Cross Keys, Hill Street, Penycae.

Cross Keys, Hill Street, Penycae

The village of Penycae during in its heyday had thirteen pubs, but only two of them remain open today. (2016)

Around 1830, the Public House was a very important place in the life of the people of Pen-y-cae. There, meetings were held – works committees – union meetings etc. The Welsh language was the medium of all these meetings, in fact very few people could read English.

There is a story about a great day in 1830 – the coronation of William IV. A procession had been arranged, but before the procession, tea parties were held in the various chapels and churches. But instead of tea, the beverage was beer a barrel in the pulpit and each Sunday school teacher to be responsible for his own class.

It is uncertain when the Cross Keys was built but it was demolished early 1960s.

One of the previous tenants was Ann Evans, who in 1895 was licensed to sell ales, beers and porter, etc for consumption on & off the premises.

Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt. The name was first recorded in the 18th century, and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters. Find out more about Porter here.

Ann Evans and an unknown boy standing in the entrance to the Cross Keys, Hill Street, Penycae.

Cross Keys, Hill Street, Penycae

Previous landlord also included Eddie Wadlow in the 1960’s.

The Cross Keys was demolished in the early 1960s as part of a road widening scheme and there is no evidence of it’s existence except for fond memories.

Standing at the back of the Cross Keys pub was the Post Office and the men’s Barber Shop.

The Barber’s shop was a small room where many children would have their hair cut on a Saturday morning every 4 – 6 weeks.


Unfortunately, the Barber had two styles available. One with the pudding bowl and one without. A pudding bowl, suitable to the size of your head was placed on it, and all the hair cut off that was not hidden by the bowl.

Many thanks to Gaynor Davies of Penycae for supplying the picture of the Cross Keys.


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