FAMILY heirlooms including First World War artefacts and medals have been donated to Chirk Castle.
The family of Albert Unwin, who worked at Chirk Castle for the Howard de Walden family from 1911-1946 and fought in the war, visited the castle on Monday to donate his Distinguished Service Order (DSO), trench helment and Cledd – a Welsh trench knife.
During the First World War, Lord Howard de Walden designed and supplied a Cledd, which are based on medieval Welsh hunting knives, for the Royal Welch Fusiliers to use in the trenches.
Inscribed with Dros Urd das Cymru, the Cledds represent the hardship and sacrifice young men endured during the Great War.
Mr Unwin, who was the house carpenter, worked for Howard de Walden for a couple of years before they came to Chirk.
After the move he lived just off the estate in staff houses on Station Avenue, which are still there today.
He retired from the castle after the family left and the Myddelton family returned in 1946.
Mr Unwin’s family remained in the Chirk area for a number of years after his retirement and after he died he was buried in Chirk Cemetery.
Castle manager Carolyn Latham said: “His children said the trench helmet was always on the hook in the hallway as they were growing up.
“Albert didn’t talk about his time in the army or his leg injury. It didn’t affect him, but he had a scar.
“The castle has stayed in touch with lots of former staff and on the back of us doing a Howard de Walden project we’d been back in touch with his family. That’s when it came to light about the artefacts.
“Due to him working there for so many years and the castle’s ongoing connections and our First World War project, they thought it would be a good place to donate the items.”
They will form part of commemorative First World War exhibitions and events at the castle for 2014 and the castle team are calling on the local community to look in attics and cupboards to see if they have got a Cledd hidden away or family memories to share.
“We’d like to thank Albert’s family for coming such a long way,” added Mrs Latham.
“His family are now scattered throught the UK and there was a representative from each of his four children.
“We’re very excited as these things show what an ordinary man went through during the war.
“We hope it will prompt people to find out about their relations and to share their stories with us.”