Portraits of William Lewis Hughes 1st Lord Dinorben and his children
Old Kinmel - from a sketch by Moses Griffiths 1781
Wyatt Kinmel - Built 1791-1802
Hopper Kinmel Built 1844-1852
Kinmel Hall - St George Gate Lodge circa 1850
Hughes Family Gothic Mausoleum St George Church
Kinmel Hall - St George Gate Lodge 2020

1815 - 1852 Private House :: William Lewis Hughes

William Lewis Hughes (1767–1852) was born on the 10 November 1767 in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales. He was the eldest son of Reverend Edward Hughes and Mary Hughes. His early years were spent in Greenfield Hall, Flint and he received a private education at Felsted School in Essex.

In 1786, When William was 19 years old, his father purchased the Kinmel Estate for his growing family and they moved into a house called Old Kinmel. In 1791 Rev Edward Hughes hired Samuel Wyatt to build them a new house deeper inside Kinmel Park.

The "Wyatt" Kinmel was completed eleven years later in 1802. The building of St George Lodge and the gates which formed the entrance to Kinmel Park soon followed. The original buildings at Old Kinmel became a farm. During this time William became MP for Wallingford (1802-1831) and became a personal friend of the Duke of Sussex, brother to the future King William IV.

Marriage and Children (1st Lady Dinorben)

On 8 March 1804 William married Charlotte Margaret Gray (1784-1835), 3rd daughter of Ralph William Grey from Northumberland and over time they had two sons and seven daughters.

Children from this marriage:

  • Edward Hughes (born. 5 Nov. 1806; died 3 March, 1814)
  • Mary Martha Hughes born 1813, died unmarried
  • Eliza Anne Hughes, (died young, 1815)
  • Laura Hughes (died young, 1816)
  • Emily Augusta Hughes, (born 1818, died young)
  • Charlotte Mary Hughes - married 27 May, 1828, Sir Richard Williams Bulkeley, Baronet, of Penrhyn (died 17 May, 1829)
  • Caroline Anne Hughes, died unmarried 19 April, 1832
  • Frances Margaret Hughes (Oct 12 1814-8 Dec 1847) married 1835, Allan Legge, 3rd Baron Gardner
  • William Lewis Hughes, 2nd Baron Dinorben (Disabled) born 1821, died unmarried 6 Oct. 1852

Death of Rev Edward Hughes(1738-1815)

In 1815 Rev Edward Hughes died and the 48 year old William Lewis Hughes inherited the Kinmel Estate along with substantial wealth, business interests, land and property including the imposing Lleweni Hall and Cotton Estate with its 200 rooms and extensive lands.

Between 1816 and 1822 William made alterations to the "Wyatt Kinmel" mansion by adding four imposing columned entrances. Some of the materials came from Lleweni Hall which he had begun to demolish, presumably because the maintenance costs were ruinously expensive.

Social Conscience and Philanthropy

William Lewis Hughes and his wife Charlotte were known to genuinely care about the welfare and education of those less well off. He reduced rents for his tenants and in 1830 founded a girls school within Kinmel Park for the free education of girls with poor financial circumstances. Many later entered service at the House.

Royal Friends and Titles

The Duke of Sussex was a close friend of William Lewis Hughes and his wife Charlotte and he spent a lot of time staying with them at Kinmel each year during the hunting season.

When his brother King William IV was crowned on 10 September 1831, the Duke of Sussex used his influence so William Lewis Hughes was Created Baron DInorben of Kinmel. From this point forward William was known as Baron or Lord Dinorben and his wife as Baroness or Lady Dinorben. The title was hereditary along the male line.

The following year on the 15th October 1832 Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria), and her mother Margaret, the Duchess of Kent stopped at Kinmel for lunch and to see the Duke of Sussex. They were on the way back from a holiday at Plas Newydd in Anglesey.

Death of Lady Dinorben

Charlotte Hughes (1st Lady Dinorben) died on 21 Jan 1835 at the age of 51 in the same year their daughter Frances Margaret Hughes was married. William commissioned Chester architect Thomas Jones to design the Gothic Mausoleum in St George Churchyard.

Death of Mary Hughes (1743-1835)

In September 1835, his mother Mrs Mary Hughes died in Crosby, Liverpool. She was 92 years old. For the second time within a year William buried another of the important women in his life. She is buried with her husband in the family barrel vault at St George Church.

Marriage to Gertrude (2nd Lady Dinorben)

On Feb 11th 1840 William married Gertrude Smyth (1809-1871 ) at Kensington Palace. She was the sister of Colonel Sir John Rowland Smyth KCB (1803-1873), Equerry to Queen Victoria and sister of Penelope, consort of H.R.H. the Prince of Capua, son of the King of Naples.

William was 73 and Gertrude was 33, some fourty years younger. Their marriage produced two daughters, one who died young and one of which was Gwyn Gertrude Hughes (born 20th May 1845) who later inherited the Llys Dulas Estate in Anglesey and married a Baronet.

Children from this marriage:

  • Gertrude Cecilia, died an infant, 1843
  • Gwyn Gertrude Hughes (1845-1916)

The "Wyatt" Kinmel Fire

On 27th September 1841 the Wyatt Kinmel mansion was virtually destroyed by fire. It started in the private rooms of Lady Dinorben and was caused by a candle left burning too close to furniture.

The "Hopper" Kinmel (1844-1871)

In 1842-1843 William Lewis Hughes hired Thomas Hopper to rebuild Kinmel Mansion using the original foundations and outer walls. The stone came from the Storeton Hill Quarries in Wirral, Cheshire which also provided stone for the cladding of the Empire State Building in America.

Death of William Lewis Hughes, 1st Lord Dinorben(1767-1852)

William Lewis Hughes 1st Lord Dinorben died on 10 February 1852 in St Asaph, Flintshire, Wales, aged 84 years old. During his lifetime he had drastically increased the wealth, landholdings, business interests and social status of the Hughes family dynasty.

He is also remembered fondly for his philanthropy and charitable works. He is buried in the mausoleum at St George Church with his first wife and four of their children.

He was succeeded by his 31 year old son William Lewis Hughes 2nd Lord Dinorben.

William Lewis Hughes 2nd Lord Dinorben (1821-1852)

William Lewis Hughes, 2nd Lord Dinorben inherited Kinmel Hall Feb 1852 and died October 1852 aged 31 within eight months of his father. He is the last member of the Hughes family to be buried in the family mausoleum in St George. After his death the title of Baron Dinorben became extinct.

His step mother Gertrude, (2nd Lady Dinorben) erected a memorial tablet in the old St George Church giving the names of the six members of the family buried in the mausoleum.

Death of Gertrude Hughes (2nd Lady Dinorben)

After her husband and stepson both died in the same year, Kinmel Hall and Kinmel Park passed to Hugh Robert Hughes nephew of the 1st Lord Dinorben.

William is reputed to have disliked his nephew Hugh Robert Hughes who flaunted his opulent lifestyle and William did not want him to inherit his estates.

But where the Llys Dulas Estate was able to be passed along the female line, the Kinmel Estate could only be passed along the male line. This had been established by Edward Hughes.

Baroness Dinorben and her daughter Gwyn Gertrude Hughes (known as Gwen) moved to Llys Dulas in Anglesey. She died on 3 January 1871 aged 62 and Llys Dulas passed to her daughter.

Life and death of Gwyn Gertrude Hughes

Gwyn married Arundell Neave (4th Baronet) on 26 September 1871. Their marriage produced two sons, Sir Thomas Lewis Hughes Neave, 5th Baronet (1874-1940), Major Arundell Neave (1875-1915) and a daughter Mary Gertrude Catherine Neave (1872-1951). Gwyn Gertude Neave (Hughes) died on 30 Sep 1916, a year after one of her sons was killed in WW1. She was 71 years old.