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Early history of Wrexham

Evidence of human activity in the Wrexham area have been found as far back as 8000 years ago.

Evidence of human activity in the Wrexham area have been found as far back as 8000 years ago. However the first known settlement was known as Wristleham Castle, which was a motte and bailey located in what is now known as Erddig Park, in 1161.

The town became part of the county of Denbighshire when it was created in 1536. Wrexham was divided into two distinct townships, Wrexham Regis (which was under the control of the King) and Wrexham Abbot (generally the older parts of the town, which originally belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey at nearby Llangollen).

In the 18th century Wrexham was known for its leather industry. There were skinners and tanners in the town. The horns from cattle were used to make things like combs and buttons. There was also a nail making industry in Wrexham. In the mid-18th century Wrexham was no more than a small market town with a population of perhaps 2,000. However in the late 18th century Wrexham grew rapidly as it became one of the pioneers of the industrial revolution.

In the late 18th century Wrexham was transformed by the coming of the industrial revolution. It began when the famous entrepreneur John Wilkinson (1728-1808) known as 'Iron Mad Wilkinson' opened Bersham Ironworks in 1762. In 1793 he opened a smelting plant at Brymbo.

Wrexham gained its first newspaper in 1848. The Market Hall was built in 1848, and in 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was founded.

It was home to a large number of breweries and tanning became one of Wrexham's main industries, due to its history as a market town. In the mid 19th century Wrexham was granted borough status.

 

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