There is something about the past that captures the imagination of generations.

The appetite for knowing the who, where and why of things is immense, and none more so in our own communities.

The Leader's 'Local Bygones Facebook page is proof of this, and amongst our articles and photos, members share their own images and memories.

Today we meet one member, who has a huge passion for local history, and the first in a series of his features.

A love of history began for Richard Jones, 37, began at school.

Richard, born and raised in Ruabon but now in Gwersyllt, said: "I love all types of history, Vikings, medieval, ancient history.

"But locally, so much of it is firsthand. I'm here, I can go to the areas that have changed.

"I think it's because of my history teacher, Mrs Bellis in Ysgol Rhiwabon, that I got into it.

"She was very passionate about it, and I was sold! My imagination would get lost with it all when she was talking."

Richard, who has quite a collection of history books, says his family love finding out things from him, seeing photos, and reading articles but he admits they probably aren't quite as interested as he is.

Here, in his first article for the Leader, Richard starts with Llewelyn Kenrick, Football Association of Wales and Ruabon Druids...


Ruabon Druids.

Ruabon Druids.


• Samuel Llewelyn Kenrick was born in Ruabon, Wrexham in 1847, and into the land-owning, industrialist Kenrick dynasty of Wynn Hall, Ruabon.

He was the son of William Kenrick (1798-1865) who founded the Wynn Hall Colliery, and a descendant of the Wynn family.

He attended the Ruabon Grammar School and on leaving went into further education to become a solicitor, and practised at Ruabon.

A keen lover of football, two of Kenrick's earliest teams he played for were Priorslee FC and Shropshire Wanderers, both Shropshire outfits.

With Shropshire Wanderers Kenrick reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, losing 1-0 to The Old Etonians.

Did you miss? Flintshire footballer had a head for success

With his love for football Kenrick turned his attentions locally. In 1872, he assisted brothers David and George Thomson in amalgamating the Ruabon-based, Plas Madoc club with two other Ruabon clubs, Ruabon Rovers and Ruabon Volunteers, to form the Ruabon Druids.

The newly created club played their home matches at Plas Madoc Park in Rhosymedre, before a new ground was created in the nearby Wynn family estate at Wynnstay.

At this time, there was no organised league system and Druids played friendly matches against other local clubs, although they occasionally ventured further afield to play in England and Scotland.

In 1876 Kenrick saw an advert in The Field newspaper regarding that a Welshman named G. Clay-Thomas was proposing that a Welsh team be formed to play Scotland or Ireland at rugby.

Kenrick saw the advert but decided the international match should be Association football.

He told The Field the footballers of North Wales accepted the challenge and he advertised for players.

Kenrick stated that to be selected, players had to be born in Wales or have sufficient residence in the Principality.

Although he corresponded with several Welsh clubs and universities in order to raise a team, Kenrick was criticised for allegedly overlooking players from the south.

He attended a meeting on February 2, 1876 at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Wrexham, initially to formalise the arrangements for the forthcoming match against Scotland and discuss an arrangement to create some sort of Welsh footballing organisation.

In May 1876, a further meeting was called, in the ballroom of the identically named Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Ruabon, where the name was agreed as the 'Football Association of Wales', and the constitution was drawn up.

Gallery of teams from the past across Wrexham and Flintshire

After Kenrick become successful with his campaign to create a Football Association of Wales (FAW) he was now its chairman and at this time he was still assisting his brothers locally with the birth of Ruabon Druids.

1876 seemed to be a good year for Kenrick, seeing Ruabon Druids become the first Welsh club to enter the newly organised English FA Cup.

Drawn against Shropshire Wanderers in the first round, Druids withdrew before the match was played.

In the next year, Druids once again entered the FA Cup, again drawn against Shropshire Wanderers in the first round.

They progressed to the third round where they were thumped 8-0 by eventual runners-up, Royal Engineers.

1877 saw the inaugural season of the FAW Challenge Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup.

Druids entered, playing Newtown in the first ever match in the competition, and eventually reaching the final, played at Acton Park, Wrexham, where they lost to Wrexham 1-0.

Going into the early 1900s Ruabon Druids were a successful Welsh footballing team, unfortunately the grounds of the Wynnstay Park Ground was fast becoming unsuitable and as the estate would not allow improvement on the site, Druids began to suffer financially.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, football in the country ceased until 1920, which in turn prevented Druids from becoming nothing more than a footnote in the history of Welsh football.

After the war, Druids left Wynnstay Park and combined with Rhosymedre FC to form Rhosymedre Druids FC, who played on the Church Field in Rhosymedre.

Despite this new pairing, Druids still faced financial trouble and amalgamated once more in 1923 with Acrefair United FC, to form new club Druids United.

They continued to ply their trade in the area and they too amalgamated, with Cefn Albion FC in 1992 to form Cefn Druids FC, who still carry on the name and success of the old club as Cefn Druids in the Cymru Premier.

  • For more from Richard, you can check out the Facebook group - Historical Interest Of Wrexham And Surrounding Area