Poet Felicia Hemans’ former home, St Asaph

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Link to French translationPoet Felicia Hemans’ former home, St Asaph

The gates on the opposite side of the road are the entrance to the grounds of the mansion formerly known as Bronwylfa Hall. It has connections to two contrasting literary figures.

Poet Felicia Hemans lived in St Asaph from 1809 to 1828, at Bronwylfa for most of that period. She was born Felicia Dorothea Brown in Liverpool in 1793. Her father was a merchant. The family moved to Gwrych, near Abergele, when she was seven years old. Her first volume of poetry was published when she was just 14. She was married to Capt Alfred Hemans from 1812 to 1818.

Bronwylfa was her mother’s home. Her son George was born there in 1814. He had a successful career in civil engineering, including being consulting engineer for the railway through St Asaph.

Felician Hemans moved to Liverpool and then Dublin after her mother’s death. She died in Dublin in 1835. Her most famous poem is Casabianca, inspired by the legend of an admiral’s teenage son in the Battle of the Nile (1798) who had refused to quit his post as the warship burned and eventually exploded. Click here to read the poem.

Other works by Hemans which were popular in her lifetime include Welsh Melodies and a play called The Vespers of Palermo. She also translated Portuguese poems into English. William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott were admirers of her work.

An earlier resident at Bronwylfa was public notary Peter Roberts, who recorded local events from 1607 to 1646 in a chronicle called Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd.

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Footnotes: Read the poem Casabianca

To continue the Words & Music Tour, walk up Chester Street to the roundabout and turn left along Upper Denbigh Rd. The Dean’s Library is opposite the car park Navigation next button