Wrexham Special Do You Know Part 3: Here are some more little known facts about Wrexham town and county. How many did you know?
Russell Crowe’s Grandfather
1. Ex-New Zealand cricketers Jeff and Martin Crowe are grandsons of Wrexham man John Crowe, who emigrated down under.
2. With this in mind, one of the brothers’ first cousins is actor Russell Crowe. He tweeted very recently that his grandfather is from Wrexham! (see photo)
3. 18th-century literary visitors included Samuel Johnson. Johnson described Wrexham as “a busy, extensive and ‘well-built’ town”.
4. Former deputy prime minister John Prescott went to school in Acrefair.
5. Renowned 18th Century scientist Dr Joseph Priestly married Mary Wilkinson at the St Giles Parish Church.
Three of the Seven Wonders of Wales
6. Three out of the seven wonders of Wales are in Wrexham County Borough. These are The Parish Church, Gresford Bells and Overton Yew Trees.
7. Wrexham Lager claims that it was the first company to export lager to far-off countries, including India, South Africa, the Americas and Australia. It was also the only lager available on the infamous voyage of the White Star Line’s Titanic.
8. The Racecourse Ground started out, as the name implies, as a venue for horse racing involving the Wrexham Yeomanry Cavalry.
9. Wrexham was a stop on the world’s first scheduled passenger helicopter service. Specifically, the line ran between Liverpool, Wrexham and Cardiff from June 1950 to March 1951. The Wrexham to Liverpool return fare was £1! The pad was on the site of Homebase, Plas Coch Retail Park. Thanks to Martin Rees Jewellers for this fact. (see photo)
19 Breweries at One Time!
10. Some say the churchwardens chiefly used the legendary network of tunnels underneath Wrexham town centre to ensure that everyone was in church on a Sunday and not in the pub!
11. Elihu Yale, a benefactor of the eponymous university in the USA, lies in the St Giles Church graveyard. (see photo)
12. Wrexham had extensive underground water supplies essential to the brewing of beer. Consequently, by the mid-19th century, there were 19 breweries in and around the town!
13. The Wrexham Lager brewery first appeared on Central Road in 1882. Subsequently, it became the first brewery in the United Kingdom to produce lager beer.
14. Wrexham is not on a major river, but lies on a flattish plateau between the lower Dee Valley and easternmost mountains of North Wales. This position enabled it to grow as a market town and as a crossroads between England and Wales. In time, it also developed into an industrial hub due to its rich natural reserves of iron ore and coal.
15. The average percentage of Welsh speakers (aged 3+) in the electoral divisions that make up the town of Wrexham was 11.01% in comparison to the Wales average of 19.0%. This is according to the last census of nine years ago. The average percentage of Welsh speakers for Wrexham County Borough Council was 12.9%. Significantly, the highest proportion was in Dyffryn Ceiriog (31.2%) and the lowest in the urban Wynnstay division (7.7%).
16. The town appears in a late-Jacobean Beaumont and Fletcher play, ‘The Pilgrim’ (1647). In it, the stock Welshman declares that “Pendragon was a shentleman, marg you, Sir, and the organs at Rixum were made by relevations”.
17. The town of Wrexham is twinned with the German district of Märkischer Kreis and the Polish town of Racibórz.
18. David Bower – the actor best known for his role as David, the younger brother of Charles, in the comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral – is from Wrexham.
19. Andy Scott – guitarist with 70s glam rock band The Sweet – is also from Wrexham.
20. 1985 snooker world champion Dennis Taylor lives in Llay.
21. A popular Wrexham belief was that if you stood on the centre stone of the druid circle in Acton Park and said ‘Judge Jeffreys’ three times while simultaneously turning around, he would then erupt out of the ground on his horse!
We hope you enjoyed “Wrexham Special Do You Know Part 3”. For the others in the series, please click here.