Bodannerch, Rhyl

button-theme-slavesBodannerch, Rhyl

The house at the corner of Kinard Drive and Russell Road, now home to Rhyl Foot Clinic, was built by a vicar who inherited estates and slaves in the Caribbean. His son was Rhyl’s first station master.

TOld photo of Bodannerch showing its original sizehe Rev Benjamin Sandford, vicar of Farningham in Kent, changed his name to Benjamin Winston in accordance with the wishes of his grandfather, Charles Winston, who died in 1802. Charles was once attorney general of Dominica, where he owned two estates which he left in trust to Benjamin – but only if Benjamin changed his surname to Winston.

Benjamin’s records from 1823 show that there were 179 slaves on his Bath and Rose Hill estates on Dominica. The total had fallen to 144 by 1832 (the year before Britain abolished slavery), when the records note that six slaves had escaped and were presumed dead. At the time, slavery wasn’t viewed as incompatible with Christian values, and many priests owned slaves.

Charles’ will also stipulated that the estates would be passed down to Benjamin’s sons, including Charles Winston who became a barrister. The other son, Thomas (b.1815), was a clerk in the London counting house of his uncle’s business Reid, Irving & Co, which owned estates and slaves in St Kitts, Trinidad and the Virgin Islands. After running his own business for a while, Thomas became stationmaster at Rhyl in 1848. You can read more about him on our pages about the station and about the trough he commissioned out of pity for thirsty working horses in Rhyl.

On retiring in 1859, Thomas moved to live in Bodannerch with his father and stepmother. All three of them died in the house, Benjamin in 1866 (aged 81) and Thomas in 1889.

The house was three times bigger than the building you see today, as shown in the photo (courtesy of Rhyl History Club). It continued where you now see the neighbouring block of flats. Its large garden extended to what is now the far end of Kinard Drive. The vicarage was the next building to the north-east.

Christine Johnson opened Rhyl Foot Clinic here in 1999. She reports that shortly afterwards, she heard unexplained footsteps inside and saw the ghost of a lady in grey walk in and go up the stairs.

With thanks to Rhyl History Club for the photo. Sources include the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slave-ownership

Postcode: LL18 3DN    View Location Map