Cefn Mawr in Wrexham North Wales

Cefn Mawr, a small parish near Wrexham, has a long rich history. The parish consists of the villages of Penybryn, Acrefair, Cefn, Newbridge and Rhosymedre and is now part of Wrexham County Borough Council.

Locals recall the days when Cefn Mawr was a teaming centre of activity, a huge range of local shops, pubs, Churches and Chapels catered for the needs of the predominantly working classes who toiled in the local mines, quarries, brickworks, chemical works and fields.

The belching smoke and smell of the chemical works is still ‘fondly’ remembered. Talk to many of the older folk in Cefn Mawr and they will remember with equal gusto the wonderful community sprit that existed in those days, the trip to the local shops to spend what little they had, the wonderful nights out in local pubs, the local cinemas and the fiercely religious people attending church or the Salvation Army.

Up to 1930 few cars could be seen on the streets of Cefn Mawr. Early morning sounds consisted of the ‘tapping’ of the ‘tapper-up’ man as he raised people for their work. In those days missing getting up meant missing a day’s work and a days pay. The sound of clogs could be heard clearly on the street as people made their way to work which meant for many often walking miles in all weathers. Few could afford the luxury of a bicycle. Car’s were an unimaginable dream. .

The hissing, glaring naphtha powered streetlamps were lit and extinguished by the ‘lamp-lighter’ who rode the streets on his bicycle. On Saturday evenings Crane Street and Well Street came to life. Traders from as far away as the Midlands sold their wares to the thronging crowds, no doubt taking advantage of those ‘under the influence’! It is amazing to consider what could be purchased from these travelling salesmen: Lino, crockery, pots, pans, bed chambers, whatever.

The crowded streets became even more so when the local cinema based in the ‘Old Hall’ discharged the first-house at 8.00pm. The queues to get in the local cinemas stretched across Cefn. The queue for the ‘superior’ ‘Palace’ extended down Hill Street to Garside’s Chapel, whilst the queue for the ‘Old Hall’ (George Edwards Hall) stretched past the Hollybush, Watkin’s corner and The Tripe Shop!

Many of Cefn Mawr’s streets began life as tramways. Behind the main street running through Cefn Mawr ran the tramway, which carried stone from the quarries in Rhosymedre for the building of the Aqueduct in Trevor. In parts the route of this tramway can still be seen with a bit of imagination. The ‘Crane Corner’ was so named after the crane based on the spot which was used to transfer trucks from Railway Road to the tramway, which ran along King Street. Indeed this corner of Cefn was always busy from when the Aqueduct was completed in 1805.

The local Plas Kynaston Hall was the ancestral home of the Kynaston family who together with the Lloyds of Plas Madoc owned all the land in the parish. In the 1680’s the family were stanch Presbyterians and the old house was licensed to hold religious meetings. The Hall continued to be used as a private dwelling up to 1930’s when Professor Share Jones, one of the most eminent veterinary surgeons on the country lived there. It still stands today and is used a local Council offices.