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King Williams Tower

In a wooded area on the edge of Garth Mountain, slightly to the east, stands King William’s Tower with attached gamekeeper’s house. It was built by G.H. Whalley, MP for Peterborough and at one time it was extensively used by the family as a hunting lodge or summer home. A staunch ‘Orangeman’ i.e. a Protestant, he claimed his ancestry from Edward Whalley whose signature appears on the death warrant of Charles 1. He in turn was a cousin of the famous Oliver Cromwell.

Whalley so-named the tower after William 11, who with his wife Mary, deposed the Catholic James 11 and the story is that it was built on the site of an earlier fortress, the cellar of which was used as a hiding place by Royalists during the Civil Wars. About half a mile away from the tower, on the edge of the Eglwyseg escarpment to the South of Llangollen, is a mound of stones, all that remains of a column built by Whalley to mark the coming of age of his son, George Hampden Whalley in 1872.

Whalley was born in 1813 and became MP for Peterborough. He was a well-known character in the Cefn district and invariably acted as chairman of the small eisteddfodau known as “Penny Readings”. At such a meeting at Seion, Cefn, he was in the chair and was instrumental in sending a letter to Mr Gladstone – on the instruction of the Eisteddfod Committee gathered there – which eventually led to Mr Gladstone launching his “Penny Savings Bank”. Mr Gladstone referred to this, in the House of Commons and said that the suggestion had come from “a literary gathering held in a remote village in Wales”. It was at the tower that Whalley died in 1878 and he is buried in the family vault in Ruabon Churchyard.

GH Whalley, took an active part in local affairs, he gave strong support to the Bill for the abolition of turnpikes which was of particular benefit to the Wrexham area. He also gave Cefn and Acrefair its first water supply, from the Sugn-y-pwll reservoir on the Tower road to Garth Mountain. It was at this time that the ironworks and collieries were busy, and Greasser was beginning the famous chemical works Monsanto now known as Flexsys.

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