Christmas at Erddig by Jane Redfern Jones
30th November 2011
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This lovely article has been provided by local Writer Jane Redfern Jones:

Think of Christmas at Erddig and the Christmas Market might come to mind, visiting Father Christmas in his grotto, or perhaps a Boxing Day walk through the frost covered gardens.

Christmas at Erddig Hall a hundred years ago was just as exciting and magical, but above all it was a family occasion, with Philip Yorke II, his wife Louisa (whom he had married in 1902), and their two young children Simon aged eight, and Philip aged six.

Over a hundred Christmas cards would arrive at the hall and Louisa would busy herself with all the cards and letters she had to write in return. Meanwhile Philip would be working on decorating the chapel. 

The band of the 4th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers and several choirs would visit in the days before Christmas, and friends would often stay up until Christmas Eve, leaving just in time to enable Louisa to do some final Christmas shopping in Wrexham.

Fast forward one hundred years and in the run-up to this Christmas you can take advantage of the opportunity to go inside the kitchens of the great house to see the staff preparing for Christmas, and maybe recall back to that time in 1911 when the staff would have been preparing dinner for the Yorke family.

I wonder what Louisa would have thought if she could have seen Erddig’s now famous Victorian Christmas Village and Market in her garden, with fifty wooden cabins and stalls selling all variety of gifts, food, drink and decorations, plus Father Christmas sitting in his ice palace winter wonderland. Perhaps she wouldn’t have needed to travel so far for her last minute gifts.

Erddig Hall will be closed Christmas Day this year, but for the Yorke family, Christmas Day itself would begin with a service in the chapel at 9am and then presents would be distributed to the servants; handkerchiefs for the maids and scarves for the men. The rest of the time was spent as a family. Over the next few days everybody would enjoy the festive season and look forward to the New Year and the dawn of 1912.

So if this Boxing Day, you take a stroll past Erddig Hall, you may like to think back to the magical Christmas of a hundred years ago when Erddig was a hive of activity, and the setting for a happy and traditional family Christmas.

Jane Redfern Jones 

Entry to the market is free and it costs £5 for children to meet Father Christmas. Open weekends in December 10am-5pm. Free entry to the house for NT members. Non-members: adults £2, Child £1, Family £5.

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