1940. This is one of the pages showing what rooms were available for hire out of the brochure for The Erlas Centre. Interesting on how some rooms are described, The Hall “original wood panels display the craftsmanship of years gone by”, Billiard Room, “unique room with original oak panels”. You also get a sense of how large these rooms are with them being able to hold 60 to 70 people comfortably. Somebody must have done their homework as one of the rooms is called Kyffin, this name is the original landowners name some 120 years previous before the Soames bought it.

Wrexham Council propose to demolish the beautiful old building with several others around the estate, date set Sept 2020 with an estimated cost in June 2015 of £300,000+ of taxpayers money. There is an Adult Social Care log cabin on the estate that will have to be relocated at an estimated cost in June 2015 of £110,000, today the combined costs potentially could be upwards of £500,000 for works to be completed. 2011. Estimated value of £800,000 was put on the hall alone with some land.

Over many years now Wrexham council has been discussing were the next expansion for housing areas could be through the Local Development Plan. LDP’s should plan positively for the development and infrastructure that communities need, especially when they are on an exceptionally large scale. There has been no mention of health or community facilities at all, but just a verbal mention of a junior school that possibly might be built in place of the old hall? Although the old hall was used as a school in the past, it was fit for purpose and appropriate for that time period and in the right setting that predominantly taught vocational skills and disciplines for boys to help them move onwards into adult life. The setting for building a modern 21st century junior school in this area is completely inappropriate, as not only is it on top of a hill, it would involve many mature trees to be felled. On the level fields at the back of the estate where there are many acres of open space would be a far better place with access being made easier with the new link road planned. As history has shown, it could be many years later before any school is built, just look what happened up in Brymbo with 460 houses over 10 years ago as an example, promised a school that has still not materialised.

Another rumour is that all the land will be given (gifted) to the developers to compensate for the costs of drainage systems needed for the 1600+ houses ( large village) proposed being built, but as we would all imagine houses will eventually be built on this land? The average price of houses in the Wrexham area at present is approx. £187,000, this means 1600 houses could achieve approx. £300,000,000 or more. I am sure the builders could spare a few quid for community and infrastructure projects that most definitely will be needed under the community infrastructure levy (CIL) and section 106 agreements.

Erlas Victorian walled Gardens are today thriving year on year, are on a lease bases from the council and their future is uncertain. Recently the council have had meetings again for more cost cutting, again most probably to do with the LDP in the local area. This lovely place that many people have strived to become successful, that provides so much joy for people from all walks of life is very much under threat!

Standing at the top looking left over the beautiful Erlas Victorian Walled gardens, and in the distance mature trees 100 to 200 years old? In their wilder valley.

Standing at the top looking right over the beautiful Erlas Victorian Walled gardens.

With this new proposed ward of around 2000 houses (Fairways estate included) to be built around Bryn Estyn, it would make sense to repurpose this area, as it is literally in the centre of this development. The cost of building a structure of this size (The Hall) would be well into the millions today, the building already has several fire escapes and disability access doorways and a well-equipped kitchen facility, so why demolish it? Researchers have now ascertained that Co2 emissions for new building developments today accounts to over 40% of the annual Co2 emissions of the whole UK. It is now being recognised that all options should be looked at for older, heritage buildings before demolition, especially large substantial buildings. It is not just only the waste factor but materials used to replace them that are damaging to our environment. These are genuine facts that all councils should look at before making ignorant decisions of Heritage buildings!! There are other large heritage buildings around Wrexham this applies to that have been put forward for demolition.

Research has found that an average acre of mature trees can absorb approx. 2.6 tonnes of Co2 per year, considering that the majority of Bryn Estyn is covered in trees, this could mean absorption of Co2 must be well over 30+ tonnes for this area alone per year. Co2 emissions that were created well over a century ago when the hall and other buildings were built would most probably have been absorbed by the current forest of trees on the estate many times over. As seen below, the proposed plan of 1600+ houses that will envelop Bryn Estyn estate over the coming years, this has taken over 200 years from its creation from Wrexham Towns expanding population to happen. What a perfect opportunity for this oasis of nature amongst a sea of houses, be a place of leisure and wellbeing for all to enjoy and be a hub for the community.

Bryn Estyn Hall estate, in the Township of Bieston, 1902 Tithe map, some distance from Wrexham Town. Population of town approx. 15,000.

The old hall could become a community hub and activity centre for families and young people, not just local residents, but from all over Wrexham to visit and enjoy, alongside Erlas Victorian walled gardens this could be a great community area working together. All sorts of indoor activities, pool, snooker (billiards), archery, air rifle, axe throwing, soft play, climbing frames, etc. Outdoor activities could include, play areas, crazy golf, zip wire, climbing walls, etc. There are many fine examples of mature trees, with some woodland management and renovation of the grounds and the Lake area, this 18+ acre area could become a great place for families and people of all ages to relax, have fun and enjoy wellbeing. There could be a café/restaurant, bar serving locally produced beer, outside seating, and table areas to take in the beautiful gardens and views for miles around. History of the estate and Soames family could be displayed, including their personal family story and loss from the Great War. Other people from around Wrexham who died in both horrific wars remembered in keeping their stories alive for future generations to see and commemorate. How people in Wrexham lived their daily lives through the many old photographs and newspaper articles that exist from that era, in conjunction with Wrexham museum including Wrexham football history. Techniquest Wrexham are currently moving into the town centre with aid upwards of a £3Million grant, this centre puts fun into science for children to get involved and enjoy. Wouldn’t it be good that these organisations could work together so people of all ages could enjoy and promote Wrexham as a place to visit?

Small business units, shops even much needed GP surgeries or dentists could use Bryn Estyn buildings, thus employing local people with the new road layout being planned and access to superfast broadband.

Bryn Estyn Hall is not listed, as mentioned before, it is a substantial building so has the great advantage that its facade could be changed to any colour scheme, as well as its physical appearance. (Clwyd House as an example) The building can still retain some of its grandeur, this remodelling has happened to many buildings around the UK that have been repurposed to bring them into the 21st century use, as well as keeping its original history alive to Wrexham Towns historical heritage.

This area is where the proposed link road will go through from the golf roundabout (A534) to Cefn road. The white door is the bottom of the Erlas Victorian Walled gardens.

Below are the remains of the steps going down to the lake side, still there after decades of neglect and no maintenance.

Remains of the Temple under bushes, there seems to be enough pieces left for it to be restored to complement any garden area.

These beautiful grand trees, Beach, Oak, and cedar, all around the wilder valley, well over 100+ years old, if not there when the first hall was built?

As seen on the pictures above, large reeds 6ft+ have grown uncontrolled around the lake and would need to be removed for obvious safety reasons, with several thousand people moving in around the area in the coming years.

A sea of beautiful daffodils and snow drops sweeping down the side of the valley to the lake side, this is the only good thing that has come out of the consequence of lack of grounds maintenance.

Sycamore trees are known to be invasive and grow quite quickly, they take control of areas of forests easily, Bryn Estyn estate is no exemption as it has had no proper grounds maintenance for decades. If some are removed, it could create areas of more open spaces for people to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Retaining dressed stone walls, still doing their job over 140 years later, going from the top of Bryn Estyn down to Erlas lane. Gates have been fitted at the top and bottom as it is only a foot/cycle path since 2000. How times have changed when in the olden days this was one of the main routes to Wrexham town.

The natural Lake, here long before the first hall was built, originally had a stone path around it. The Soames family and their guests, including charitable societies and Wrexham AFC on their yearly celebrations, could walk more easily around and enjoy the beautiful plants and wildlife in abundance. The path has long gone, but there is still an abundance of wildlife. There was a small bridge to walk over, this was replaced a long time ago with another, although little remains of it.

The front of Bryn Estyn estate with the hall in the background, it is proposed when the hall is demolished this area could be used for a new primary school. I do not think anyone would be against the idea of a new school, but this area is not the right place. The question is what will happen to all these mature established trees that were planted here when the hall was first built? Yew, Oak, Beach, Lime, and fir? Please note, 4 mature beach and 1 fir tree were cut down from the front of Clwyd house when it was renovated in 2016. TPO’s have been put on most mature trees around the estate, but these can be removed if deemed necessary! How it works is basically any mature tree that is felled no matter what age or size, if given permission, it must be replaced with an equivalent type of tree planted elsewhere. The downside to this is that it takes 2-3 decades before the tree matures enough for it to absorb similar amounts of Co2 than the tree it replaced.

Gymnasium built mostly by the boys for their vocational education, late 1940’s, in preparing them with skills for future adult life, and obviously used for PE classes. It is a large building and there are windows in it, they have just been boarded up, but could be used for indoor fun activities such as archery, air riffle shooting, and axe throwing? Some of the floor areas of the rooms in the hall itself are nearly as big as this building.

Secure units, 8 in total. This was a separately run unit from the main school building with its own staff. This building takes up to half the original rear garden area and filled in the Loggia space as well. To get around this monstrosity of a building, people must walk along the Terrace so as a consequence the centre piece of the Exedra seat was removed.

The Terrace, it is still there today, the original dressed stone is just under many years of fallen leaves.

This picture below was taken of the terrace when Erlas Centre was open, most probably used by some of the council staff and clients when they wanted a cigarette! There were railings along the full length of the terrace originally, can only presume they were removed at some point when a school. Originally this was an open view down to the natural lake.

Derelict cottages used to accommodate staff for the school and not used since being a school, mostly built by the boys, due for demolition.

Swimming pool filled in for Erlas centre car park and the metal container in the distance is standing on the remains of the foundations of the Cadet Force Training Headquarters (Cedar House).

A large Holm Oak tree and the only one on the estate, an evergreen tree from the Eastern Mediterranean region and introduced in the 1500’s to our shores. Not that common up North as they enjoy warmer climates so grow more in coastal regions in the South. The oak is next to the Principals House and roughly in the area that the original hall stood, so most probably planted when the previous hall was demolished.

Sports field, looking over the Cheshire plains, the peak to the far left is Helsby Hill well over 20 miles away. This field is an additional area added to Bryn Estyn estate when it became a school, this takes the acreage to over 20 acres in total. This field is still a part of the estate today as a local farmer rents it from Wrexham council. This view is a lot lower than the hall, the balcony on the east side of the hall has a far superior outlook.

View from the golf roundabout (A534) where the proposed new link road will start and goes through Bryn Estyn estate, over the next several years this area will be full of houses and Bryn Estyn only a 10-minute walk from the roundabout. There is already a new petrol station and convenience store just been built next to the roundabout ready for its new customers!

View from Cefn Road where the new link road is proposed for the next future developments of housing that will be built. Bryn Estyn estate is only a 15-minute walk away.

Cross Lanes Country Hotel, Marchwiel, Wrexham 2016, Robinwood group converted the old hotel into an activity centre for key stage 2 children 7-11 yrs. This centre provides 15 different fun activities for junior school children from outside the Wrexham area to have midweek 3-day breaks, to help in confidence building and most of all having fun and making new friends. It is not open to the public as it’s a secure area with its own dedicated professional staff for the children’s safety.

Proposed plan of 600 houses of the first stage of the LDP of 1600+ total planned in the coming years. Communities, Borras, Acton, Whitegate, Cartrefle, Queensway, Wynnstay, Rhosnesni, Maesydre, Smithfield and Holt, have easier access especially walking via new link road proposed through Bryn Estyn estate from golf roundabout to cefn road.

Plas-yn-Fron farm, as seen today, with the most spectacular views across Wrexham and Welsh countryside. Various members of the Soames family lived at this farm for over several decades from when they first moved to the Wrexham area in the early 1880’s.

Llwyn Onn Hall, Soames family lived here for several years from the late 1880’s

Plas Power Hall, Mr and Mrs Soames family lived here in the late 1890’s, unfortunately the hall was severely damaged in a fire in 1951 so had to be demolished. Plas Power was the largest estate to exist around Wrexham, today only a small area is left.

Gladwyn House, Gresford. This is where Mrs Soames lived when Bryn Estyn was sold and was her residence until she died in 1940. Today it is hardly recognisable as a huge extension was built on the house, as it is now a residential home and the gardens have sadly gone as well.

Looking from above in the earlier days of Erlas Victorian walled gardens, progressing well and the majority of Bryn Estyn estate covered in trees.

Bryn Estyn with its wilder valley next to it, an oasis of wildlife.

Source: Researched by Nigel Whitby.

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