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I was pleased to find a rare insight into the place I used to consider my home. The information is public so I have no qualms with sharing it on here. I forget where I found it. So much clap trap online its hard to remember who’s who or who’s written what. None of the information was available when I searched for it a while ago so maybe someone’s been to the library in Wrexham and dug it out whilst performing searches for other information. Brought a smile to my face anyway. There should be more of this type of research and sharing of such. Probably keep someone out of trouble. Enjoy. 
Originally a small farm house close to Clay’s Farm on the outskirts of Wrexham, Bryn Estyn was part of the Erlas Hall estate, belonging to the Davies Family.

It passed by marriage into the Kyffin family until 1783 when Sir Thomas Kyffin sold it to the Wrexham banker Richard Lloyd, who, shortly afterwards built the first Bryn Estyn Hall in the Regency style.

It was the birthplace and later the home of Richard’s son, Sir William Lloyd, a one time High Sheriff of Denbighshire. The estate in 1881, then passed to Emily Fitzhugh of Plas Power, the wife of Captain Charles Rumney Godfrey, who’s son owned the place until it’s sale to Wrexham Brewer, Frederick W. Soames. Soames demolished the old hall in 1904, constructing the present building some distance east of the original structure, the following year.

Built from the plans of Messrs. Grayson & Ould of Liverpool, it was a large, Elizabethan style mansion, which in appearence had the impression of much greater age, but this was done intentionally, and the use of stone roofing slabs assisted in giving that impression.

When sold in 1928, (when it was the property of Mrs F.W. Soames), Bryn Estyn was described as ‘a replica of a Cheshire Manor House’ with twenty bedrooms and dressing rooms, two bathrooms, a billiard room, five reception rooms, garage for five cars, stabling for eleven horses, stud grooms and other cottages, a fitted laundry, central heating, telephone, electric light, two tennis and croquet lawns, an ornamental lake, a walled kitchen garden, a home farm and timbered parkland extending to 95 acres, ‘for sale at half it’s original cost”. Not much is known about the building until it was acquired by a Chester Board of Trustees on the 21st of August 1940, who decided to re purpose Bryn Estyn as a Home Office Approved School.

The addition of an ablution block and numerous interior alterations, changed Bryn Estyn from a sumptious mansion to a school.

The outward appearence of a mansion, as well as much of the beautiful interior panelling had been retained, but drastic changes to various rooms were deemed neccesary. It began operating as a Home Office Approved School (Intermediate), for the training of eighty boys in January 1942, the remaining work on the building being carried out by the boys themselves.


The Official Opening Programme Souvenir Boys between the ages of 13 and 15 years were admitted to the school, approximately half of whom would be under 14 years of age. Full schoolroom instruction was provided by two qualified teachers, one of whom combined the duties of Deputy Headmaster. The work provided for the boys was varied and specifically designed to be practical in nature, the Joinery and Building trades being favoured.

The Garden Department was the other main trade training section of Bryn Estyn, providing instruction for 24 boys, who had expressed an interest in learning Horticulture. A library was added towards the latter part of 1943, which comprised of general reading matter and reference materials which reflected the trades and hobbies of the school. During the subsequent years since the opening, much work was carried out on the site, including the adaption of the cottages for staff accommodation, the extension and levelling of the sports field, construction of garages, a gymnasium, a Cadet Force Training Headquarters, a Building Dept. Workshop, and in 1957, an outdoor swimming pool was built. All the work, including the excavation of the ground, including the surfacing tiles and surround, was carried out by the boys of the building department, with assistance from the other groups under the direction of their instructors.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold James Bennett, the Headmaster and Matron of Bryn Estyn since it’s opening, retired in 1967 after 26 years, being replaced by Mr. David Ursell, who was previously deputy headmaster at Dobroyd Castle School, near Manchester. Bryn Estyn, as an institution, operated quietly and almost invisibly within the Wrexham community, attracting very little outside attention, except for some disciplinary disputes among the incumbent staff. David Ursull however, was suspended in 1972, subsequently replaced by Peter Burton, who along with his wife, their young child and their deputy, were tragically killed in an road traffic accident in November 1972.

Bryn Estyn Approved School had remained the responsibility of the Home Office until the 1st of October 1973, when it became a local authority “Community Home’ with education on the premises. Responsibility for the running of the establishment was then passed to the former Denbighshire County Council, until the 1st of April 1974, when the newly formed Clwyd County Council took over. Granville Bernard (Matt) Arnold, took over as Headmaster in 1973, from his former position of Headmaster of Axwell Park School, County Durham. The position of Deputy head was filled that November, by Peter Howarth, who had followed him from Axwell Park. Bryn Estyn as a residential school finally closed it’s doors on the 30th of September 1984.

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About DR Laverty

Just me
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2 Responses to Home

  1. David Ursell should have been suspended from a tree, brute that he was.

  2. I believe he would have candidate for prosecution in these modern days. Big man by all accounts and used his structure as a dominant tool to rule the roost. The stories I've heard about them times make the 70's and 80's sound like a walk in the park. For the majority of course. Any feed back on his time as head would be very welcome and if sent in private, would remain private.

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