Over 500 Years of History
We are told that Maes Y Coed was built in the 1500s. We even have an original Jacobean staircase. You won’t believe how amazing the massive oak beams are in the barns. We even have a disused Waterwheel in there.
The Coach House would have been the dwelling for the Coachman of the house. He lived upstairs, with the coach and horses downstairs.
We are told that William Penn, the Founding Father of Pennsylvania, lived here for a while. His cousin John Wynne (1667 – 1743) , the Bishop of Bath and Wells, was born here.
“Maes Y Coed” or ‘The Wood Field”. This is still a good description of the site of the Coach House at Maes Y Coed, for this charming grade two star listed house nestles in meadowland backed by the wooded slopes of Moel-y-Parc. Hidden behind its Georgian facade are the reminders of its older history and these peep out at one in unexpected places within the house. From a study of the history of the ancient family who once lived here it is obvious that a house has stood on this spot for centuries. As with most gentry houses in Flintshire the earlier house would have been a wooden structure. “Maes Y Coed” as we know it today dates from the period known as the ‘Great Rebuilding’ era (1550 – 1650) when nearly all such houses were rebuilt in stone. Later the house was enlarged or at least given a Georgian Facade in the 18th century and this gives the building a well balanced and pleasing appearance.
The back portion of the property with its massive external chimney stack and very thick walls dates from the early period. The windows were originally mullioned and one partly blocked example remains. Because of a later addition to the house this is now in an internal wall. The width of the doorways in the house also point to an early date and it is good to know that many of the original doors including the six panel type remain, also some ancient hinges such as the ‘Fleur-de-lis/ ‘L’ and ‘H’ styles. A very interesting dressed stone doorway is situated halfway down the hallway. It has a rounded head and decorative features near the base on each side. Was this originally an outer doorway one wonders?
The main crossbeams in the ceilings of the ground floor rooms are chamfered in a style suggesting a date of about 1571 – 1589. The upper floors in the house retain their original broad oak boards, and there is a very interesting feature to be seen in two of the first floor rooms. These are two large beams obviously made from the same tree. These lie across the top of two of the internal walls and may be some kind of ‘wall plate/ their ends supporting the roof timbers.
The most intriguing feature of the house is the old staircase which is not used today except for a small portion which gives access to the roof space. Most of the stair lies hidden behind later alterations and partitions but near the present stairway bits of the older one peep out such as the end of a newel post and a slanting ceiling which shows its gradient. All indications point to it being a mid 17th century well stair. The part that is visible shows nicety carved newel posts and balusters and is very similar in design to that at “Wall Goch,” Nannerch. The upper portion of the “Maes Y Coed” stair is particularly interesting because the balusters divide two sets of treads. All look original and one wonders what the reason for this is. Was part of it a secret stair? Have we here a reminder of the days when this house was the home of the Wynnes, a Quaker family?
“Maes Y Coed” was owned by the Wynnes until the mid 18th century when it passed by marriage to the families of Salusbury, Jocelyn and Foulkes. John Wynne (1667 -1743), Bishop of Bath and Wells was a member of this family. Although born at Uangynhafal he spent his childhood at “Maes Y Coed.” As with most small estates, when it became merged through marriage with other property, the family chose to live in on one of their more grander residences and “Maes Y Coed” became a tenanted farm.
It remained the property of the Foulkes family until 1946 when it was acquired by Mr Robert Matthews. The Matthews family were no strangers to “Maes Y Coed,” Councillor Matthews’ grandfather, Edward Matthews had come to live there in March 1880.
The house was bought by Pete and Di, in 2014 and has been a labour of love for 3 years. Restoration of the Coach House started in 2015 and because of the Grade II* Listing of the house, the paperwork alone, took 12 months to complete. The connections to William Penn have not yet been totally confirmed by historical reference and are currently hearsay, from numerous local people insisting on references seen in local history books.