The Aqueduct Inn, Froncysyllte

button-theme-crimeLink to French translationThe Aqueduct Inn, Froncysyllte

This former coaching inn is thought to pre-date Thomas Telford’s A5 road, which passes the front door. It’s named after nearby Pontcysyllte, Britain’s longest aqueduct, completed in 1805. Some workmen who built the aqueduct may have lodged in the four large rooms upstairs.

Coaches travelling between London and Holyhead climbed or descended the hill opposite the pub, before Telford’s road made the gradients less challenging. Tired horses would rest, drink and feed in stables where the pub’s car park is now sited. The kitchen occupies the area where stabling was provided for ponies which hauled locally quarried limestone. Most of the inn’s extensive front yard was acquired for Telford’s road, but the property still includes the bank opposite.

Renovation in 2020 revealed that the original building had been enlarged at least twice. The first floor was built on the previous roof rafters, and some of the old slates were still attached in 2020. The inn is visible in the old photo on our page about Froncysyllte canal basin.

In Victorian times, inquests and auctions were held at the Aqueduct Inn. In 1874 the landlord, Edward Jones, admitted being “drunk and incapable of attending to his business”. His brother drowned in the canal that night, and the Petty Sessions (court) heard that the inn had been in a “very disorderly state”.

A later landlord, Jonah Griffiths, had a drink problem. The inn’s licence was transferred to his wife Ann, whom Jonah assaulted more than once. In 1903, a policeman had to wrestle a mallet from Jonah’s hand at 1am. Jonah then said he intended to shoot his wife, the coachman and himself. In 1908, after assaulting Ann and stealing £5 in gold from her, he again agreed to treatment at a “home for inebriates”. In 1906, while suffering from “the after-effects of alcoholism”, he cut his throat with a razor in one of the inn’s bedrooms. Dr Morris Jones of Llangollen stitched up the wounds and Jonah was charged with trying to commit suicide – then a criminal offence.

Another law at the time banned consumption of alcohol in Welsh pubs on Sundays, except by people undertaking long journeys. Arthur Thomas and William Thomas, of Trevor, were fined for drinking at the Aqueduct Inn on Sunday 31 July 1910. They claimed to have travelled more than four miles (6km), but PC Davies discovered their journey was only one mile.

The inn is said to be haunted by a spirit which moves glasses on shelves and once caused a china bowl to fly off a shelf, just missing the barmaid.

Postcode: LL20 7PY View Location Map  

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