John Harrop and Harrops Hall.

JOHN HARROP 1842 – 1901

The Harrop`s were a large family and many of them lived in the Broughton and Brymbo area.  

John Harrop was born in Brymbo about 1843 , he was the son of Samuel a farmer  and Elizabeth,  in 1861 they were living in Harrop`s House in the Harwd area of Brymbo. By the time he was 16 John was a colliery clerk.  In 1862 John married Mary Williams and moved to the Moss area, he eventually became the manager of the Westminster Colliery.  He was involved in many of the activities in the area and treated the workers quite well. The family later moved to King Street, Wrexham where John died at Elwy House aged 59 in 1901. He was buried in Wrexham Cemetery where a fine memorial was erected by the staff of the Westminster Colliery.

Mary moved to Colwyn Bay with some of her children and a few years later lost her youngest son.

North Wales Chronicle 10th November 1916

LANCE-CORPORAL C. P. HARROP, R.W.F, (KILLED). News has been received of the death in action of a member of a well-known North Wales family, Lance-Corporal Charles Percival Harrop, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, youngest son of the late Mr John Harrop, of the Westminster Collieries, Wrexham, and of Mrs Harrop, 22, King’s-road, Colwyn Bay. The late Lance-Corporal Harrop was educated at Grove Park School, Wrexham, and for some years was a member of the staff at the Westminster Collieries. He experienced a great deal of the fighting on the Somme. On October 27th, his company were among those ordered to advance to occupy a trench wrested from the Germans at Thiepval. Before the trench was reached the enemy directed their artillery upon them, and the late Mr Harrop was caught by shell fire, and instantly killed. The sadness of the news is increased by the fact that he was about to return in a few days to a Cadet School in England, he having been recommended by his Colonel for a commission.

Mary died in Colwyn Bay in 1928 aged 87, she was brought home to Wrexham and buried with John.  Over the years the couple had 13 children and one of these was John Arthur Harrop who was born in 1866.


The original name of the house was Gwersyllt Hill, and it was built for Richard Kirk who moved to the Wrexham area in 1775 from Derbyshire.  The last occupant before John Arthur Harrop moved in was John Sparrow.

28 March 1902

Mr James Sparrow, colliery proprietor and) iron merchant, died suddenly last week at his residence, Gwersyllt-hill, near Wrexham. The deceased, who was in his 78th year, was a justice of the peace, and for many years a member of the Denbighshire County Council.

In August 1902 Gwersyllt Hill was advertised as to be let.

DENBIGHSHIRE.—The handsome and commodious Country Mansion, known as “GWERSYLLT HILL,” TO LET, from end of July, situated two miles from Wrexham Station (G. W.R.), half-a-mile from Gwersyllt Station (W.M. and C.Q.R.), and twelve miles by road to Chester; three quarters of an hour by fast trains to Liverpool; for thirty years the residence of the late J. Sparrow, Esq. Is within easy reach of Sir Watkin’s, also the Cheshire, and Flint and Denbigh Hounds.

Gwesyllt Hall by David Walker


John Arthur was born in 1864 and after working as a clerk in the collieriesdid a bit of travelling before he settled down.

5 November 1887

PRESENTATION TO MR JOHN ARTHUR HARROP.— At the missionary meeting, at the Brake Chapel School-room, on Tuesday evening, a pleasing incident occurred being a presentation to Mr John Arthur Harrop, on his leaving for Rangoon, to superintend the drainage works recently undertaken by Messrs Isaac Shone and Ault. The presentation, which had been subscribed for by the officials, teachers, and scholars of the Sunday School, in which Mr Harrop had been a teacher for some years, took the form of a very handsome edition of the Revised Bible and a copy of the Wesleyan Hymn Book. The presentation was made by the Rev. Geo. Gibson, who gave some excellent advice to the recipient on his departure for his new sphere of labour, and heartily wished him “God speed.”

 Mr J. Arthur Harrop acknowledged the kindness they had shown him, and always hoped to win their favour as he had done in the past. Mr John Harrop expressed the pleasure he felt for the kindness they had evinced towards his son, and it was a matter of gratification to the family to know that his son had gained their esteem.

In 1893 John Arthur appeared in the Gazette.

 LOCAL COMMISSIONS. The London Gazette of Friday night contains the following WAR OFFICE, March 10. VOLUNTEER RIFLES.—1st V.B. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. John Arthur Harrop, gentleman, to be second-lieutenant dated 11th March inst.

In the summer of 1894 he married Charlotte Louisa Milne. Charlotte was born in Oldham in 1864 and was the daughter of Daniel Halstead Milne a cotton spinner and manufacturer .

Her sister moved to Wrexham after marrying James Hopley Pierce, a local solicitor.   Charlotte came to live with them and was there in 1891 before she married John Arthur.

On  3 November 1895  Charlotte  gave birth to their son  Norman Milne Harrop in the Moss.

Sadly she died on the 14 November just 11 days later .The funeral was held at Brynyfynnon  Chapel in Wrexham  and Charlotte was buried in Wrexham Cemetery. A full report was published in the Wrexham Advertiser and it`s clear that many people attended. John Arthur   stayed in the area and with the help of one of his sisters  brought his son up.

John Arthur Harrop was a patron of the Wrexham football club, and  was by now a collier manager

John Arthur married again in 1909 to Ellen Harper Brown.  Ellen was the daughter of George Brown a wine merchant in Stapeley, Cheshire.

John Arthur became involved with many of the local collieries and moved to Gwersyllt Hill, in 1906 it was announced in the Colwyn Bay Weekly news.

 Mr. Alderman J. A. Harrop, Gwersyllt Hill, Wrexham, has been appointed general secretary of the North Wales Permanent Relief Society, in place of the late Mr. George L. Campbell.

He was also a member of Denbighshire County Council and the representative of the North Wales Coal owners Association.

Their son Norman joined the 1st/4th Battalion R Welsh Fus. (Territorial Forces), Welsh Guards. He married and moved to Ruthin where he was a farmer and a special constable.

John Arthur died at Gwersyllt Hill in 1934; he was buried with his first wife Charlotte in Wrexham Cemetery. Ellen Harper remained on her own with only two servants at  Gwersyllt Hill as it was still officially known where she died in 1951.

After her death the Hall was bought by a group of local people and used as the Summerhill social club. It was very popular for many years and the venue for wedding parties, carnivals, summer fairs etc.  Sadly it has been demolished and new houses built in its place. The estate is unimaginatively named Chestnut Walks, with not a hint of it`s former history.

Researched by Annette Edwards. June 2021. Images Wrexham History.

Also see Gwersyllt Hill, Harrops Hall (Dracs Castle)

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