Gwersyllt Hill, Harrops Hall (Dracs Castle)

Gwersyllt Hill Hall, or Harrops Hall as it was known later by the local people, was a house of character and was situated on an elevated site above the village of Gwersyllt. It was built in dressed sandstone with moulded stone mullions and transom windows; above the window heads were moulded drip beads. The decorated gables projected above the slate roof. Part of the house was in two storeys, the other part was in three. The tower was four storeys and was capped with a bulbous dome. Later, after the hall came into the possession of a local architect, it was enlarged.

The hall was built for an industrialist by the name of Richard Kirk, who moved to the Wrexham area in 1775 from Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire; his wife was Ellen Venables. They had five sons by the marriage; the two eldest never married and died without issue. The other three sons were James Kyrke, who was born 1780, lived at Brymbo Hall and Glascoed Hall in Nant-y-Frith and died in 1858; and Richard Venables Kyrke, who was born in 1787 and died in 1868. The sons used a variation to the family name which was carried on by their descendants. The family were staunch members of the Chester Street Presbyterian Chapel. The Kirk family name crops up frequently in connection with other properties in the area.

Richard Kirk did not take up residence at Gwersyllt Hill until later on in his life; the property was let to various tenants. On his death in 1839, aged 91 years, the Gwersyllt Hill estate was bequeathed to his daughter Frances and her Husband Thomas Penson, a member of a local family of architects.

Thomas Penson and his family took up residence at Gwersyllt Hill in 1841 after he had carried out a remodelling scheme on the property, at the same time enlarging the size of the hall. At one time the house was covered in ivy creeper, but this was removed during the renovation. At one time the house was known locally as Harrops Hall, named after one of the tenants who held a lease on the property.

In the early 1950s the property was purchased by a syndicate who opened it up as a social club (Summerhill Social Club); this venture did not last very long. Sometime in the 1970s the property was taken over for a night club (Dracs Castle), but failed as a commercial enterprise. After the night club closed down, the property became dilapidated and the hall and the stable yard buildings were demolished in 1982.

Gwesyllt Hall by David Walker

Also see John Harrop and Harrop’s Hall

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