Emral Hall, Worthenbury

THE HISTORY OF EMRAL dates back to the times of the Romans, and can be claimed to be one of the most Historic Mansions in the area.

Llewelyn ap Gruffydd re-asserted his control on the area in the 13th century and restored Maelor Saesneg to Wales by incorporating it in the new county of Flintshire. The first Emral was erected about 1270 for Emma, daughter of Henry de Audley, widow of the Prince of Powys who had for her jointure Maelor Saesneg. By an inquisition of Edward I she was dispossessed of the property in 1277 and Roger Puleston the King’s trusted friend and servant was eventually granted Emral in 1282, and in the Puleston Family it remained until late in the next century when Robert Puleston who married a daughter of Griffith Fychan sister of Owen Glyndwr forfeited the estate for joining in his brother-in-laws rebellion against the English under Henry IV in the course of which the battle of Shrewsbury was fought. During the Wars of the Roses the Puleston Family were on the side of the Lancastrians and in the year 1471 John de Puleston was impeached for aiding Beaufort Duke of Somerset to escape after the battle of Barnett in 1471.

At the time of the Civil War there were many troops stationed at Emral and it was first occupied on behalf of King Charles and afterwards on behalf of Oliver Cromwell.

In the seventeenth century judge Puleston was another famous owner who brought the famous Phillip Henry to Worthenbury.
In 1726 Emral was re-built by one Thomas Puleston, and in 1775 The Chapel which stood in front of Emral was demolished by John Puleston, the next heir being Richard Puleston who was knighted by George III in 1813, he was a personal friend of the Prince Regent and was honoured with at least one Royal Visitor.

The name Emral Hall is thought to be a corruption of Emma’s Hall, and later Embers Hall.

The first Sir Roger de Puleston married the daughter of the Baron of Malpas and became Sheriff of Anglesey and Constable of Caernarfon Castle. The family consisted of squire, lady and four sons for whom a new Emral Hall was built in the 17th century. The first part of the hall to be built was the central part, which was surrounded by an ancient moat, the east side of which was Emral Brook. The two broad and deep wings were built later by Richard Tribshaw and Joseph Evans, in 1724-27 for Thomas Puleston.

In the next century after the Conquest, Robert Puleston joined the heroic Prince Owen-Glyndwr, whose sister he married. The Puleston’s were fighting in the Crusade and in the Wars of the Roses, on the side of the House of Lancaster. Roger Puleston was later elected M.P for Denbighshire in 1592 and he was knighted by King James I in 1617. During the Civil War the family supported the Parliamentary side against the King. Judge Puleston succeeded his cousin Sir Roger Puleston to the Emral Hall estate; in 1642, the Judge died and his son, Roger Puleston the younger, inherited the estate.

Emral Hall, from the forecourt looking east
Main entrance and forecourt at Emral Hall

He was knighted at the age of twenty but unfortunately died of a fever in 1697 and was buried, like his father, at Gresford. The estate was then inherited by a child of three named Thomas Puleston. During the Civil War period, Emral Hall was occupied in turn by Royalists and the Roundheads. Judge Puleston’s sympathies were with the Parliamentary side, which brought him into conflict with his neighbours, the Hanmers, who supported the Royalists. Sir Richard Puleston was born in 1765 and succeeded to Emral Hall estate on the death of his uncle John Puleston. He became High Sheriff of Flintshire in 1793 and was created a Baronet by King George III in 1813. In 1840 another Sir Richard Puleston inherited Emral Hall estate and he also became Sheriff of the County. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the 3rd Baronet Richard Price Puleston, who lived most of his time in London, where he died in 1893. His half-brother, the Rev. Sir T.H. Gresley Puleston, Rector of Worthenbury, was the last Puleston of Emral Hall. It had been in their family for 700 years and was noted as one of the great houses in Wales. Round about the 1860s, the est3ite was in financial difficulty, the family had left the area and were living in London. In 1895 Lady Puleston returned to the hall to carry out some restoration work after a fire at the property and by the time of her death the hall had been fully restored. The hall had two fires, one in 1895 and the other later in 1904.

Emral Hall, Banquet Room c1910

Mr & Mrs Peel Ethelston rented the hall for a time and afterwards it was rented by Mr J. W. Summers, who later purchased the property and kept it in good repair. His death signalled the end of Emral Hall. The house left vacant, it soon became dilapidated and was finally demolished in 1936. This was a sad loss to the area of such a fine example of 17th century architecture. The hall was built in brick with stone features. On the front elevation, the window heads were segmented brick arches with a stone keystone and at the rear of the house the windows had stone mullions and transom. In the old part of the house there were some fine barrel-vaulted ceilings, The Banqueting Hall measured 42 feet by 25 feet with the plasterwork depicting the labours of Hercules between the signs of the Zodiac.

The Deer Park gates.

The gates to the deer park.
Looking towards the stable yard of Emral Hall from the Deer Park

Emral Hall, gone forever.

The hall was purchased by Eddie Broad. He demolished the hall, two pictures of the rubble following the halls demolition, used with kind permission of Emral Gardens Touring Caravan Park.

Emral Hall 1939
Emral Hall 1939
The Town Hall at Portmeirion, Merionethshire contains the ballroom formerly at Emral Hall. The 2 large windows and the coats of arms on the outside are also from Emral Hall.

Source: Lost Houses In & Around Wrexham – Raymond Lowe p.31-33; Portmeirion Explored (1995) A visitors guide p.18-19; Wrexham History; Puleston Jones Family History; Emral Gardens Touring Caravan Park.

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