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Rich and Poor

In 1841 the town celebrated the fourth Sir Watkin Williams Wynn's coming of age for three whole days with a procession through the town and a great feast laid on in the High Street. However, the feudal era was coming to an end. The new Corporation shifted power to Wrexham's businessmen and professionals. They built their new villas, while the gentry cursed the cost and inconvenience of their country houses: the Cunliffes left Acton Hall in 1905, Wynnstay was sold off in 1947 and Philip Yorke gave a run-down Erddig to the National Trust in 1973.

The 1851 census provides a glimpse into the gap between rich and poor. Twelve housemaids, a butler and under butler, footman, ostler and errand boy attended to the needs of the Cunliffes at Acton Hall. On the other side of town by the Beast Market, Robert Roberts and his family shared their home with four other married couples, six bachelors and a family of Irish hawkers. Near Croesnewydd, the poorest endured the meanness of the Workhouse and its meagre charity. Hardly two miles between the three, connected economically yet worlds apart.