Joseph WRIGHT – Erddig Blacksmith

by Jill Burton.

On the 1861 census he was living at the blacksmiths shop, Smithy Lane, Pentrebychan, with his family – father Thomas Wright, blacksmith b1811, mother Ann nee Roberts b1820,

plus siblings John b1843, Mary b1846, Sarah b1848,

Elizabeth 1851, Thomas b1854, and Jane b1856.

On the 1871 census the family were at the same address but another chid had been born Emma b1863

By the 1881 census his mother Ann was living at the Smithy but his father Thomas had died. Older brother Thomas was the blacksmith with Joseph helping.

Philip Yorke’s poem of 1911 says Joseph had worked at Erddig for 25 years i.e. from 1886. But as is seen in other poems Philip’s information is notoriously inaccurate. At Erddig 1890 to 1895 it was Joseph’s older brother Thomas whose name appears on the wage sheets, being paid as a “smith.

By the 1891 census their mother Ann was living at the smithy and Joseph was the blacksmith with his nephew John as his apprentice.

But from the mid-1890s when Philip Yorke II returned to run Erddig after his father’s death, it was Joseph who worked at Erddig.

On the 1898 and 1899 wage sheets Joseph was being paid from 6 days work in each week at 5 shillings a day, i.e. £1.10 shillings a week.

By 1901 older brother Thomas was running the Pentrebychan smithy, living there with his wife and children, and Joseph had had to leave home living as a lodger at Esclusham Hall Farm. It could be that by then Joseph was using the Erddig smithy as his main workshop.

In 1902 (April–June quarter) Joseph married Maria Hogg, Erddig’s Head Housemaid, at St Giles Church, Wrexham.

Joseph was a self-employed blacksmith working at Erddig when required. For example in 1906 some weeks he was working 6 days a week, some 4, or less, being paid 5/- a day.

As well as shoeing the Erddig horses (he also repaired bikes, the Erddig hydraulic ram, and the water pipes. He made the fountains in the garden and restored the gates acquired from Stansty Hall (now at the end of the canal).

In 1911 Joseph and Maria were living at 13 Offa Street, Johnstown with their 2 children, Ethel Maria b1904 and Eveline Maggie b1908.

Joseph died in 1935 age 74 at home (13 Offa St) and was buried in Wrexham Cemetery on 19th November 1935 in grave B-06520 with his wife and daughters.


Servants Details

Christian Name(s): Joseph

Surname: Wright

Date of Birth: 1859

Job(s) at Erddig: Blacksmith (on own account i.e. self employed)

Start Date: c1896

Finish Date: post 1911

Reason for leaving?: Self employed

Researched by Jill Burton. January 2019. Gravestone photograph by Graham Lloyd.

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery B-06520

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