William JOHNSON 1813-1881 – The Fleece Inn

by Annette Edwards.

Life as a publican had its ups and downs.


ANN JOHNSON 1819 -1908

William Johnson was born in Rowley Staffordshire in 1813. By 1841 he was working as an overseer at the Dundyvan Works in Old Monkland. This would have been an important position as was an extensive iron works that could turn out 350 tons of finished iron a week.

On 6 July 1842 William married Ann Edwards in Ellesmere, his occupation was manager of iron works and his residence was Old Monkland, Lanark. The marriage entry names his father as Samuel Johnson and Ann`s father was Richard Edwards, they moved back to Scotland where they had three children, Anne born about 1844, Sarah 1846 and Samuel Richard 1849. Soon after the youngest was born they moved to Brymbo, and were living in Broughton Hall, where he was an iron master probably employed at the iron works there.  They had two more children, William Edward in 1852 and Elizabeth Jane in 1854.

In 1861 he was living in the Moss Valley, which back then was an industrial area, William was a lime burner and employing men in his works. He moved his family down to Cefnybedd where he was still a lime burner probably at the Llay Hall colliery. By this time his eldest daughter Annie was a school mistress and his son Samuel Richard was his assistant. By 1874 he had given up his lime burning trade and was the inn keeper of the Fleece Inn on Hope Street.

Life as a publican had its ups and downs.

Life as a publican had its ups and downs as in January 1875 William was fined for supplying liquor to an intoxicated person. In the court Inspector Wilde stated that he was informed that there was a fight at the Fleece Inn and that unless someone went very quickly there would be murder. He and another officer went down and saw a man whose head was bleeding. Mrs Johnson was trying to make peace. One man was very violent, and a woman had got on the settle for safety. The officer saw a great number of people, and he scarcely saw a sober man. There was a crowd of one or two hundred people round the door, and witness saw two women commencing to fight inside the house. They were pushed out, and fought in the street. He saw a man in a beastly state of drunkenness go into the house and walk up to the counter, which he took hold of to steady himself. He was at once supplied with whisky, and drank it. It was said that Mrs Johnson did not seem to care whether the men and women were drunk so long as she sold her drink. After a long case with many witnesses it was decided as this was the first offence the penalty imposed was only 10s and 5s costs and the license not to be endorsed.

The Fleece, Hope Street, Wrexham.

William died on 6 November 1881 at the Fleece Inn, he left a personal estate of £1266 7s 4d. The will was proved by Ann Johnson widow, Samuel Richard Johnson “Lion House” High Street, wine and spirit merchant, and William Edward Johnson of Cefnybedd, engineer.

Lion House, High Street, Wrexham.

In January 1882 the licence of the Fleece Inn was temporarily endorsed from Mr Wm. Johnson, deceased, to his widow.

Ann was still there as on 27th June 1884 there was an article in the newspaper.

“On Thursday a handsome marble timepiece was presented at Cefnybedd to Mr W. E. Johnson, engineer, son of Mrs Johnson, The Fleece, Hope Street, by his fellow workmen on the occasion of his leaving Llay Hall Colliery to commence business in Wrexham. Mr Edwards, the manager, made the presentation, which was suitably acknowledged by Mr Johnson.”

Early in 1881 their daughter ELIZABETH JANE had married JAMES MCLELLAN, a draper who was from Scotland, and in April that year they were living in 11 Queen Street. This is the last time they are found together in the census and no children were born in the Wrexham area.

In 1885 daughter Annie married William Whitaker who was also in the iron manufacturing trade.

In 1891 both Ann and her married daughter Elizabeth Jane were with William and Annie Whitaker and again in 1901 at Mytton Holm.

Elizabeth Jane Mclellan died 26 March 1907 at her sister’s home and their mother Annie Johnson died there on 19 March 1908 aged 89.


Mary Priscilla Parks was born in 1857 in Chester, her father William was a boat inspector   from Winsford and her mother was Elizabeth who had been born in Barrow. By the time his daughter married he was a shipwright living on Foregate Street.

In early 1881 Mary Priscilla married Samuel Richard Johnson and the same year they were living in Lion House on High Street, Samuel was a hotel keeper and wine merchant. By 1891 they had 5 children, Elizabeth A Johnson 9, William E Johnson 6, Samuel R Johnson 4, Mary E Johnson 2 and Philip Johnson 2 months old.  

Mary Priscilla died 1 May 1897 at Lion House, she was 38. About 1905 the Lion House was bought by the Midland Bank, it was extensively remodelled by the architects. The bank has now closed and is a Wetherspoons pub.

Her husband moved his family to Llangollen where he was the manager of the Royal Hotel for many years.

Researched by Annette Edwards. January 2019. Gravestone photographs by Graham Lloyd.

Wrexham Cemetery 07/03/2018
Wrexham Cemetery 07/03/2018

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery J-02773

Total Page Visits: 365 - Today Page Visits: 1