A Wedding Gift

Another search of Welsh Newspapers Online has revealed that in summer 1884 the local paper devoted a good few pages to the wedding of Herbert Lloyd Watkin Williams-Wynn, heir to the Wynnstay Estate and his cousin Louise Williams-Wynn.

The Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales Register, 30 August 1884

There are descriptions of the weather, the bell ringing, the bunting, the flowers, the brass band, the arrival of the guests, the clothes, the marriage ceremony, a list of gifts and more. It must have taken a few copy writers to cover all aspects of the celebration. But it is to our benefit that they did, because tucked away in one of the many columns is a description of a gift of a large chiming clock presented to the said couple by the past and present employees of the outdoor departments of the Wynnstay Estate including, in the list of names, my great-great-grandfather William Freer, listed as 1st Kennelman.

The Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales Register, 30 August 1884

The list of gifts takes your breath away. It’s hard to believe what a young married couple from the aristocracy needed to set up home in those days: endless silver and china vases, plates, cutlery, paper knives, jewellery, the list is endless. I am particularly intrigued by a silver donkey inkstand, a silver mounted otter pole, a chain necklace of uncut carbuncles, a diamond goat with cats eyes, and a riding whip from a Mr Lane Fox. I wonder what became of everything?

It is interesting to read some of the account and imagine what a big event it must have been for the estate workers. I can imagine William and Mary Ann and some of the Freer children perhaps helping with the preparations, lining the route to the church and taking part in the ‘public rejoicings’ (held in the grounds of the estate) afterwards. The ‘public rejoicings’ included sports races, donkey and pony racing and music and dancing into the night.

A small find in the newspaper but a fascinating insight into the life and times of William and his family.

By Hanna Appleyard

Hanna Appleyard (née Nan Morris) is the granddaughter of Gladys Blacknell. Hanna has been very active in researching her family history especially along the Freer line.

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