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Erddig

1905 Cup and Saucer

1905 Cup and Saucer

Erddig’s, or Wristleham Motte and Bailey castle is sited on a hilled promontory at the confluence of the Black Brook and Clywedog rivers, on one side of which ran the 8th century defensive boundary of Wat’s Dyke. The hill was excavated in two places by deep ditches to form the Motte and Bailey which is a type of castle which consisted of a wooden keep, built on an earthen mound or Motte, with a Bailey or defended outer ward to one side. Both mound and Bailey were encircled by a deep ditch and the earthen banks would have been topped by a timber palisade and internal walkway for defensive purposes.

 

Erddig castle was probably built at the end of the 11th century and is mentioned as ‘The Castle of Wristleham’ in a pipe roll of Henry II for the year of 1161. It was built of timber probably because of its lack of continuing strategic importance so far from the border with the Princes of Gwynedd.

 

Currently the site lies in woodland to the north of the house and is covered in undergrowth and mature trees, but still accessibble by paths from the Erddig House estate.

 

The history of Erddig House estatedates back several centuries, and the estate is renowned for its well-preserved 18th-century mansion and extensive gardens. The Erddig estate has medieval origins, and the first recorded mention of Erddig dates back to the 13th century. The estate was originally owned by the Deeds family.Over the centuries, ownership of Erddig passed through various hands. In the 17th century, it was acquired by Joshua Edisbury, a lawyer and politician, who made significant alterations to the house.

 

The most significant phase in Erddig’s history came in the 18th century when the Yorke family, who had connections with the Edisburys, inherited the estate. The Yorke family undertook extensive renovations and additions to the house, creating the distinctive and elegant mansion that stands today.One unique aspect of Erddig is the emphasis on the lives of the servants who worked on the estate. The Yorke family kept detailed records and commissioned portraits of their staff, providing a rare insight into the lives of domestic servants during the 18th and 19th centuries.

 

The estate features well-maintained gardens and grounds designed in the 18th century. The gardens include formal parterres, a canal, and a wilderness. The walled garden is known for its collection of fruit trees.

 

In 1973, the Yorke family handed Erddig over to the National Trust, ensuring its preservation for future generations. The National Trust has continued to maintain the estate and open it to the public.Today, Erddig is a popular visitor attraction, allowing visitors to explore the historic house, gardens, and estate. The property provides a glimpse into the lives of both the wealthy family and the servants who lived and worked there.

 

The National Trust has undertaken conservation and restoration efforts to preserve the historic fabric of Erddig. The mansion, with its period furniture and artwork, offers a fascinating journey through the history of the estate. The focus on the servants’ lives and contributions makes Erddig a unique and important historical site.

 

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