Allington, Hughes and Bate Manuscripts

Scope and Content

The firm was founded in 1826 by Thomas Hughes (d.1863) who built the firm's offices at 31-32 Regent Street, Wrexham. His son, John Allington Hughes, followed him in the practice and was joined in the late nineteenth century by Joseph H. Bate. The firm still exists at 10/11 Grosvenor Road, Wrexham having merged with David Hughes and Co in 1986. David Hughes and Co is a Chester-based solicitor set up in 1912. The combined practice became known as Allington Hughes.

Apart from the solicitors' own records, the collection also contains those of the Petty Sessional Divisions of Bromfield and Tale, and Wrexham County Court of which John Allington Hughes was the registrar. In addition there are extensive papers of the firm's clients.

Thomas and John Allington Hughes acted as agents for the Caia Colliery Company. The Caia Estate was situated near the village of Pontblyddyn, Mold, adjacent to the Coppa Estate property whose coal was already being exploited. The documents relating to the colliery date from 1839 to the late 1890s and follow the history of the estate from what we might calle today the "greenfield site" to it's lease to a local farmer when it was presumably worked-out for the purpose of coal extraction. the numerous bundles of correspondence and papers are mainly concerned with the payment of royalties, the relationship between the colliery and it's neighbour, tramways, and providing communications by means of the Wrexham and Connah's Quay Railway.

John Allington Hughes was also solicitor to the Croes Howell estate in Burton in the parish of Gresford. A.N.Palmer, in his 'History of the Parish of Gresford', says little about the house or estate except that Croes or Cross Howell is mentioned in John Norden's survey of the manor of Bromfield and Yale in 1620 and in Edward Llwyd's Parochialia in 1699. He also says i t seems to have been connected with the Pate family. There are monuments to them in Gresford church. Deeds relating to the estate amongst the manuscripts date from 1674, one in 1693 referring to an old and a new house. The Bellotts of Moreton, Cheshire, another family who owned lands in Burton, and who are mentioned by Palmer, feature in the seventeenth century deeds. The Pates' connection with Croes Howell begins in the collection with a deed of 1725. The names of Thomas Pate, who is a party to deeds in the mid-eighteenth century, appears as an inscription on farm buildings near Croes Howell. Family papers and marriage settlements enable one to trace the descent of the estate at least to some extent. The last Pate at Croes Howell, William, married Christiana Watson, daughter of Job Watson of Aldford, Cheshire, in 1783. After her husband's death, she married Thomas Boydell of Trefalyn in 1788. As Christiana Boydell had no direct descendants, her Croes Howell estate passed to a female relative who was married to a Joseph Thorley. Their daughter, Christiana Watson Thorley married John Sykes of Earl's Terrace, Knightsbridge, in about 1846. The son of this marriage, John Thorley Sykes, is the last of the family to appear in the documents. His letter-book and partnership agreement as a Liverpool cotton broker are included in the collection, as are estate plans of 1781 and 1791, the latter executed by James Boydell.

Another section of the catalogue has been given the title 'Randies Family Estates' for convenience, but concerns documents, dating from 1571, relating to property mainly in the parishes of Bangor and Marchwiel owned by a number of Maelor families. Apart from Randles, the other families which feature prominently are Probart, Rogers and Ravenscroft. Randles estates were at Bedwall Hall, Twll, Pickhill Hall and Porthwgan. Amongst the family papers is a maimed soldiers' tax assessment for the township of Pickhill, 1676. There are also the accounts and an agreement concerning the provision of a horse and rider by a cavalry class in the township for the Provincial Cavalry at Wrexham', 1799-1800.

Two sections are complementary, as both relate to families who owned lands in Stansty. The Edwards family who purchased Plas Isa, Stansty, from Lord Mostyn (Flintshire Record Ofice D/M/1719) in 1815 are seen from documents in this collection to have owned property in Hope from at least the mid-eighteenth century. The family papers contain a report on Llanfynydd Colliery, 1865. Richard Thompson purchased the Stansty estate from the Edwards family, and according to A.N.Palmer, 'The History of the Thirteen Country Townships of Wrexham' (p.194) remodelled the Hall between 1830 and 1832. Richard Thompson was the son of John Thompson of Westleigh, near Wigan, who took over the Ffrwd Colliery in 1824. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the solicitors' papers concerning the estate itself, apart from a collection of deeds relating to the Ffrwd Inn, in the parish of Brymbo, purchased by Thompson. Much of the section deals with documents produced by litigation, to which the family, who were prominent Roman Catholics, seemed very prone. Most interesting are those papers which deal with disputes concerning the cost of repair of the Bangor Bridge, c.1850, destruction of machinery at Summerhill Colliery in the 1840s, and a riot at Coed-y-Brain pit on the Ffrwd estate in 1850.

Messrs. Allington Hughes and Bate also acted for the trustees of the Vron estate near Mold. Robert Morgan, the owner, a relative of the Morgan family of Golden Grove, Llanasa, died in 1840. The collection consists mainly of the correspondence and papers of Rev. Evan Evans, the chief trustee, concerning surviving relatives, and the estate, mainly in Llanarmon yn Ial.

Even though documents of the firm's minor clients are arranged under the parish to which the records belong, they have been grouped together if they can be successfully ascribed to an individual or family. The Gresford section contains a collection of documents concerning the Allington family, of which John Allington Hughes was a descendant. In the extensive Ruabon section there is material (1799-1871) relating to the Clarke family, who later became undertakers (see DD/DM/451), Pen-y-Garthen, and Cefn Cottage. As one would expect, the entries relating to the parish of Wrexham make up the largest section. Broughton township is especially well represented, but there are a great many documents (211 items) covering the town itself and its leading inhabitants. The Cooper family, timber merchants and carriage builders, are represented, as are the family of William Overton (1813-99), Mayor of Wrexham in 1865. The Overton family papers start with the will of William Overton, grocer and ironmonger, father of the mayor, dated 1827. William Overton, junior, operated from the Town Hall Vaults, to which there are references, as a wine merchant, with his brother-in-law, Thomas Painter. There is also material on the Overton Arcade, Wrexham. There are many references to Samuel T. Baugh of Baugh and Jones the auctioneers. The son of Joseph Baugh, a shoemaker, he was clerk to Thomas Hughes the solicitor for a time, but entered into partnership in 1859 as auctioneers with Thomas Jones, managing clerk to John James. The collection also sheds light on the history of Grove Park School, Wrexham, with an inventory of furniture and fittings at the private school at The Grove in 1847.

The fact that the firm was the most successful in Wrexham in the nineteenth century is well reflected in the collection, which is a significant addition to the source material in the record office for the local historian of Wrexham and district.

Arrangement

Arranged as follows-

1. Allington Hughes and Bate Solicitors (Business records)

2. Petty Sessions Records

3. Wrexham County Court

4. Clients Papers

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. It is advisable to book in advance, for details and opening hours see http://archives.denbighshire.gov.uk/visit-us/. Access to some documents may be restricted due to Data Protection legislation, Denbighshire Archive Service will advise where this is the case.

Related Material

DD/DM/451