Ffrwd (Frood) Chapel

by Annette Edwards.

THE  FROOD CHAPEL

JOSIAH BOYDELL was born in 1764 in Gresford, he  came  from a very prominent family and he  became a land agent and surveyor, one of his tasks was  the “enclosure awards” which took place  from early in the 1800s,  and apart from  being  in the Frood , Minera and Hope district he was also later in parts of Merionethshire and Flintshire.

Enclosure was the method in which land was redistributed into units and  included the conversion of commons, wasteland and open fields to formally enclosed portions of land and the partition of large areas of communally farmed land into small fields farmed by individuals. Josiah, along with many others, would have taken advantage of this and taken some of this common land for himself.

For many years Josiah lived in Kilhendre, near Dudleston, Shropshire and in 1867 he died  aged 73 at Sodyllt which was very close by.  Both were very large houses and estates.

In his will he leaves his lands to his children including his daughter Mary Boydell .

It’s not sure where Mary lived  after her father’s death as the census for the area is missing  but in 1843 when the Gresford tithe maps were drawn up she was a landowner in Ffrwd. She is shown as the owner of the land between the Top Windy Hill Road, down Windy Hill and back along Bellan Lane to Ffos Y Go.  The occupier of all this land was Timothy Hughes. One of the plots was a cottage and garden which was on the road in the same spot where the Chapel was built.

MARY BOYDELL  was born in 1788 in Gresford,  she never married and in 1851 was living in St Martin’s, Shropshire , she came back to Gresford  and had a house built there named  Kilhendre  Cottage where she died in  1861, her body was taken back to Dudleston and she was buried there at St Mary`s Church.  

Later that year Kilhendre Cottage and all its contents were auctioned and it`s clear she was a woman of good taste.

KILHENDRE COTTAGE, containing entrance hall, dining and drawing rooms (17ft. by 12ft.), four bedrooms, water closet, kitchen, cellar, pantry, and servants’ room, with every suitable out-office, and a large piece of garden ground, lately occupied by Miss Boydell, deceased. The above is within seven minutes’ walk of the Church and the Railway Station. Mr. Johnson has been commissioned by the representatives to the late Miss Boydell, to sell by auction at Kilhendre Cottage, the whole of her excellent modern furniture, in mahogany, rosewood, and walnut; adapted to the dining, drawing, and bedroom, comprising card, Pembroke, dining, hall, and ornamental tables, lounge, devotional,  hall, and other chairs, Brussels carpets, chimney glasses, window curtains and cornices, sofas. couches, sideboard, pianoforte, ottomans, book eases, silver and plated goods, glass, linen, a choice library of book, elegant antique and modem china, cutlery  etc ., four-post, French, and other beds;, feather beds, blankets, counterpanes, chests-of- drawers , wardrobe, tables, glasses, and services, kitchen requisites,  etc .

THE FROOD CHAPEL was built in 1843, it held 135 people, at that time there were lots of new industries in the area, coal, iron etc and it was felt there was a need for a place of worship for the workers who came to the area.

A document exists naming the first trustees from 1842. They were Edward Dodd. Robert Parry. William Parry. John Evans. Timothy Hughes. Richard Evans. William Garret. John Jones. Edward Griffiths. Timothy Hughes was the occupier of all the land owned by Mary Boydell.    

Hugh Bourne, the founder of Primitive Methodism came to preach there in 1848.

A temperance meeting was held in the Frood Chapel in November 1855   but was “thinly attended” however several signatures to the temperance pledge were obtained. Mr. J. Prince, W. H. Darby, Esq., the Rev. W. Sapcoat, addressed the meeting.

In 1856 it was reported that the Chapel had been painted and thoroughly cleaned ready  for the anniversary sermons.  Mr. W. Bott, of Wrexham, preached in the morning to a very attentive congregation, and at the evening service Mr. Sapcoat addressed the congregation.  There were so many people that many were unable to gain admission. The collections were more than double those of last year in amount. Later that year a Miss Bennett preached there, and collections were made to boost the school funds. The congregations were overflowing, the youth and sex of the preacher was the source of much interest. The school was doing better than for some time and more than 50 children were being taught in it. The collections were the best ever obtained in Frood for school purposes, and it was hoped that this useful and much wanted institution would receive still further encouragement.

It was soon clear that the Chapel was becoming too small and various fundraising events were reported in the papers over the years.

In March 1861 the Adwy Choir, gave a concert at the New Schools in Brymbo to aid the funds toward building a new chapel at the Frood in connection with the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. The attendance was very large, with about 700 being present.

On 3rd July 1862 a Bible for the pulpit was presented, there were donations from   the members, teachers and scholars of the Sunday school. It amounted to a total of 6s 6d.

  John Evans 1s. 0½d. Thomas Jones 1s. 0d. Thomas Cotterill 1s 0d.    Robert Parry 6d.  William Evans 6d.  Mary Jones 6d. John Jones 4d. Dabore Jones 4d. Thomas Evans 3d. Mary Evans 3d. Ann Evans 3d.  Elizabeth Parry 2d.  Elizabeth Phoenix 1d. William Atkins 1d.  Margaret Parry 2d. Elizabeth Williams ½d.  

In September 1873 the Primitive Methodists had their school anniversary, when two impressive sermons were preached by Mr D. Turley, of Birmingham. The congregations were so large that the chapel was quite crowded. In the afternoon an excellent service was held by the teachers and scholars, conducted by the superintendent, Mr Thomas Cotterill. The collections for the day amounted to £3 6s 5d.  It was said “The Primitive Methodists are being favoured with considerable prosperity at Frood. They have recently cleared off the chapel debt (which was nearly £50), and they are now in contemplation of building a new chapel shortly; the old one being far too small when they have any special meetings, such as anniversary sermons, tea meetings or lectures”

The Temperance Cause was still  calling in and in June 1874 The Rev. A. Ives, of Wrexham, delivered a temperance lecture at the Frood Chapel on Wednesday, it was “ of an high-toned character, dilating especially upon the duties and privileges of Christians in doing good and benefitting by total abstinence from intoxicating drinks “ .  After the meeting twelve persons signed the pledge.

The Chapel anniversary was celebrated in April 1876 when Mr S. Jeffery, Wrexham, preached in the morning, and Mr George Fisher, Wrexham, in the afternoon, while both preached at night. The congregations were good throughout, especially the evening when the chapel was well filled, and the collections were in excess of the previous year.

A new trust deed was drawn up in 1877, and the trustees named were John Evans. William Pheonix. William Edwards. John Pomford. Harry Williams. David Davies. Thomas Cotterill. Thomas Evans. Edward Matthias. Henry Griffiths. Thomas Millington. Robert Edwards. William Evans. Edward Griffiths. Matthias Matthias. Joseph Evans. William Pomford. Levi Cotterill. Ebenezer Williams. William Atkins. George Edwards. Edward Roberts. Isaac Jackson. Edward Williams.

Thomas Millington was the architect for the new Chapel.

In June 1877 it was reported that the Primitive Methodists of Wrexham Circuit held their quarterly meeting in the Beast Market Chapel. All the places in the circuit were represented. The Rev. G. Stansfeld was appointed president, and Mr. S. Jeffery, secretary. The financial accounts’ showed an increase over last quarter, and the report of members showed an increase for the quarter of 25. Sanction was given for the erection of a new Primitive Methodist chapel at Frood, which was expected to be commenced at once.

Finally in September that same year it was reported in the newspapers that the New Chapel and School were ready to be built.

FROOD PRIMITIVE METHODIST NEW CHAPEL AND SCHOOL.

As the old chapel had become too small to accommodate the increasing congregation and school, the members and friends have decided to erect a more commodious building. From an advertisement in this day’s paper we see that Mr Osborne Morgan, M.P. has kindly consented to lay the cornerstone on Thursday next, and Mrs Cowlishaw, of Frood, a memorial stone.

The following week the event took place.

FROOD. LAYING THE CORNER STONES OF THE PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL.

13 September 1877

The ceremony of laying the corner stones of the Primitive Methodist New Chapel and School, at Frood, took place on Thursday, the stones being laid respectively by Mr G. Osborne Morgan, Q.C., M.P., and Mrs Cowlishaw , of Frood. Hitherto, the English Church and congregation worshipping in the district have held their services in a large room at Frood Inn,  kindly lent by Mr Cowlishaw, and the spiritual requirements of the district being so inadequately provided for, it was determined to erect a new chapel and school. The architect is Mr Millington, of Hope, the builder being Mr Stevens, Rhosddu, Wrexham. The size of the building, which is intended to accommodate 200 worshippers, is 40 feet by 30 feet and has a commodious school underneath for the accommodation of the children in the neighbourhood. The weather on Thursday was exceedingly unpropitious but there was, nevertheless, a goodly number of spectators assembled round the stones to witness the ceremony of laying,” which took place shortly after five p m. Mr Osborne Morgan, who laid the first stone, was presented by the Rev. Mr Wilkinson with a handsome silver trowel suitably inscribed Presented to G. Osborne Morgan. Esq., M.P.,on the occasion of laying the corner stone of the Primitive Methodist Chapel and Schools, Ffrwd, September 13, 1877.” a companion trowel, bearing a similar inscription  being presented to Mrs Cowlishaw who laid the  second stone. Owing to the inclemency of the weather, the assembled company had to adjourn, immediately after the ceremony, to the large room at the Frood Inn, at present used as a meeting-house.

It’s not known exactly when the work was completed, but generally accepted that it was in 1877.

(It`s quite odd that the date stone laid by G Osborne Morgan has his name spelt wrongly. It reads J.Osborn Morgan.  Did he notice, why wasn`t it corrected beforehand, and after 143 years it`s still not been changed.) 

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THE CHAPEL flourished and in December 1887 it was reported that “On Monday afternoon, at 3 30, a bachelors’ tea will be given in the school-room of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Frood, on which occasion the bachelors will preside  and “perform all those offices usually assigned to the fair and gentle sex.” At 6 30pm an entertainment will be held. Tickets for the tea and entertainment are 10d each”

In August 1891 special services were held when Mr David Davies, Pentre Broughton, preached two excellent sermons, in the morning and in the evening. In the afternoon Mr John Davies preached an admirable sermon from Isaiah. The services were well attended. The collections were devoted towards defraying the cost of heating the chapel.

Fundraising continued and in March 1892, a popular entertainment by friends and scholars was held in the school-room on Tuesday evening; the proceeds being devoted to the expenses of the cause. Mr Thomas Cotterill, the much respected superintendent, presided. Many people took part with songs, recitations and duets. A vote of thanks to the performers and chairman was heartily given.

New Trustees of the Chapel were appointed in March 1921

William Evans. Edward Pomford. Edward Matthias. Josiah Matthias. Edward Roberts .Joseph Albert Powell. Thomas Pugh. William Edward Pugh. Richard Griffiths. Jos. Hugh Evans. Margaret Cotterill. Thomas Henry Pugh. William Edward Williams. James Wynne. John Pugh. Robert Edwards. John Taylor. Arthur Edwards. Joel Williams. William Arthur Williams. Hannah Williams. John Edwards. Edward Taylor.

A  LEAFLET WAS PRINTED FOR THE JUBILEE CELEBRATION IN 1927 (Edited)

FROOD CHAPEL 1877 -1927 The Frood Chapel was built in 1877 at a cost of £550. Its estimated value prior to the present renovation and improvement is returned in our records as £700. This value is certainly enhanced greatly by our present scheme, and the premises as we now see them could not be replaced for less than a £1000.

The seating capacity of the church is nearly 200 and that of the school 160. The present building replaces the chapel erected in 1843, which building stood on the same site and had accommodation for 135 people. The membership then was 45. It is actually three more than that today!

It is interesting to compare the position then and now as indicated by the Circuit Stewards‘accounts. Frood with 45 members was the strongest Society in the circuit. Amongst the names we remember with special gratitude today, Mr. and Mrs. John Evans, Thomas Cotterill, William Evans, Thomas Pugh and Mrs. Williams of the Old Hall Farm stand out as bright examples of loyal endeavour and saintly life.

Their children and grandchildren worthily represent them in the Society of today. What of the present and the future? The Society today is mainly a young Society. Only a young Society would have dared to accept responsibility for the present outlay of £260 –nearly half the original cost -under the present extremely difficult conditions. But youth has its visions, and the Society today is actually completing work left unfinished in 1877. The work is undertaken as a labour of love and is a tribute of loyal appreciation of the debt we all owe to the past.

The Centenary celebrations were held in June 1943.

CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS   The centenary was celebrated in June 1943. It has been decided to raise a centenary Fund of £100 being £1 for each year of the Church`s history. The officials of the Church appeal for your support. Subscriptions will be gratefully received by Mr. Joel Williams, Old Hall Farm, Summerhill, Wrexham. Signed on behalf of the Church. J.A. Tingle. Minister. John Taylor. Soc. Steward. Joel Williams. Treasurer. Jos. A. Powell. Secretary.      

 In 1975 an organ was purchased and a brass plaque commemorates the event.

The Riha Organ Was Purchased As A Result Of A Donation By Mrs Hannah Matthias, White House, Cymau. It Was Dedicated December 1975 By Rev JD Buxton. M.A.

In September 1993 the chapel commemorated the 150th anniversary of there being a chapel on the site. The preacher at the anniversary service was Rev. William H. Anderson, stationed at that time at Melton Mowbray. Mrs Thelma Griffiths, President of Summerhill W.I. and a member at Ffrwd produced a pictorial record of the  Anniversary. 

THE PEOPLE

JOHN STEVENS

John Stevens was born in Manchester but had come to live in Wrexham, he was a master bricklayer.  Back in 1874 the builder John Stevens had built the new workhouse in Wrexham, Mr Ralph having, during the course of the erection, performed the duties of clerk of the works and architect with the greatest satisfaction to everyone concerned.  John Stevens died in 1888 aged 65 and was buried in Wrexham Cemetery.

THOMAS MILLINGTON

Thomas Millington was born in Hope about 1830. He was a joiner, but it was quite acceptable to describe him as an architect.  

In many buildings the “architecture” was carried out by the Master Craftsmen, masons and carpenters.  He married in 1854 to Mary Ann Wyatt who had been born in Devon. After her death he moved to Chorlton to live with his son and died there in 1901.

MRS COWLISHAW. FROOD INN.

It`s thought that part of the land enclosures  were bought  from Josiah Boydell about 1800  by a Samuel Davies and the Frood Inn was built.   This was later occupied by the Cowlishaw family and by 1854 it was also known as the Running Horses Inn. John Cowlishaw was from Parwich, Derbyshire, and his wife Maria was from Buckinghamshire. Their daughter Mary Ann had been born in Derbyshire and their elder son Henry had been baptised in Marylebone, London so they were definitely not a local family, but why they came to Frood is a bit of a mystery.

RUNNING HORSES INN.jpg

This notice published 26th August 1848 shows that the Inn was certainly a large place.

(Edited) At the FROOD INN on 1st of SEPTEMBER, 1848 there was an auction. All that well-frequented House called The Frood Inn, consisting of 2 large Kitchens, 2 Parlours, a Bar, and 2 excellent Vaulted Cellars on the ground floor, a large Club Room in front, and 6 good Bed -Rooms, and Attics, on the first and second floors, together with the excellent Outbuildings consisting of a Brew-house, Wash-house, Stabling for 12 Horses, a Loft, 2 Barns with Bays, Tieing for 20 Cows, 4 Cart Houses, a large Ball Room. Other outbuildings have been converted into Dwelling-houses, with Piggeries, 2 Gardens and a small Croft, and now in the several holdings of Mr. John Cowlishaw, Mr. Edward Watkin, and Mrs. Mary Fisher.

Maria died in 1855 aged 54 and John died late in 1856 aged 57, shortly after his death his possessions were put up for auction. This included all of his furniture, livestock, carts and farming implements.

On 20 December 1856 Henry Cowlishaw married Charlotte Pritchard at Gwersyllt Church. He was still living at the Frood Inn; Charlotte was the daughter Edward Pritchard, a farmer.  Charlotte died in 1866, she was 42.

Henry married again the following year to Mary Jones who was from Hawarden. They stayed at the Inn and had more children.  As there are no others of a suitable age in Frood then it must have been Mary Cowlishaw who was given the honour of laying the cornerstone.  Sadly Mary died the following year aged just 44. Henry remained as a publican and farmer until his death in 1895.

30th March 1895 ( Edited)

FFRWD. THE LATE MR HENRY COWLISHAW.—Mr Henry Cowlishaw, Running Horses Inn, died after six weeks illness on Thursday, March 22nd, at the age of seventy-five years.

Mr Cowlishaw, who had been twice married, was always willing to help in every good cause. He leaves a son and three daughters. The funeral took place on Monday amidst general manifestations of regret. The service at the house was conducted by the Rev. J. Dobell, vicar of Gwersyllt, and left in the following order:-Hearse-bearers, viz., Messrs. Edward Matthias, George Edwards, Frank Allen, and Wm. Powell; first coach, Mr Wm. Henry Cowlishaw (son), Misses Ada, Eleanor, and Elizabeth Cowlishaw (daughters), and the Rev. J Dobell; second coach, Mr Stevens, Wrexham (brother-in-law), Mr Thomas Cotterill (Ffrwd), and Mr Edward Edwards, Lodge; third coach, Mr Pritchard (brother-in-law), Bolton. Many other publicans and friends also attended. 

GEORGE OSBORNE MORGAN  MP.

      GEORGE OSBORNE MORGAN  MP.   George Osborne Morgan had been born in Gothenburg, and became an MP for Denbighshire He did a lot of good work for Wales especially in Welsh Education, and  it must have been an honour to have him at the ceremony.  Who knows, he possibly spent a night or two at the Frood Inn. He died in 1897 and is buried in Llantisilio, Llangollen.    

THOMAS COTTERILL

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Thomas Cotterill was one of the early church members and over the years he gave a great amount of his time to the Sunday School.  Thomas was born about 1837 in Staffordshire,

His father John was an iron puddler,  in 1856 he married Martha Parry in St. Mary’s-on-the-Hill, Chester. Martha was the daughter of William Parry who lived at Windy Hill.

The couple settled in Windy Hill and stayed there for the rest of their lives. The whole family became very much involved with the Chapel.

At first Thomas was a coal miner but later became the colliery foreman before retiring.

They had two known children, Levi who was a blacksmith at the colliery and Margaret who worked at home as a dressmaker.  Late in 1889 Levi married Theresa Selina Hawkins. They lived next door to Thomas and Martha in Windy Hill.  Levi and his wife had 4 children.

Thomas died in June 1906 and Martha died the next year in 1907,

Margaret who had still been living with her parents moved in with her brother. Levi died in 1916, he was only 57. Theresa Selina died aged 71 in 1941, Margaret died aged 87 on 12 July 1942 , and  was buried at Gwersyllt Church.

martha card cropped.jpg

THOMAS AND ANN EVANS.

  IN LOVING MEMORY OF ANN THE BELOVED WIFE OF THOMAS EVANS OF IVY COTTAGE FFOSYGO GWERSYLLT WHO DIED AUGUST 29TH 1902 AGED 58 YEARS ALSO THE ABOVE THOMAS EVANS WHO DIED JANUARY 10TH 1907 AGED 64 YEARS. “GONE TO REST”    

Thomas Evans was born in Llanarmon, his wife Ann was born in Gwersyllt. They had lived in the Windy Hill area since they married. He was an engine driver at the colliery but then worked as a pit man. Ann died in 1902 and was buried in Holy Trinity, Gwersyllt ,  Thomas  died in 1907 and was buried  with Ann.

MARTHA MEREDITH

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TO THE GLORY OF GOD, AND IN LOVING MEMORY

OF JOSEPH MEREDITH,

A MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH AND SUNDAY SCHOOL,

WHO AT THE CALL OF DUTY LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HUMANITY

IN FRANCE, ON JULY 31ST, 1917, IN HIS 31ST YEAR.

GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS.

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY MARTHA MEREDITH, IN REMEMBERANCE

OF HER BELOVED BROTHER.

    Joseph was a Private in the 1st Battalion. Welsh Guards and   had previously served with the R.W.F. He is buried at Artillery Wood Cemetery West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.   The siblings were the children of John Meredith and Maria Fisher who had lived in Windy Hill.   Martha married Llewellyn Jenkins a coalminer, and remained in the local area. She died in 1975 aged 83.    

WATKIN MANSLEY

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Outside at the back of the Chapel there is a memorial stone.

IN MEMORY OF MY DEAR HUSBAND WATKIN MANSLEY

FOR 45 YEARS OFFICIALLY CONNECTED WITH THIS CHURCH

DIED JUNE 8TH 1929.

Watkin Mansley born in Chester in 1864, but both his parents were from Ruabon. In 1885 he married Annie Taylor and remained in Chester all of his life.  Before he was 17 years old he became a stonemason, two of his sons were also monumental masons in Chester. The family were Primitive Methodists and Watkin preached at many chapels in the Wrexham and Chester district.  Watkin Mansley was buried in Overleigh Cemetery Chester in 1926, Annie lived until she was 82 and was buried in 1946 with her husband.

HANNAH MATTHIAS .

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The Riha Organ Was Purchased As A Result Of A Donation By Mrs Hannah Matthias

White House, Cymau. It Was Dedicated December 1975. By Rev JD Buxton. M.A.

Hannah was born in 1881; she was the daughter of Isaac Williams of Plas Maen Farm and Lydia Davies.  At the age of 19 she was an elementary schoolteacher for the County Schools.  She taught at Abermorddu School for many years before marrying Josiah Matthias. Josiah died at the White House Cymau in 1959. Hannah remained there for many years, she died in 1978 aged 97.

The industries in the Windy Hill area gradually ceased, the collieries, limekilns, brickworks and forges closed.  The elder generations died and the younger ones married and moved away. As with many other Chapels, the congregation had dwindled over the years and in April 2018 the final service was held, the last Minister to preach there was Richard Parkes.  The Chapel was closed and the building was put up for sale. The Windy Hill Chapel was bought in 2020 and is to be given a new lease of life.      

Researched by Annette Edwards. May 2020.

Many people have contributed to this story and I`d like to thank – Lynn Evans. Cari Pugh. Alison Dunlop. Keith Roberts USA,Maureen Crump,

“McGroger” and “jape flakes” for image editing.

Geoff Dickinson and David Martin Young of the Primitive Methodists. 

https://www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk/

Finally, many thanks to John and Jane Easton who are the new residents of the Frood Chapel.