The People of Wynnstay Place, King Street, Wrexham

Wynnstay Place is the first really old building you see when coming in to Wrexham, it stands on the corner of King Street and Regent Street. It is named on an 1833 map of Wrexham. 

According to A N Palmer, King Street was laid out in 1828 and  it was the first residential street formally built in Wrexham.  The seven houses closest to Rhosddu Road were called Gwersyllt Place and were owned by Richard Kirk Esq of Gwersyllt Hill. Another three houses were named Wellington Place, and belonged to Edward Jones. Just next to these was the Roman Catholic Chapel, and finally two houses belonging to Captain Watson which were called Wynnstay Place. Of these the first had Captain Morris as the tenant, and the second which was on the corner of King Street and Regent Street was occupied by Miss Kendall.  They were built as houses and had railed gardens to the front. 

Looking towards 1 King Street
Gwersyllt Place, King Street

In Pigot & Co.’s Directory 1828-29 there is no mention of King Street, but among the names listed are two in New Street. “Nobility, Gentry and Clergy” – Captain Thomas Watson, and “Academies and Schools” Miss Kendall has a Boarding and Day School.  

THOMAS CRESWICK WATSON  

The first owner of Wynnsay Place was  Thomas Creswick Watson who  was born in Yorkshire,  his wife was Rebecca,  their son George Cobram Watson was born in 1795. Thomas joined the 3rd Light Dragoons and was promoted to captain in 1811. He later became a Captain and Adjutant in the Denbighshire Yeomanry Cavalry. Thomas Creswick died in London in April 1831. 

His will was written in October 1829 .  It states he was of Sheffield, Wrexham and lately of Marylebone.  In late 1830 and early 1831 Wynnstay Place was advertised for rent in the Chester Chronicle. It was described as – In a very airy and healthy situation, adjoining the town are excellent well furnished apartments to let, consisting of drawing room, parlour and bedrooms, with kitchen, coach house and a two stalled stable if required. Any respectable family or person may be accommodated with the whole, or part, on moderate terms. There are no details of who to apply to, and we don`t know where Thomas Creswick Watson was at that time.  

Thomas Creswick Watson was buried in St Marylebone, Westminster on 27 April 1831.  He was living in Old Cavendish Street and was 59 years old. When he died his property Wynnstay Place was valued at £3,200 and he had nearly £4,000 invested in government bonds. This brought in enough income in rents and interest for Rebecca to live on.  

Where Rebecca was after that isn`t sure, but she was a visitor at Poplar Cottage, Madeira Hill, Wrexham in 1851.  Rebecca was 83 and a proprietor of houses, she was born Sheffield,  her granddaughter Mary Cecilia was also there. 

Eliza (Elizabeth)  Graham was the head of the house; she was aged 75 a widow who was an annuitant born in Lancashire. It`s interesting that Mrs Graham, Poplar House was also listed in the Nobility, Gentry and Clergy in Pigot`s 1828 /29.   

 Elizabeth died in Wrexham in 1852, in her will there is no mention of any Watsons so was she connected, or perhaps they were just friends.    

Mary Cecilia Watson died in Wrexham and was buried on 16 April  1852.  Her address was given as Wrexham Abbot, so we don`t really know where she was at the time.  

Rebecca Watson died in Wrexham in April 1854. Her death was announced in the  Wrexham  Advertiser 15th April 1854 

On the 9th, at King-street, Wrexham, Rebecca Watson, aged 89 years, widow of Thomas. Creswick Watson, Captain and Adjutant in the Denbighshire Yeomanry Cavalry. 

In her will she bequeaths all her real and personal estate between her three Grandaughters Eliza, Clara and Ellen Watson the children of her son George, there are no details of what she owned.  Mary Cecilia and Rebecca are probably buried in the old Ruthin Road Cemetery.  

Her son George Cobram Watson was born in Birmingham in 1795. He became a Lieutenant  in  H.M.3rd Light Dragoons .  

George retired from the Army on half pay, and he and his family emigrated to Australia  in  1839. He died  on  4 July  1866 at “ Wynnstay” Lexton, Victoria, Australia. It`s interesting that he named his home after Wynnstay in Wrexham.   

His obituary was published in The Ballarat Star.  

Lexton and its immediate neighborhood has sustained within the past week no ordinary loss in the lamented death of Mr George Watson, J.P., who expired at his residence, Wynnstay, after a short illness, on Wednesday, 4th July. This gentleman entered the army, from Sandhurst Collage, at 17 years of age, receiving his commission in the 3rd Light Dragoons (King’s Own). He was ordered for active service in the Peninsula, fighting as lieutenant in the same troop and by the side of his father, Captain Thomas Creswick Watson, at the battle of Toulouse. Mr Watson came to these colonies twenty-seven years since, and for the past thirteen years has dwelt near Lexton, where his bearing as a gentleman and magistrate, has won for him the esteem and affection of the residents. He was a member of the Council of Lextonshire from the date of its formation (1860), and seldom absented himself from its meetings

In 1855 just 1 year after Rebecca died, the whole of  Wynnstay Place was  put up for sale. There is no clue as to who was selling it, but a firm of Solicitors in Westminster were involved  which was where Thomas Creswell was buried. Perhaps her other  granddaughters Eliza, Clara and Ellen Watson were selling the building.  

 From the description it`s easy to work out which was the school.  

IMPORTANT SALE OF TWO VALUABLE FREEHOLD HOUSES, In Wynnstay Place, King-street, Wrexham. MR. R. W, JOHNSON has been instructed to SELL by AUCTION, on MONDAY, the 9th April, 1855, at o’clock in the afternoon, at the Wynnstay  Arms, Wrexham, subject to conditions to be then produced, and in such lots as may be decided on at the time of sale, all those two well-built MESSUAGES or Dwelling-houses, situate in Wynnstay Place, King- street, Wrexham, respectively in the holdings of Miss Sadler and Mr. Painter, as yearly tenants. The larger house is situate in King-street, at the corner of the Mold Turnpike Road, leading from Wrexham to the Railway, and commanding a view of the neighbouring chain of mountains, and has been occupied by Miss Sadler as a school for the last twenty years, and comprises dining, drawing, breakfast, school, and housekeeper’s rooms, nine bed-rooms, kitchen, pantries, Water closet, &c. The smaller residence adjoins the last-mentioned lot, and fronts King-street, has been in the occupation of Mr. Painter for about six years, and comprises dining, drawing, and six bedrooms, kitchen, butler’s pantry, water closet, &c. 

To each house are also attached capital cellars, commodious paved yard, coach-house, two-stalled stables, cow-house, &c. The above are substantially and well built of good solid brick, within the last twenty-five years, regardless of cost, have never been vacant, and are justly considered two of the most convenient dwellings in the town and as such are strongly recommended  by the  Auctioneer as worthy of inspection. Further particulars may be had from Messrs. Lethbridge and Mackrell, Solicitors, Abingdon-street, Westminster; Mr. Hughes, Solicitor, Wrexham; and from the Auctioneer. Wrexham.  

Over the years many people lived in the smaller part of Wynnstay Place, but the larger part continued as a ladies school for many years.  

WYNNSTAY PLACE LADIES SCHOOL. 

Miss Sadler is said to have been there 20 years, so that takes her back to about 1835. Prior to that in Pigot & Co.’s Directory 1828-29 “Academies and Schools” Miss Kendall has a Boarding and Day School in New Street..  A Rev John Kendall was the master of the Grammar School on Chester Street, he was Mary Kendall`s brother.   

MARY KENDALL 

In 1808 a Miss Kendall and Miss Riley opened their Ladies School in Tarporley and in 1819 Miss Kendall (late of Tarporley)  placed a notice  in the Chester Chronicle to inform her friends that she has taken a commodious house in Holt Street Wrexham to  continue her school. Sometime after then she moved to King Street, and on 19 July 1834 she married James Hasler.  James`s wife Lucy had died the same year, she was buried on 10 March 1834 in Wrexham, her abode was Stansty.  James Hasler had been a sea captain and the part owner of several Slave Ships which he sailed out of Liverpool. He was in Wrexham for some time and in 1828 there was a sale of property, Bryn Y Llyn, which was in the holding of James Hasler Esq. This was in the part of Wrexham called Stansty.  

It was previously known as “The Crispin” and was sold in 1820 to Thomas Durack of Wrexham, who changed its name to Bryn y Llyn. In 1828, Bryn y Llyn was put up for sale as a freehold estate which was bought by a number of different owners. The land was split into separate plots because of the North Wales Mineral Railway  which was laid in the 1830’s 

After their marriage Mr J Hasler  is listed in Pigots Directory 1835, he is in King St (nobility, gentry and clergy) By 1837 they had left Wrexham and moved to Tattenhall where James died in 1841.  

Mary died in May 1851 , an obituary was published in the newspapers.   

She had written a will .  

This is the last will and testament of me, Mary Hasler of Tattenhall in the County of Chester, widow … this sixteenth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty nine.  

I give and bequeath my best suit, two bonnets one winter and one summer, one winter cloak and one winter shawl to Sarah, widow of my Brother the late Reverend John Kendall of Wrexham. I give and bequeath to Ellen Nuttall of Liverpool a silver Teapot with the name ‘Ellen Nuttall’ engraved thereon. I bequeath to Sarah (her sister)  … now ‘Barnard’ of Cincinnati State, Ohio, provided she claims them herself in person but not otherwise, a bookcase made by my youngest brother, a picture of a pious family and a mourning ring containing the hair of myself, husband and eldest brother. 

Mary was buried in St Albans Church, Tattenhall with James Hasler. 

ELIZABETH  ( ELIZA) HARRIET SADLER. 

From the sale of Wynnstay Place in 1855, we know Eliza had been there from about 1835.  

By 1841 there were 23 houses on King Street.  Eliza Sadler aged 25 was a school mistress.  

She was listed in various directories from  1844  to 1868 as  Eliza Harriet Sadler, boarding and day school for ladies at Wynnstay Place. The school took about 12 pupils.  

 The 1861 census confirms that number I King Street was Wynnstay Place and that she had been born in Wrexham.   

Eliza  Sadler died in July 1871 at her home.  Her death was announced in the Wrexham Advertiser.  

SADLER-On the 14th inst, at King-street, Wrexham, Eliza Harriet Sadler, aged 57 years. Friends will please accept this intimation.  

She was quite well of and left effects of under £3000.  

HARRIET  MARGARET EYTON.  

Soon after Eliza Sadler’s  death the school was taken over by Harriet Margaret Eyton, and on 5th August 1871 a  notice was printed  in the newspapers.  

MISS HARRIET EYTON respectfully solicits the patronage of the ladies and friends of the late lamented Miss Sadler, and begs to announce that she will (D.V.) Re-Open School on the 31st inst. (the half quarter), on the same principle and terms as before.—Wynnstay Place, Wrexham, August 4, 1871. 

Harriet Margaret had been baptised in April 1835 in Overton , her father was John Ap Ellis Eyton  who was a surgeon, her mother was Letitia .  Harriet been a teacher at the Wynnstay Place school when  Eliza Sadler was there.   By 1881 she had left the school and was living with her mother Letitia in Chester Street, she eventually moved to Gloucestershire where she died a spinster  aged 81, she was buried on 16 December 1916 in Cheltenham.   She left effects of £2546 2s 

MRS ANNIE SIMMS. 

The next occupant was listed in the Wales register and guide 1878, Mrs Simms, Wynnstay House, I King Street, Young  Ladies Boarding and Day School.   

Anne Shore had been born in Liverpool about 1831, her father was William Shore, a joiner from Overton,  her mother Margaret was from Liverpool. By 1851 William had retired and  was living in Rhosddu with his family.  

Annie`s husband Edward Bishop Simms was a Professor of Music from Birmingham.  Edward was already in Wrexham  when in 1854 this advert was published. His brother had been the organist at St Giles  and after his death Edward Bishop replaced him.  

MR. SIMMS, Organist Of Wrexham Church, And Professor of Music at the College, Chester, BEGS to acquaint his pupils and the public generally that he will resume his professional duties  on Tuesday, the 1st of August. Communications may be addressed to him at his residence, 7, King Street, Wrexham. 

Annie and Edward married in January 1861, it was a double wedding as her sister Jane  married at the same time. Their father was the late William Shore of Rhosddu Cottage.   

William and Annie at least 3 children, Edward Henry, Annie Laura and William Leonard who died aged 8 .  

They were living in Rhosddu in 1871, but as we know had moved to King Street by 1878 and still there in 1887. They left Wynnstay House / Place and moved to Chester Street where Annie died in October 1890. 

THE LATE MRS SIMMS  

We regret to record the death of Mrs Simms, wife of Mr E. B. Simms, organist of the Parish church, who died on Friday, October 3rd, at the age of 60. It is well-known that the deceased lady devoted many years to scholastic work, and her pupils passed successfully the Oxford and Cambridge local and College of Preceptors examinations. The funeral took place at the Borough Cemetery, on Tuesday. The service in the chapel was read by the Rev. Griffith Williams, of Wrexham, and the service at the grave by the Rev. G. H. Simms, vicar of St. Cyprian’s, Birmingham. 

Edward died in 1913, they are buried together in Wrexham Cemetery. 

JULIA ANNIE PIERCE  

1891  WYNNSTAY HOUSE COLLEGIATE SCHOOL, KING STREET. WREXHAM. 

PRINCIPAL – MISS PIERCE, Trained, holding 1st Class Government. Dioceaan, and other Certificates assisted by Professors And Resident Foreign Governesses. Next Term wi!I commence January 20th, 1891.  

Who was Miss Pierce?  In the 1891 census at 1 King Street was William Pierce, a cabinet maker, wife Mary and their 4 daughters who all had been born in Wrexham.  

Annie 34 was a school governess and her younger sisters Margaret,  Elsie and Ella were  teachers. Caroline Graf was a teacher of French and had been born in Switzerland. There were 4 pupil boarders, a cook and a servant. Annie`s full name was Julia Annie and at the age of 24 she was already a certified schoolmistress.  William and Mary’s eldest son was James Hopley Pierce, who became a well known solicitor in the town.  

In 1895 the name of the school had changed. 

The Wrexham High School For Girls. 1, King Street, Wrexham, Principal— Miss Pierce. Next term commences January 23rd  

By 1901 William Pierce and his family, including his 3 daughters had moved to Percy Road, they were still teachers but (Julia) Annie isn’t there. William died in 1905 and is buried in  Wrexham Cemetery with Mary who died the following year.  Julia Annie was still a schoolteacher in 1911 when she was in Gerald Street with her sister Margaret who was a boarding house keeper. They haven’t been traced after then.  

On 19 April 1896 this notice was printed in the Rhyl Record newspaper.  

WREXHAM. — Town Council.—On Wednesday at a meeting of the General purposes Committee of the Wrexham Town Council, several important plans were submitted.  Plans were also passed for the erection of a new temperance hotel in Regent Street to be called the Westminster Hotel. In 1901 there was no Westminster Hotel and 1 King Street was unoccupied. 

THOMAS RICHARD VOYCE.  

In 1901 Thomas Richard Voyce was living in Ruabon Road, he was a commercial traveler in the printing  paper trade. He was there with his wife Florence and 4 children. Thomas Leslie, Marion, Arthur  and Edith. Thomas was from Gloucester, his wife and children had all been born in Leicester.  

They  moved to the Westminster Hotel  and on   5th August 1903 the “Yr Wythnos a’r Eryr” published a list of visitors. Mr Thomas R Voyce , Westminster Hotel,  Wrexham was staying at the Goat Hotel in Bala.  

In 1911 Voyce family were still  at the Westminster Hotel,  I King Street. It had 17 rooms.  Thomas Richard was still a paper merchant, Florence was the  hotel keeper. Thomas Leslie was a pupil to motor engineering. There was a commercial waitress and a chambermaid. Because of the size of the place it`s pretty sure it was previously the Wynnstay Place school and that a new Hotel hadn`t been built after all.       

 On 25th August 1916 the Llangollen Advertiser printed the results of the Tribunals which were held to decide whether man could be exempted from going to war, and  it can be seen that  at least one of the Voyce family was still in the same place.  

“Thomas Leslie Voyce  married- November 6th last,  1, King Street, Wrexham, foreman motor  mechanic employed  by the Triplex Motor Company, and  the last mechanic left represented by Mr. J. H. Bate”  Thomas had married Margaret Fendick.  

Florence was running a temperance  Westminster Hotel in Grosvenor Road, while the King Street property  of the same name continued as a private hotel  with Thomas R Voyce as the owner. About 1921 it was sold and Thomas carried on in business in Grosvenor Road.   Florence died there in 1922 and Thomas Richard Voyce died in 1947 at the same address, both are buried in Wrexham Cemetery.  

The King Street property was eventually bought by the Education Authority and used as a student hostel.  Part of it was used by local authorities.  

It was later used by various companies as their office, and even some small businesses were situated there.  

Some alterations were made when bay windows were added to the Regent Street frontage, and a corner entrance has been made. Apart from that it`s a very good example of a Georgian House.  

Researched by Annette Edwards. October 2019. 

Many thanks to John Townson  for the information on the Watson family.  

Also to Cari Pugh and Judy Roberts for their help with some research.