DESCRIPTION OF BANGOR PARISH 1699.
|From an Article by Local Historian
Derrick Pratt. First published by the Bangor-on-Dee Local History
|The period 1650 - 1750 was one in
which many regional studies were attempted by pioneer 'antiquarian'
geographers, topographers and naturalists. Not all these works
were published. Much of the ground work or research was done
by the circulation, as appropriate, of questionnaires or 'Queries',
printed sheets with sets of questions covering such topics as "air
(weather), water (drainage), earth and stones (geology/relief),
plants, animals (ecology), arts (sociology) and antiquities (history/archaeology)".
|One such was Edward Lhwyd's Parochial
Queries in Order to a Geographical Dictionary and Natural History
&o. of Wales. Some 4,000 copies appeared in 1696
as a necessary preliminary to his proposed grand opus A British
Dictionary, Historical and Geographical ..... and a Natural History
|Born in Loppington, Edward Lhwyd (Lhuyd),
botanist, geologist, antiquary and philologist, was the illegitimate
son of' Edward Lloyd of Llanforda, Oswestry, and was a pupil and
later a master at Oswestry Grammar School. When the Ashmolean Museum,
Oxford, opened in 1683, Lhwyd was engaged as an Assistant Keeper
and became Keeper in 1691.
|Three copies of his Queries
were sent to each parish. These were supplemented by four
years (1697-1701) of field work accompanied by trained helpers (unpaid
'under-keepers' at the Ashmolean) during which he visited every
county in Wales. Unfortunately, with Lhwyd's premature death
in 1709 his grand schemes came to naught. Both Jesus College
and the University refused to buy his MSS as a corpus. They
were sold and scattered and many lost to posterity, those in possession
of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn at Wynnstay in a great fire at the London
shop of his bookbinder. Fortunately two of the notebooks containing
replies to Lhwyd's Queries are now in the National Library of Wales
and were published in three parts 1909-11 as Parochialia being
a Summary of Answers to Parochial Queries &c….. by
the Cambrian Archaeological Association.
|Included are the returns of 24 Flintshire
(including Bangor and Hanmer) and 31 Denbighshire parishes (including
Marchwiel) that were described by or for Lhwyd. Since this work
is not easily available, local historians of Bangor might welcome
the reproduction in handier form of the pages relating to their
|[Page 45] BANGOR MONACHORUM.
vulgò Bangor is-y-Koed distant from \Wrexham 3 miles, from
Elsmere 5 or 6 small miles from Whitchurch 8. Within ye Hundr. of
Maelor seisnig, surrounded with ye Parishes of Erbistock, Rhiwabon,
Marchwial, Holt, Worthenbury, Hanmer and Overton Madok. The length
from a rivulet beyond crab- tree-green betw. it & Rhiwabon on
ye B. of Ritiwabon and Erbistok to ye white oven a house on the
bord: of Worthenbury four small miles. The Breadth from a little
beyond pont Pikilh (Pickilh's Bridge) on ye borders of Holt to Nant
y Lhadron or thereabouts on Erbistock 2 miles & a half. The
number of houses in ye village of Bangor is twenty six. Overton-Madok
is a parochial chap: to this, and so was Worthenbury, but ye Parlt.
have made that a distinct parish.
|Their feast is on Daniel's Tyde. A
good Rectory Mr. Rees Jones the incumbent.
|E Codice Gen. Dni. Rowlands de Lh:
San-nan penes D. Wyn de Mele. Upon a stone in ye said Chanc'ry of
Bangor Church is written: Hic jacet D'd ap Madock ap Ennion in old
Saxon characters round about an Escutcheon, charged with a Lion
Rampt. respecting ye sinister side of ye shield. And upon another
Gravestone on the S. side of ye Altar Chancel in Bangor Ch: is the
Is. [Inscription] following : Hic jacet Angharat filia Ierwerth,
and she was the wife of Madock ap Gruff: dhý fol: 50. of
|Ibid. Maer achæ goræ yn
iw gweled yn Vynych.
Wrth adrodh a hir edtych
Mae'r gwael yn deyryd ir gwych.
|[Page 46] The Villages.
||8 scattering houses.
||5 or 6 houses.
|[Page 46] The Townships.
||Bangor (in Fl: Shire).
||Pickilh all four in D. Shire.
||Of this Abby see Primate Usher de primordio
eccl'es. Br. The field where ye Abby stood is call'd Aniwich
|The Better Houses.
|| Tho: Whitley Esq.
|| Dongrey (Brit. Dwngre)
|| Roger Davies Gent
|| The Rectory
|| -all these in Bangor.
|| Eaton Hall
|| Kenr: Eaton Esq.
|| Booth Basnet Gent.
|| Mr Will. Edwards.
|| Reiton Hall
|| Sr. Gruff Jeffreys Heir.
|| Gerwyn Vawr
|| Mr. Edward Wyn.
|| Mr John Edwards.
|| Pickilh Hall
|| A child, y Heir of ye Late Thos. Ravenscroft
||Mr. John Puleston.
||Bron Hwva. q. an Porth Hwva?
|| y Klai, Porth
y Klai now. rhai a dhwedant vod y pedwerydh porth yn Dwngre.
|Enwae Krwys: 6
|| Kroes y Street.
|| Maes y groes.
||Tîr y Prenniæ a small coppice
bel: to Mr. Whitley. Twmparth yr Eirth ye name of a small
patch. Talwrn enw Fordh Lydan. -
|[Page 47] The Rivers.
||Dee separating Overton and
Erbistock and running thrô this parish close by ye church
is become ye mear of Holt and Worthenbury.
||Milbrook out of Overton thrô Bangor
and into Dee 3 quarters of a mile below ye Church.
||Klywedog out of Wrexham Parish (which it
divides from Marchwial) and so divides this parish from Holt
and runs to Dee a mile & a half below ye Ch.
||Nant y Lhadron from ward Rhiwabon and so
dividing this parish from Erbistock falls into Dee two miles
above this Church a little below Overton bridge.
||Pont garreg over a stream coming out of
Fynnon y Saint. Fyn…
||The greatest bridge is Bangor bridge a little
below the Ch. on ye River Dee 5 Arches.
||Pikilh bridge on Klywedog a mile above its
||Pont y Pedair Onnen on Milbrook a small
h. a mile above its fall.
||Pont garreg. ar . . . a mile on ye way to
||Pont ar Vilbrook yn Arch ar Fordh yr Eg¹
||Pont newydh yn Dwngre ergid karreg odhiar
i haber ar yr yn avon.
||Lhyn y Vynwent (yn Dowrdwy).
|Y Fynnonnydh: Springs
||F. y Saint.
||Digon o Varl glâs. glô a loskant
a pheth Koed. Mae erw vechan a Phwlh yndhi a elwir Groft y
||An corruptè pro Groft
y meydwy; o herwydh dyna Ihe bydhe rhiw hên wr gynt
yn gwedhio beynydh. &cª.
|Lhwyd begins with straightforward
notes on the extent and dimensions of the parish including a reference
to Worthenbury's recent (1689) alienation from Bangor as a parish
in its own right. It would be interesting to recover ye white
oven' landmark on the Bangor-Worthenbury boundary. Was it
a kiln, brew-house or common bakehouse? Crab Mill in the Green Lane
and what was Howeswood Farm, Hollybush are possible contenders.
|This is the earliest (so far!) recorded
use of the name 'Bangor Isycoed'. The qualification 'vulgo'
= commonly, generally' (the contracted sense of linguo
vulgarico or vulgari = 'in the vernacular or vulgar
tongue'), implies its use locally in every-day speech. The more
formal 'Bangor Monachorum' = 'Bangor of the monks' pre-dates Lhwyd's
usage by some 22 years (NLW Coleman Deed DD 1268, indenture of 12
June 1677 - 'Bangor otherwise Bangor Monachorum') and seems to have
been the preferred form in more formal legal documents.
|The Rev. Rees (Rice) Jones, noted
as incumbent (1690-1730) was connected with the Lloyd Family of
Gwernheylod, Overton, patrons of the living 1680-1830. Although
he was rector when Richard Trubshaw (architect for the rebuilding
of Worthenbury Church 1736-9) was let loose upon Bangor Church in
his restoration of 1726-7 (the tower is to his design), it would
be unfair to blame him for the loss of the two medieval gravestones
mentioned by Lhwyd. Much damage had earlier been done to the
church by both Royalist and Roundhead soldiers 1643-60, including
the levelling of the chancel "even with the body of the church"
during the tenure of the Puritan 'preacher' Robert Fogg.
|Lhwyd's own reference to these missing
stones was drawn from a document or source in the 'every-day book'
of Rev. Henry Rowlands, the Anglesey antiquarian and correspondent
of Lhwyd's, in possession of David Wynn of Melai, Llanfair T.H.,
Denbighshire. Bangor seems to have an unfortunate record in
the care of its medieval coffin lids and tombstones!
|Note the size of Bangor village itself
in the 1690s - only 26 houses compared with its outlying hamlets
of Althrey and Dungrey otherwise Dyngse, Dongrey, Dwngre.
These latter forms of the place-name we owe solely to Lhwyd.
1699 is a late provenance but almost certainly indicates a British
hill name referring to the ridge that separates Bangor from Worthenbury
and the valley of the Millbrook. The first element is EBrit.
duno OW din = 'a hill, fort', possibly influenced
by OE dun ('hill'), modified by Welsh speakers into dwn.
The second element is OW creic, W craig = 'rock,
cliff'. There is no outcrop of the under lying Bunter Pebble
beds in the entire parish, so dun creic 'hill cliff' or fort cliff,
referring to a prominent physical feature but with a probable lateral
allusion to the 'monastic enclosure' that lay immediately west of
the ridge. The loss of the final 'c' in creic offers
no problems in an area subject to a constant succession of Welsh
and English/Mercian influences. Significantly the second element
also survives in the 'Graig Lane' and 'The Graig, right on or at
the tip of, this ridge.
|Under 'Better Houses' (Y Tai Kyvrîvol)
we note Althrey Hall no longer in the hands of the Ellis family.
Roger Davies of Dungrey (d.1709) was of Hanmer family stock
but took the surname Davies in deference to the overwhelmingly Welsh
character of Bangor parish. Ruyton was an outlying estate
of the Jeffreys's family of Acton Hall, Wrexham. Sir Griffith
Jeffreys was the nephew of the notorious 'Bloody' Lord Jeffreys
of Wem, Lord Chancellor 1685-89. He inherited the Ruyton estate
from his father in 1670 and Acton Hall from his grandfather in 1691.
The heir as mentioned was Robert Jeffreys (d.1714); he had
come into the property only in 1695.
|The Wynnes of Gerwyn Fawr were an
important family of minor Welsh gentry or yeomen, verging on the
uchelwyr class and tracing their descent back to Tudur
Trefor. Edward Wynne died in 1712. Of even more ancient
Welsh stock, Kenrick Eyton (d.1709), lived at Eyton Isaf, and was
the son of Sir Kenrick Eyton (d.1681), a judge on the North Wales
circuit. Four further generations were also known as Kenrick!
The Eyton name died out in the 1850s with Kenrick Edward Eyton II,
who lived in reduced circumstances at Fedw Coed, having been forced
to sell up because of money problems in 1825.
|The Basnett family had moved into
Eyton Uchaf (not the present farm at Eyton X-roads) after Roger
Eyton sold up in the 1590s. Booth Basnett died in 1746, aged 85.
He tried to change the name of his house to Plas Basnett,
but reckoned without the conservative Welsh population! Where
exactly William Edwards lived in Eyton township is not known save
that, according to the church rating list, it was the second biggest
house in Eyton.
|The Ravenscrofts, with three generations
all Thomas, moved from Bretton, Hawarden, in the 1630s and lived
at what is now Pickhill Old Hall. Thomas Ravenscroft had died
in 1699, leaving a son, also Thomas, twelve years old. The
Puleston house 1609-1801 was Pickhill Hall. This particular
branch of the family originated from Emral via Bradenheath.
John Puleston died in 1722 and was buried in Farndon. John Edwards
of Bedwell Hall (between Cross Lanes and Five Fords) was buried
at Bangor 17 June 1710.
|Under 'Enwau Croesau' or 'Names of
Crosses' Lhwyd names only three of six. 'Kroes Wladys' was a boundary
cross on the border fo the Elizabethan manor (medieval provostry)
of Pickhill, which included Pickhill and Sesswick townships, possibly
to be sought along the border with Isycoed parish rather than with
Marchwiel. The latter has 'Kroes y Stryt', present day 'Cross Lanes',
which place-name obviously has a deeper significance than just 'a
junction of roads'. The other three names included by Lhwyd
under this head have no known association with sites of medieval
crosses. Yet some historical significance they must have,
otherwise why should Lhwyd seize upon them, widely disparate as
they are? ' Tîr y Prenniae (Terreprenne of 1677 and
the meaningless Tre-a-peni of modern O.S. maps) means 'land
with trees or wood'. What a pity the name is currently rubbished
as 'Three-a-penny'! Why should Talwrn in Pickhill be singled
out as 'Ffordd Llydan' i.e. 'the broad, wide highway'?
|In any parish Lhwyd's listings of
bridges may be used to gain some idea of the contemporary importance
of various cross-country roads and tracks. 'Pont garreg' (1, 5)
= 'stone bridge', both on the Wrexham road i.e. one (Upper) Sesswick
Bridge and the other immediately below Porthwgan. They cannot
be located in the context of today's road pattern, for the 'straight
mile' approaches to the west end of Bangor bridge date only from
1819 when the B5426 was built as a 'coal road' linking Bangor with
the mining districts of Ruabon and Rhos.
|'Pont y Pedair Onnen' (4) = 'bridge
of the four ash trees' and was where the Millbrook stream crossed
the Worthenbury road at Bangor station, due allowance being made
for diversions to accommodate railway works in the 1890s. 'The
bridge on Milibrook of one arch on the road to Whitchurch (Eglwys
Wen)' (6), is clearly that on the A525 below Bank Farm just before
the demolished railway bridge. 'The new bridge in Dungrey
a stone's throw from the mouth of the same stream (Millbrook)' (7)
carries the drive /lane into Dungrey Hall.
|Shorn of any historical connotation
is the bare reference to 'Llyn y fynwent' = 'cemetery pool' (W
mynwent = 'graveyard, tomb'). This deep spot in the River Dee
is still known as the 'Church Pool'.
|Like Edward Lhwyd, we leave this brief
look at the Bangor of 1699 with its inhabitants 'digging turves,
and burning coal and some wood'