Aberduna Hall is the home of Outside Lives Ltd, however, before the current property was built, there was an older house on the site, dating back to as far back as 1587 – this date having been inscribed on a beam carrying the initials E.D (Evan Davies). The house was home to the Davies family for generations, a branch of the Davies-Cooke family who own the Gwysaney estate. More importantly for our family history Aberduna Hall plays a major part in events around the life of Margaret Mabel Lloyd and her “husband” Vincent Beekar.
Aberduna Hall, Maeshafn Road, Gwernymynydd, Mold CH7 5LE
It is said that Oliver Cromwell was entertained here when he ransacked Mold Church, and that there was previously a Settle in the old house which was made from the very same bed that Cromwell slept in. There was apparently a daring rescue near Aberduna which is recounted in the history of Gwernymynydd booklet, detailing an incident where the son of Lieutenant James R. Davies Cooke fell into a mine shaft whilst out walking and was rescued by Zacariah Bellis of Gwernymynydd. Indebted to Mr Bellis, Lieutenant Davies Cooke provided brand new clothing for his son Wil, and also paid for the young boy to attend school in London where he learnt to sign and to read, having been born Deaf. Wil then went on to work in the pottery industry in Staffordshire, and led sermons in a BSL church in the area.
Around 1860, the older house was dismantled to make way for the property that stands now, and it was around this time that Aberduna became home to the Grayson family. Headed by Sir Henry Grayson, a shipbuilder and also MP for Birkenhead, the family spent a number of years at Aberduna. Sir Rupert Grayson, the son of Henry, tells of his years growing up at Aberduna in a number of his books. Bob Schofield owned the rights to his works, and created ‘Moving On’, which was based on the memoirs of the late Sir Rupert Grayson’ and in which the following passage appears:
A festival named Gwyl Mab-Sant was also celebrated yearly at the Hall, with people from the surrounding villages gathering to celebrate the life of the Parish Saint (St Berres). Food would be prepared for the district’s poor and the festival itself could often last up to a week!
The Hall then became home to Gwendoline Davies Cooke O.B.E and a selection of her records and papers can be viewed at Flintshire’s Record Office. Aberduna Hall is now the proud home of Lucy Powell and family and is also home to Outside Lives. Gwendoline Davies Cooke’s family also owned the nearby Colomendy Hall (now owned by Liverpool City Council). It is believed that the Cooke family bought Aberduna in around 1910 when the previous owner sold it. Margaret Mabel Beekar (nee Lloyd) was resident at the hall in 1921 census and named as the head of the household. At present we have no evidence to explain her presence but it is thought she was a “caretaker” and host for the hall until the Davies Cooke’s moved in.