Wynn Hall, Penycae.
Wynn Hall is a 17th century house in the old hamlet of Bodylltyn standing at the junction of the Penycae Road and Plas Bennion Road. It was built by Captain William Wynn in about 1649 – the year of the beheading of Charles I. During the English Civil War Captain Wynne supported Oliver Cromwell and was a prisoner of war in Denbigh Castle in 1646. Wynn was one of the commissioners named in the 1650 Act for Propagating the Gospel in Wales. During the 17th and 18th centuries the family was connected with the development of the nonconformist cause in the Wrexham area.
He died in 1692 and was buried in the Dissenters’ Graveyard in Rhosddu, Wrexham. After his death, Wynn Hall went to his brother John Wynn, and later to his niece Sarah Hamilton. In 1722 Sarah, married the Rev. John Kenrick (1683–1745), minister of Chester Street Presbyterian Chapel, Wrexham which placed the house in the hands of the Kenrick family for over two centuries up to 1970 when the last of the Kendricks left Wynn Hall emigrating to Australia.
The Wynn Hall Colliery was opened by William Kenrick (1798–1865), the grandson of John Kenrick, and consisted of two pits, the ‘Foundry Pit’ and the ‘Rock Pit’. Both pits were “drowned out” in 1846, severely affecting coal production. The Kenricks also owned a spelter (zinc) works at nearby Copperas.
William’s brother Archibald Kenrick was grandfather of Harriet and Florence Kenrick (cousins), the first and second wives of the British politician Joseph Chamberlain, and therefore also ancestor of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Sir Austen Chamberlain. Florence Kenrick’s sister Louisa was the wife of Joseph Chamblerlain’s brother Arthur – they were grandparents of the author Elizabeth Longford and great grandparents of the Labour politician Harriet Harman.
Llewelyn Kenrick (1847–1933), the son of William Kenrick, was born at Wynn Hall. After attending Ruabon Grammar School he trained as a solicitor but always remained a keen football player. Kenrick was instrumental in forming the Football Association of Wales in 1876 at a meeting in the Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Ruabon. Kenrick captained the Welsh national side for their first game in 1876 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was later appointed coroner for East Denbighshire.
This connection between the Kenricks and Wynn Hall ended in 1970 when the remaining members of the family sold the estate and emigrated to Australia.
For a short period of time Wynn Hall had its own halt on the railway line which ran between Rhosllanerchrugog and the canal wharf at Pontcysyllte. Although this was primarily an industrial line, a rail motor service ran between Rhos and Wynn Hall Halt from 1905 to 1915; the line was torn up in the late 1950s and is now largely obliterated.
For many years Wynn Hall was available as a holiday let, which boasted the following accommodation: Six bedrooms: Master Suite with brass super kingsize four poster bed with door to adjoining room (can be dressing room or twin on request) & ensuite with 8 jet double jacuzzi bath, separate Pharo ‘all body shower’/steam room with CD/radio, Sanitan Ware basin, bidet & WC. Wynn Hall Room with oak super kingsize four poster bed. Mountain View Room with kingsize bed & ensuite shower/basin/WC. Cromwell Room with twin beds. Family room with 2 x adult bunks, sofa bed & ensuite shower/basin/WC. Bathroom with corner bath, separate ‘all body shower’ with radio, basin & WC. Ground floor basin/WC. Large fitted kitchen with beams, open fire, dining table (seats 14) & French doors to terrace. Laundry room with basin/WC. Dining room/main reception hall (seats 10) with inglenook, woodburner & oak beams. Reading & music room with electric massage chair. Coffee room with oak beams, impressive inglenook with open dog grate & stereo. Party room with dining bar for 6, microwave/oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, sink, 2 x “wine fridges” (red/white), tea/coffee making facilities & door to courtyard. Cinema lounge with 50″ plasma TV, surround sound & DVD. Living room (seats 8) with inglenook, woodburner & large TV.
It cost £2500 per week in 2008 but at Christmas & New Year an extra charge of £600 was added.
In 2011 the Leatherbarrow’s bought Wynn Hall and embarked on the huge task of restoring Wynn Hall to its former glory, they have achieved their ambition and have done a fantastic job.
As children in the 1960s, we would often have a trip from Pen-y-cae school to Wynn Hall and as a six year old we would walk through the entrance only to be confronted by a huge Buffalo or Bison’s head. This image had a lasting effect to all those that remember it.
Source: Graham Lloyd