This week local historian and author Brian Bennett takes a nostalgic look at one of the region's sadly demolished stately mansions, Penbedw Hall...

Situated just five miles from Mold town centre, the Hall stood proudly overlooking the Penbedw Estate for almost two centuries, before its demolition in 1958. The hall itself was visible from the main A514 Mold to Denbigh highway, just before the charming village of Nannerch is reached.

The last building on the site was built in 1770 but the hall and the estate was acquired by the noted railway engineer, William Barbour Buddicom in the 1850s period for the grand sum of £46,000 - a great deal of money at the time.

The Hall would be the last of a number of buildings to have adorned the site since the first reference to Penbedw in 1222.

At its most extensive period, this 30 bedroomed mansion had a collection of tradesmen's houses, cottages and workshops, etc. It boasted an acreage in excess of 4,000 on an estate farmed and tenanted out to numerous farms - one of which was Bryn Charlotte, rented and worked by my grandfather on which I was born and grew up.

The early part of this area of Flintshire is a mixture of fact, fiction and folklore, of which the Penbedw Estate was very much part and parcel of.

Take for example, Penbedw Park, on which the old hall was sited, there are remains of a stone circle, said to date back to the Megalithic period, a prehistoric burial mound and standing stones - all still visible today.

Also on the old estate are several tumuli, further standing stones, and several other artefacts that date back to at least the Bronze Age.

Of the numerous homesteads that made up Penbedw Estate in the past, at least four are well worthy of a mention - all now in private ownership, but each have a tale or two to tell.

Penbedw Estate - Plas Yw.

Penbedw Estate - Plas Yw.

Plas Yw firstly on the side of the aptly named Plas Yw Mountain, was a fortified manor house with a moat surround in days gone by, and famously reputed to be the residence from where Owain Glyndwr organised his attack on Ruthin in c1400.

Rhyd y Crogwedd another site with a fascinating past, situated on the side of the modern A514 on the outskirts of Nannerch, a Victorian building on the site of an earlier property, but reputed to be on or near the location of an old oak tree that was used to hang petty criminals, hence the translation "gallows or hanging ford".

Ffagnallt farm on the foothills of Moel y Crio near Rhesycae, reputedly was the scene of a bloody battle years ago, and the resting place of a famous warrior skull.

Penbedw Estate - Wal Goch.

Penbedw Estate - Wal Goch.

Wal Goch, another medieval farm house, once called Nannerch Hall. The present building dates back to Tudor times in the 1500s, reputed to be a Bishops' retreat within the Diocese of Chester in days past. These are just four examples of the diverse historical content that Penbedw Estate enjoyed during its heyday.

One famous tale relating to William Buddicom concerns the routing of the Chester-Mold-Denbigh railway line opened in 1869.

Although he was a noted engineer in the railways era and had become a very wealthy man on the strength of this, he objected to the line being routed in view from his mansion, thus in the 1860s he tabled a bill in the House of Commons to realign the route out of sight of the Hall.

He was successful in his mission, which resulted in a cutting nearly 30 feet in depth in places being dug between Star Crossing Halt and Nannerch Station to hide the line from view when it was opened in 1869.

Penbedw Estate - Cross Foxes.

Penbedw Estate - Cross Foxes.

The nearby village of Nannerch was from all sense and purpose a Penbedw village, when the vast majority of the residence either worked on or for the estate, and even the public house The Cross Foxes in earlier days came within its ownership.

The Buddicum family were to their great credit, highly respected by their employees and the community in general. They were great benefactors to the village of Nannerch in particular having, amongst other concerns, helped fund the local Church, School, and later the Memorial Hall was built in the 1930s as a memorial to members of the Buddicum family.

Today, the Penbedw Estate continues to be a thriving concern, albeit with a lot of the old farms sold off to private hands, with one legacy still evident from the highway being the lodges that still proudly adorn the three main entrances to the estate namely, Station Lodge, Middle Lodge and Mold Lodge, all still bearing the old Buddicum crest on their fascia with a further lodge always called Cilcain Hall Lodge less than a mile away in the Mold direction.

As stated, Penbedw Hall and Penbedw Estate are rich in history and tradition and today employ a modern set up, as is the case similar being utilised by other local estates, ie. Davies-Cooke at Gwysaney and the Bankes Family formerly of Soughton Hall - all very much part of our local history, heritage and traditions.

My thanks and appreciation to Miss Hazel Formby and Mr Clifford Halsall's notes, and articles on the subject, extracts of which I have used in the above. Incidentally, Mr Halsall was born on the estate and still resides there.