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Civil War-era house (and ghost) for sale at £750,000

Published date: 27 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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ONE of North Wales’ most historic houses, with links to Owain Glyndwr and ‘The Fighting Morgans’ of the English Civil War, is on the market for three-quarters of a million pounds.

Henblas in Llanasa is a rare Grade I-listed building and lays claim to its own resident ghost.

A spectral coach and horses is reputed to occasionally clatter through the gateway to the house, which was built in 1645 during the Civil War.

Owners David Lawton and his wife Bridget have owned the property for 40 years and brought up their five children there.

He said: “We were married 60 years ago in the church in the village but I knew it before then because I was born in Prestatyn and used to cycle up here.

“It was built for the Morgan family of Golden Grove at the time of the Civil War and actually during the siege of Chester.

“It has a wonderful history which includes having been used to house German prisoner of war officers in the First World War and evacuees in the Second World War.

“At one time it’s been owned by the Mostyn family and also by Dennis Vosper MP, Lord Runcorn, who really restored the property in the 1960s after it had fallen into some disrepair.”

But he added: “It’s just a bit too big for the two of us now.”
Lord Runcorn was an old boy of Marlborough College, a pubic school whose former pupils include poet John Betjeman, comedian Jack Whitehall, Captain Mark Phillips, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Samantha Cameron, the wife of the Prime Minister.

Lord Runcorn bought several oak tables from the college and used them to re-floor the hall room on the second floor which is 40 feet long and 17 feet wide and where one refectory table still survives.

Another notable local resident was Dr Edwin Parry, who lived there in the 19th century and is buried in the churchyard – he lost both legs in a railway accident but continued to practice from the house.

Matthew Holmberg, Denbigh office property specialist for Jones Peckover said: “It has a rich and wonderful history but it is still a lovely house to live in.

“There are a number of interesting features to the house, which has three floors and a cellar, including a carving of a man and a woman above the front door and also some more interesting carving on one of the gable ends.

“There is a verse in Old Welsh near the foot of the exterior wall while at the top there is a carving of a kneeling figure with the date of the house’s construction.”
Local historian Paul Parry believes the house may also have a link to Owain Glyndwr.

He said: “The verse in Old Welsh means ‘I grew trees round thee to get thee ready for me’ and is attributed to Gruffudd Fychan, Owain Glyndwr’s father. He is buried in the church and it is believed he could have lived here in the 14th century in an older building which would have been demolished with Henblas built on its foundations.

“The house was built for the marriage of a daughter of the Mostyn family of Talacre and one of the Morgans, from nearby Golden Grove, probably one of the fighting Morgans, who all died in the service of the Royalist cause.

“The figures above the front door are probably the couple and on the gable end there’s a carved kneeling figure with a scroll coming from his mouth and a Latin text.

“There was a belief that the Morgan who owned the house was the famous pirate Henry Morgan but that’s not the case; he was from South Wales, though that didn’t stop someone from digging up the grave of the local Morgan looking for the pirate treasure.

“It could be the Morgan who is commemorated on the walls of Chester with Morgan’s Mount, a gun emplacement named after either Captain William Morgan or his son, Edward.

“There’s also said to be a tunnel from the cellar across the road and from looking at the ground there does seem to be something underground and if it’s only a drain then it’s a very big one.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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