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Wepre Park: Plans to revive old hall and gardens need your help

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Nick - Web Team Nick - Web Team | 11:47 UK time, Monday, 31 May 2010

Friends of Wepre Park are asking for people to share any old photos or documents to do with the time the country park was once a private estate.

Old photos of Wepre Hall and estate, courtesy Friends of Wepre

The info will help in the Friends' formal application for Lottery money - from the Parks for People fund - to help with the restoration of original features in the 160 acre park and woodland.

Gilly Seddon and Tom Woodall from Flintshire Countryside Service, based at Wepre Park Visitor Centre, are hoping people will get in touch, explaining application judges want to see evidence of how the park used to look.

"If grant aid can be sourced, it would mean the restoration of some of the original features to their former glory," they say.

So, what did the estate and park look like in its original form?

Well, the montage of photos [above] goes some way to showing how the hall looked in its heyday, complete with some of the characters who lived, worked, fished and hunted on the estate in the 1900s.

There's a good potted history of the estate, the hall and previous owners called Discover Wepre Park [links to .pdf document], courtesy of Flintshire Council.

Wepre Park weir by Richiegriff via FlickrThis complements the hundreds of photos on the web showing the park today.

But how many of the 200,000 annual visitors know about the estate's colourful past?

The Domesday Book talks of a "William" living on the estate, then owned by St Werburgh's Abbey of Chester, now Chester Cathedral.

By 1430, the heiress was Gwladys. During the Civil War, Edward Morgan, a Royalist, is recorded as staying at the older hall.

In 1695, Wepre was owned by Basil Fitzherbert and the house was handed down through four generations of the family until it was bought in 1788 by Edward Jones. He demolished the Fitzherberts' house, building his own home on the same site.

After his death in 1825, the hall was rented out until 1865 when John Rowden Freme bought it and his family lived at Wepre Hall for 55 years during a time it became know for dances and parties.

Wepre Hall estate was sold again in 1920 with much of the estate sold off as building land.

Connah's Quay Urban District Council acquired the hall after the Second World War and what little remained of the estate for £10,000 in 1943. It was converted into flats, but by 1960 the district council demolished the hall before the estate was taken over by Flintshire Council.

Needless to say, owing to the history of the estate, there are a number of ghost stories attached to the park, in particular, the legend of Nora the Nun.

If you have any old photos or documents that could help illustrate the history of the estate, Gilly and Tom ask you to contact them at Wepre Park Visitor Centre.

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