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Footprints - Civil Wars

The divisions of the Tudor times worsened in the 17th century.  Crown and Parliament were at odds over taxes, religion and the king's behaviour.  Sir Thomas Myddelton, owner of Chirk castle declared for Parliament.  However, the local Welsh gentry stayed loyal to the king.

Memorial to Sir Thomas Myddelton, Parliamentary general during the Civil War, Chirk Parish Church. - © Wrexham Heritage Services and the Vicar of Chirk

In 1642 Charles I addressed enthusiastic crowds in Wrexham, but Parliament's forces were just across the Dee in Cheshire.  Holt was the constant scene of skirmishes and surprise attacks during the Civil War.  Both sides knew Holt bridge was the gateway to North Wales.  In 1646 with the fall of Chester, Parliament's forces finally secured north Wales.  Holt castle held out until early 1647.

Memorial to Sir Richard Trevor of Trevalyn, 1638, Gresford Parish Church. - © Wrexham Heritage Services and the Vicar of Gresford

Life during the Republic was strict.  Morgan Llwyd, a radical preacher, became vicar of Wrexham and the Commission for the Propagation of the Gospels in Wales made the town a centre for Puritanism.  Soon the local gentry were plotting for a return of the monarchy and Sir Thomas Myddelton backed the Restoration.

The religious divides took longer to heal.  In the early 18th century, there were many Jacobites, the supporters of the exiled Stuarts, in the town.  The Jacobites had a secret club based at the Eagles Inn, now the Wynnstay Arms Hotel, from where they encouraged the local mob to attack the meeting houses of the Nonconformists.

October 20th 1715 – The king's Coronation Day. The Bells rung, but at night great Riots and Disorders committed. The Dissenters' bonfires put out, the Meeting Houses threatened, and the Mob beat at the door. Treasonable songs sung about the town.

John Kenrick, Wrexham diarist & Nonconformist minister.