Llantysilio Hall

Llantysilio Hall is an 1872-4 house, replacing an earlier 18th century house, built in 1723.  This early hall was built by the Davies family, of which we know nothing, other than the hall was inherited through the female line to ‘Cuppers of the North’, a daughter of which inherited the old hall and married a Mr Thomas Jones of Llanlloddian, Montgomeryshire.  With the death of the last of the Jones line in 1820 without a will to be found, the hall passed into chancery.  Eventually, the Hall was inherited by a Major Harrison, who then spent his remaining years fighting off claims to the house from a plethora of Jones’.  There is very little of the original house remaining now, although over the back door is a sandstone carving of three stallion heads, the crest of the Jones family.  The walled garden is thought, however, to be contemporary with the original building.

The 19th century house is really a victim of its environment, in that compared to the stunning beauty of the Dee Valley, it appears rather sombre, gaunt even.  At Llantysilio, the River Dee is at its most beautiful, and the gardens of the house try to take advantage, sloping down as they do to the flood plain and the river itself.

The house was bought in 1867 by the German born locomotive pioneer, C. F. Beyer, a partner in the company, Beyer, Peacock & Co.  Beyer, it seems, spent little time at the house and on his death in 1876, the Hall and its grounds were left to his godson, Henry Beyer Robertson, son of his partner, Henry Robertson.  The house and grounds stayed in the family until the late 20th century.  During the Second World War, the Hall was occupied by Moreton Hall School.  The Hall was sold privately in 1994.

The lack of a will led to all manner of curious tales surrounding the property.  One of those tales of the Hall, is the story of a ‘lost will.’  On the death of the last Jones of the old Llantysilio Hall in 1820, without a will, several Jones’ claimed ancestry and thus the estate, all to no avail.  In 1822, a Catherine Jones of Oswestry, otherwise known as Kitty Taerty and a housekeeper of the local vicar claimed to have had a dream that the lost will existed and had been buried with the deceased Jones, hidden beneath his head.  She believed that this will would see her inherit the property.   In the small hours of night, a party of some eight people, including a lawyer and a surgeon broke into St Tysilio’s Church and exhumed the body of the deceased Jones from his tomb.  However, it would seem nothing was found, though badly frightened by a noise within the church, a commotion was caused, the coffin was dropped and the intruders fled.  They were subsequently charged by the local magistrate for all manner of offense.

Perhaps even more curious is the following tale.  One night, a man of Llantysilio was awoken by the presence of a spectre in his bedroom, bright and translucent.  It was beckoning him to follow, and as the man arose, the ghostly figure began to move from the house.  The terrified but curious fellow followed behind, shivering at the cold.  They arrived at St Tysilio’s, which to the man’s terror was lit up in a ghostly, glowing luminescence.  The ghostly chaperone disappeared into the church, and almost immediately the man heard spoken the words of a prophecy, claiming the squire of Llantysilio would soon die, and that the Hall would be taken by someone with no right to ownership.

On returning to his home, the man proceeded to tell all who would listen to his experience.  Most dismissed it as fantasy, including the squire who overheard the tale spoken of by his servants.

However, it was not long before the first part of the prophecy came to pass.  The squire cut his hand on a broken glass, which became infected and before long he had passed away in fever and pain.  So the first part of the prophecy had come to pass.

At the squire's funeral, all manner of Jones’ appeared, all of whom shed tears but none of whom anyone in the village had seen before.  As the procession began the short distance from the Hall to the church, it was noticed that one of the ‘Jones’ had disappeared.  The man, it seems, had slipped away from the funeral party and barricaded himself in the Hall, claiming that the Hall was his, that the squire had lost the property to him in a game of cards.  Thus the second part of the prophecy was fulfilled.  What came of this man is not known, but one imagines him being forcefully ejected by assorted ‘relatives’.

This tale first came to light in the 1892 Christmas edition of the ‘Methodist Recorder’, told by a Rev. John Simon Jr, who had been told it by his father who had come across a gathering of villagers in St Tysilio’s Churchyard listening to the haunted man’s story.

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