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Old 19th November 2023, 12.41:16   #1297-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

Just been reading the Accrington web which is fine of the clubs fan sites ( Dont ask why i was lurking there)
A fan who goes
by the name of Haggis 316 claimed that he had a great great etc etc grandad who played in Wrexhams first match in 1864. By the name of Tom Heath.

He also seemed to be related in some way related to Dave Gaskell.
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Old 20th November 2023, 11.22:20   #1298-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

Morning IL.
I believe that two of Thomas Heath's great, great etc grandsons have an account on RP. If my memory is correct, both have posted on this thread at different times.
One of the great, great etc grandsons had carried out an ancestry search and found the details about his ancestors life, but he didnt know much about Thomas Heath's time in Wrexham, or that he was one of our founding players in our first ever game. I assume that he found this thread through a google search, which showed the details that I posted when I discovered the identities of the ten founding members that played in our first ever game. I messaged him when he signed up to RP and he was kind enough to forward me a photo of his great, great, etc grandad, which I then posted on this thread.
I have contacted quite a few of the decendants of our founding players, over the years, and a few have signed up to RP, while I am also aware of other descendants of founding members that also occasionally keep an eye on this thread.

I had hoped that the club would have erected a plaque at the Racecourse to commemorate the lives of our founding team members, and there was a design for a plaque that was submitted to the club a few years back, although nothing has ever come of this: which is a great shame in my opinion, and particularly for a club that claims to champion the history and heritage of the stadium, town and its football club.

Last edited by eastsussex; 20th November 2023 at 11.26:40..
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Old 26th December 2023, 09.57:48   #1299-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

Mines Rescue Station on Maesgwyn Road

The place-name ‘Maes Gwyn’ meaning ‘White Field’ in English is often said to have derived from the medieval practice of soaking woven fabric in a lye solution made from wood ashes, and then seeping in sour milk and rinsing in water, before spreading the fabric in a field or meadow to dry and bleach in the sun.
The white ashes were then discarded in the fields to serve as a fertiliser.
This ancient custom was carried out on an industrial scale throughout Holland and Germany, in particular, where huge swathes of land called ‘bleaching fields’ or ‘white fields’ were a common feature of the landscape, long before the custom was introduced into Ireland and Scotland in the 18th Century; and later, into England and Wales. But here, the term ‘whitefield’ (Old English ‘hwit- white’ and ‘felt- field’) was derived from a much earlier tradition of extracting lime from chalk and beds of sea shells, known as shell marl, which was scattered on fields to increase crop fertility. There was also an abundance of Whitefield quarries located throughout Britain for the extraction of limestone, which was traditionally used in the construction of castles, churches and other important buildings, while primitive lime kilns were also erected in nearby fields, where the stone was crushed and heated to produce quicklime for mortar.
Quicklime was also used by farmers to burn heath and moorland, with the beneficial affects of reducing the acidity in the soil to reclaim the land as meadows and fields, which were then periodically dusted with quicklime to kill off weeds and retain crop fertility.

These traditions from our industrial and agricultural past have been carried forward in the Old English place-names of Whitefield, Whitfield and other derivatives that translate as Maesgwyn in Welsh.

The earliest written evidence of a white field in the immediate vicinity of the town of Wrexham was recorded in a 1604 deed to transfer the ownership of a number of parcels of land from William Robinson of Montgomery and John Robert ap Edward ap Bersham to Sir William Meredith of Plas Coch and John Edwards of Stansty.

‘A closure called “cae rhyd” (meaning Ford Field, in English) and a parcel within a closure known as “maes gwyn nessa y rhyd vroughton” (The white field next to Rhyd Broughton).

Plas Coch and most of Rhyd Broughton later passed into the possession of the Williams-Wynn family of Wynnstay, but a railway engineer and entrepreneur by the name of Benjamin Piercy bought most of the land on the eastern side of Rhyd Broughton, which came to be known as the Maesgwyn Estate in the 1860’s.
At the same time, Edward Tench, a former land-lord of the Turf Tavern, built a substantial new home opposite to The Racecourse, which he called Maesgwyn: although the house would later be demolished and replaced with another building, which is now known as Maesgwyn Hall.

In 1871, the area known as Maesgwyn was described as consisting of 4 fields that spanned a total of 26 acres.

Benjamin Piercy died in 1888 and his estate was gradually broken up and sold as individual lots.
Some of these lots were bought by Liverpool auctioneers ‘Lucas&Co’ which established a horse repository with a show ground and an auctioneers pavilion that were accessed by means of a new road that they installed in 1893, which they called ‘Lucas Road’.
The road followed the route of a nearby ancient pathway, which ran in a southerly direction from Mold Road through a field called Maesgwyn on the western side of Wat’s Dyke: although the pathway had previously been closed off, as recorded in a meeting of the Court Leet at the old town hall in Wrexham in 1891.

The ancient pathway was located in the former ditch on the western side of Wat’s Dyke, which had filled with silt over the centuries to form a hollow way that connected Rhosddu (black moor) through Crispin Lane (shoemakers Lane) and across Mold Road to Maesgwyn (white field) and Dolydd (meadows).

Lucas&Co bought another acre of land to extend the length of their show ground in 1894, and a building contractor by the name of John Phoenix bought 6 plots on the opposite ‘western side’ of Lucas Road at an auction in 1895. John Bury bought 10 plots for Wrexham Council at the same auction and a builder, named as Charles Jones, bought the corner lot on the western side of Lucas Road, at the junction with Mold Road. Mr Little of Lucas&Co bought a lot of 542 square yards and he also bought 2 plots adjoining The Racecourse, on the opposite side of Mold Road, at the junction with Crispin Lane.
However; the horse repository could not compete with a much larger horse market that had been built at Eagles Meadow in 1891, and so the business was abandoned and the land on the eastern side of Lucas Road remained vacant for a number of years, while the road, itself was adopted by the town council and renamed as Maesgwyn Road, when it was extended to The Union Workhouse in 1896.

All of the residential properties on Lucas Road/Maesgwyn Road in the 19th Century were built on the western side of the road, as well as a new dancehall ‘The Pavilion’ which was completed in 1895. The eastern side, by contrast, remained undeveloped until a site beyond the boundary at the southern end of the old show ground was selected for the construction of a new central rescue station for the North Wales Coal Owners’ Association.
Invitations to tender for the contract to build the station were published in a number of contract journals throughout the autumn of 1912, with construction commencing in early 1913.
The station was opened on Saturday 25th October 1913, with a journalist from the central news agency attending the official opening, before sending a telegram to a number of newspapers, which then reported;-
‘A central rescue station for the collieries throughout North Wales was opened at Wrexham today. It is fully equipped with the latest fire-extinguishing and lifesaving apparatus, and a motor-car will always be in readiness to rush to the scene of a colliery accident when assistance is needed.
The station has been erected by the Coal-owners Association.’

The station was managed by Superintendent William Henry Herbert, a former cavalryman and ex Sergeant in the Royal Engineers, who lived in the attached 3-bedroomed house, so that he could remain on call at all times.

Sergeant Herbert left the army to work as an instructor at the Howe Bridge Mines Rescue Station in Atherton, Lancashire, which was the first rescue station to test a new kind of self-contained breathing apparatus ‘The Siebe Gorman Proto’.
This trial proved to be successful and The Proto was later issued to other rescue stations throughout the country, including the new station at Maesgwyn Road, where Sergeant Herbert would be employed as the Superintendent and Chief Instructor.
His military experience was particularly suited to his primary role of training volunteer colliers into rescue workers at the station, where they were grouped into brigades from each of the collieries where they worked. But his experience with the new breathing apparatus was of equal importance, and every new volunteer was given intensive training in the use and maintenance of this life-saving equipment, which they would wear during marching parades in the drill shed.
The parades were intended to acclimatise the men, before entering a gallery, which had been specifically designed to replicate the passages in a coal mine. Here, the men would move rocks and coal that had been deliberately heaped to simulate a collapsed mine, which they would then re-seal with bricks and sand bags, while shoring the roof with heavy pit-props, in exercises that were intended to imitate the conditions that the brigades would experience at an accident in a coalmine.
There was also a brick-built gas chamber at the station, similar to a kiln, with braziers that were filled with combustible materials that created intense heat and sulphurous fumes, which tested the endurance of the men in their breathing apparatus, in controlled simulations of the atmosphere that they would experience in a colliery fire.
The brigades were also taught to read maps and were instructed in basic first aid, although most of their training was focused on fire-fighting exercises, while wearing their breathing apparatus, which was cleaned and tested after every session.
The breathing apparatus and safety attire was then returned to the store room, unless an incident was reported to Superintendent Herbert by telephone, and he would then transfer the equipment in the station-car to the colliery that had requested assistance, where he would redistribute the safety equipment and co-ordinate the brigades, while helping to formulate a rescue plan with the colliery owners and officials.

A number of brigades were described as ‘efficiently trained’ within weeks of the station being opened, while a deputation from the coal owners association attended a demonstration of brigades in training at the station on the 5th March 1914, with the Liverpool Daily Post later reporting ‘There was a representative gathering of North Wales colliery owners and officials at Wrexham yesterday to witness a demonstration at the new mines rescue station, which has just been erected.
The station has been provided by the colliery owners of the North Wales coalfield at a cost of £5,000. Nearly 200 practical colliers have been or will be trained for the work, and it was stated that a finer body of men physically could not be found anywhere.
Yesterday, two teams, one from Wrexham and Acton Colliery and another from Wynnstay, gave an interesting demonstration at the station, under Sergeant-Major Herbert. R.E., who is in charge of the station.’

Another report in a trade journal stated that the town council paid an additional £100 to extend the electricity network to provide a mains supply to the rescue station in 1914, as the original supply that had been provided was inadequate.

Superintendent Herbert and the brigades from Maesgwyn Road are known to have attended to the Vauxhall Colliery fires near Ruabon in 1923, the Llay Main Colliery Explosion of 1924 and the Gresford Disaster of 1934, when an explosion and underground fire killed 266 men, including 3 members of the Llay Rescue Brigade who were trained at Maesgwyn Road.

The initial explosion at the main seam of the Dennis section of the mine at 2.08am on Saturday 22nd of September was found to have started a fire, which blocked the main access road to all of the other districts in that section, while the blast also released huge clouds of dust and methane, and pockets of lethal carbon monoxide throughout the mine. Rescue teams fought a desperate battle to extinguish the fires to create a route through to their colleagues, but additional explosions caused rock falls and ignited even more fires, creating an inferno that threatened to break through to the surface of the surrounding areas. By Sunday evening, it was obvious that none of the trapped men could have survived in the dreadful conditions that raged below, leaving the colliery owners and mining officials to make the agonising decision to call off all rescue operations in order to cap the mine shafts, so as to sever the oxygen that was feeding the fires.

The bodies of only 11 of the men who died inside of the mine were ever recovered.

On the 23rd September, a newspaper correspondent reported ‘As soon as the surface officials heard of the explosion, a telephone message was sent to the Wrexham station of the North Wales Rescue Brigade, the chief of which, Mr H Herbert, with all haste gathered his forces and got to work’.

Two days later, the same correspondent added ‘One of the officials still on the scene this morning was Mr H Herbert, chief of the North Wales Rescue Brigade, who was on duty continuously at the pit for 48 hours without sleep, directing the operations of the gallant men for whose training he was responsible. He was busy checking up the rescue apparatus when I saw him’.

Superintendent Herbert retired from his role at the Mines Rescue Station in June 1937.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Superintendent William Henry Herbert.jpg (253.0 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by eastsussex; 26th December 2023 at 10.10:28..
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Old 29th December 2023, 13.01:30   #1300-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

I should add that there was also a ‘possible’ connection between the Welsh name of ‘Maesgwyn’ and the mythology associated with a warrior from King Arthur’s band, known as ‘Gwyn ap Nudd’.
In Welsh tradition, he was the son of Nudd Llaw Ereint and the grandson of Beli Mawr, who was regarded as the progenitor of a number of the Welsh dynasties.
Gwyn ap Nudd was first recorded in The Mabinogion, a collection of the earliest Welsh prose stories from the 12th and 13th Centuries, which are believed to have come from earlier Welsh traditions. His name is thought to have been derived from the Welsh word Gwyn, meaning white or ‘light’ and ‘Nudd’ from the Celtic and Gaulish God ‘Nodens’ who was also known as ‘Nudens’.
Nodens was a God of healing, water, hunting and fishing who was also cognate with the supernatural ‘tribe of the gods’ in Irish mythology, which later gave rise to the mythical ‘Aos Si’ (people of the fairy mounds) and the Tylwyth Teg (fairy folk) in Welsh mythology.
In later Welsh folklore, Gwyn ap Nudd, became the Lord of the Mist and the God of the Underworld who was associated with the ‘fairy mounds’ that were believed to be portals to the Otherworld that was inhabited by fairies.
In some of the Welsh myths, Gwyn ap Nudd was regarded as the King of the Fairies.

In 1882, one of these fairy mounds was excavated in the fairy field in Wrexham (hence Fairy Road), which was found to contain a heap of decomposed bones with a few shards of pottery nearby. The tumulus, known as ‘fairy mount’ was traditionally thought to have been a mass grave for plague victims, but was found to be a Bronze Age burial mound (c. 2300- 800BC).

In 18th Century Wales, y tylwyth teg were still regarded as fair-haired nymphs and fairies who occupied lakes, mounds, mountains and also mines, where a soft oily substance that was found in limestone strata was known as menyn tylwyth teg ‘fairy butter’. This was a kind of limestone marl, which the 1st Century Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder termed ‘Argentaria’ in his encyclopaedia of life ‘Naturalis Historia’.

Pliny stated; - ‘There is another method, which has been invented both in Gaul and Britain, of enriching earth by the use of marl. This soil is looked upon as containing a greater amount of fertilizing properties, and acts as a fat in relation to the earth. The Aedui and the Pictones have rendered their lands remarkably fertile by the aid of limestone, which is also found to be particularly beneficial to the olive and the vine.’
‘Another kind of white chalk is Argentaria, which is brought from a depth of a hundred feet, the pits usually made narrow at the mouth, internally as in metal mines the vein spreading out or widening. They use this chiefly in Britain.’

The soft, oily limestone that was found much deeper in mines was far more suitable as a fertiliser, which the Ancient Britons spread onto fields that were known to the Romans as ‘agrum album’ (Whitefield in English or Maesgwyn in Welsh).

In distinction from other Celtic fairy myths, y tylwyth teg were particularly afraid of iron; which was a possible reference to the iron tools that were used to extract the limestone marl from mines and quarries.

I’ll get my coat.

Last edited by eastsussex; 29th December 2023 at 13.13:27..
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Old 29th December 2023, 14.04:37   #1301-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

Great stuff, ES. Find untangling myth from reality quite fascinating.

I guess there has always been a human need to have 'gods' to explain the many mysteries of life.

Could SPM be a latter day saint or become a prophet in a far away land?
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Old 1st January 2024, 14.09:40   #1302-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham

Indeed, DP. It’s intriguing to wonder if our distant ancestors might have conceptualised fairies in the swirling wisps of mist and fog on lakes and in the valleys and bogs in the moonlight.
Will-o’-the-wisp seems to have had a similar origin, which was imagined by the Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym in 1340, ‘Into a bogmire, where in every hollow live a hundred wry-mouthed elves’ (wisps).

As I stated in my previous post, Pliny described how the Ancient Britons used different kinds of limestone to fertilise the land, with the softer, oily kind of limestone being the best kind of marl to fertilise the soil.
Plenty of other references elsewhere seem to confirm that the Welsh place-name of ‘Maesgwyn’ and the English place-names of ‘Whitefield/Whitfield’ etc, were both derived from this ancient tradition of ‘whitening’ the land with limestone.

Argentaria or ‘fairy butter’ by contrast, was an oily substance that seeped from the thin bands of limestone strata in silver and lead mines. This was used to clean metal and also as a whitener for mixing different types of paint. In these mines, the fairies were mostly regarded as benevolent spirits that were later known as ‘knockers’ as their tapping was believed to direct the miners to the seams of silver.
This connection between fairies and silver mines also appears to have it roots much deeper in history, as Gwyn ap Nudd’s father ‘Lludd Llaw Ereint’ (the Silver-Handed) was the God of Health and Healing. Welsh tradition tells that he was a leader of the gods who lost his hand in battle, but Gorfannon, the divine smith crafted him a new hand from silver. He was cognate with the first Irish God Nuada ‘Airgetlam’ (meaning silver arm) as he too lost his arm in battle, but was crafted a new one from silver. Both were associated with the Celtic God Nodens who had a large temple shrine at Lydney in Gloucester, where a bronze arm was unearthed that is believed to have been a votive offering.

It is, as if the earlier myths were embellished in the iron age, when iron tools provided a portal to the riches of the otherworld below.

Lets hope they are on our side today.

As for SPM, a triad of goals today would be a very good omen for the future, me thinks.

I’ll get my coat again.
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Old 6th January 2024, 22.13:10   #1303-0 (permalink)
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As mentioned, the ancient pathway at Maesgwyn was located in the former Anglo Saxon ditch of Wat’s Dyke, which had silted-up over the centuries to form a hollow way (a sunken lane, confined within banks) that had served as a bridleway, footpath and cart track for the locals since the Middle Ages.
The location of the footpath was recorded by the mayor at a meeting of the town council in 1888, while a reference to its antiquity was recorded by the deputy steward from Wrexham Court Leet at a meeting of the Highway Board on Tuesday 17th November 1891.

“We present a footpath, which from time to time immemorial has run and now runs from the Mold Road through a field called Maes Gwyn on the Western side of Watt’s Dyke, in the direction of the Union Workhouse is being obstructed and stopped up to the prejudice and inconvenience to the public”.

This public hollow way also gave rise to Crispin Lane, on the opposite side of Mold Road, which I have explained in many earlier posts.

The massive Wrexham AFC history thread (The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham...)

The hollow way received a gravel surface in 1854, when it was still known as a lovers lane, but Wat’s Dyke embankment was removed during excavations for the new Wrexham, Mold and Connahs Quay railway line in the 1860’s.
Originally, the ditch/lane ran in a straight line through to Maesgwyn, but Crispin Lane was diverted closer to The Racecourse in 1868 and the original lane became overgrown. The rest of the ditch was grubbed out when the railway bridge was built and the line was extended to the new Central Station in 1887, although there is still a very small section of the ditch behind the railings of the railway embankment behind the kop.
The hollow way on the Maesgwyn side of the road was closed off in 1887.
You can see the original line of the ditch/lane in the attachments in the link above.

Last edited by eastsussex; 6th January 2024 at 22.15:25..
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Old 26th January 2024, 15.18:12   #1304-0 (permalink)
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For the benefit of our new fans, and especially for those from overseas who are interested in the history of the club.

This thread provides a very deep insight into the early history of the football club and our iconic Racecourse, as well as the history of the town, the region and its people.

The thread is best read from the last post first ‘which might not seem relevant at first’ although all of the posts are related.

The thread is a kind of anthropology of the club, stadium, town and its people, which has not been posted elsewhere. Most of the information was not previously recorded, but it does provide a much greater insight to the mindset of the people who founded the club, while providing the reasons why the club was created.

There is a very brief summary of the history of the club and stadium in the link below, but there is a far more detailed account within the posts of this thread.
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Old 30th January 2024, 06.54:54   #1305-0 (permalink)

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To Eastsussex,

I congratulate you on your excellent research over the years on our club. It is truly amazing. Thanks.

Early into the WAFC montage on the BBC Wales coverage last night in the introduction prior to kick off, there was a 2/3 second image (or film) of the old MRS and The Turf with the "extension" (possibly 1950's?). Blink and you missed it. But if you pause it carefully, you get a terrific image. It was a brilliant.

I wonder if anyone on here with better capabilities than me can download the image onto this thread.

I'm currently reading this thread from page 1 (currently on p18) and clicking onto every attachment. It's better than any book!

Has anyone bought the Peter Jones history book? I'd like some feedback before I part with £40.
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