Detective trail uncovers golden history

PUBLISHED: 11:03 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:26 18 April 2013

Golden Grove today

Golden Grove today


Looking into a home's history can sometimes lead one off on an unexpected trail of discovery. That was certainly the experience of Kerry Knapper and his wife Dilys.

The couple bought their home, prettily called Golden Grove, near Treflach, Oswestry, in 1974. But in recent times they were intrigued to find out where its name originated.

Kerry, who at the time was head at the little two-teacher church school at Morton, near Llynclys, takes up the story.

We fell in love with the house and bought it. As time went on we became more and more curious about how the house name came about. There were a number of broom bushes and laburnum trees, which became festooned with golden yellow flowers in springtime. This satisfied our idle wondering for a while.

Then, chatting to a local gardener, he learned the house was built in the mid-1950s for the Reverend Edwin Arthur Douglas Morgan, the rector of nearby Trefonen Parish Church.

Deciding to do some more digging around, Kerry visited the local history archives in Oswestry Library, coming across a file called Golden Grove.

Its contents revealed that in 1968 the Reverends estate was sold off at auction.

The list of valuable antique furniture, silver and porcelain was staggering considering the size of the house; it included family portraits and oil paintings going back to the 18th century. Among them was a particular favourite of Kerrys, showing Peter Morgan in powdered wig, grey embroidered coat and white cravat and cuffs. A collection of costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries, including a drummer boys red braid decorated coat from the 1700s with original buttons, also featured in the catalogue.

The Border Counties Advertizer, in its edition of 26th June 1968, declared in its headline 10,000 Changes Hands at Big Two Day Sale.

The sale catalogue was the key to resolving the quest to find the origin of the house name; they learned that Golden Grove was the name of the Morgan familys ancestral home near Llansa in Flintshire, built in the 1570s.

And so the detective work continuedfor Kerry discovered that the Morgan familys ancestral line could be traced back to Ednyfed Fychan, steward to Llewelyn the Great of Wales.

Said Kerry: The Morgans of that era are likely to have been caught up in the turbulence of Welsh politics and were no strangers to warfare. At the time of theEnglish Civil War they were fierce supporters of the monarchy, and through their deeds became known as the Fighting Morgans.

The Rev Douglas Morgan served the community in Trefonen and beyond as parish priest from 1917 to 1956.

In addition to his clergy work he had a great interest in farming and at one time raised Dexter cattle in the fields behind Golden Grove. It is said that he won many a prize at the Oswestry and District Agricultural Show, which he helped to organise in the years following the Second World War.

Added Kerry: The Elizabethan mansion called Golden Grove still flourishes in the parish of Llanasa near St Asaph. So too does the humble dwelling of a descendant of the Morgan dynasty. Appropriately, Mr Morgan named it Golden Grove and set it in the rolling countryside near Trefonen in Shropshire, reminiscent of the countryside where he had been born. n

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