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The White Horse becomes the Myddelton

Writing in June 2012, Gareth Evans offers a different view of “The Myd”

The Myddelton on the Square with its distinctive layers of dormer windows has caught many a visitor’s eye. Sir Hugh Myddelton is supposed to have given the building its name and Sir Richard Clough, the distinctive Dutch style roof. The first buildings would have had mud walls and a thatched roof with few rooms or perhaps only one. The building, like all others around it,  would have served the needs of the market. It was a good site looking out over Market Place where frequent markets and regular fairs were held. From the fifteenth century, a great rebuilding occurred in Ruthin, as confidence returned after the Glyndŵr revolt. The black and white half timber buildings, so  characteristic of Ruthin, began to be constructed and The Myddelton building dates from that period. CADW date it to the end of the sixteenth century with much  seventeenth century remodelling. The owners of the plot can be traced back nearly to Glyndŵr’s time. The owners, all families who were part of the ruling elite, probably treated it as a speculative  development to rent, choosing to live in a quieter location away from the hubbub and dirt of the market. It was owned in succession by the Sergeants, Calffs and Moyles and one of these families built it. The distinctive roof was probably a later addition, and there is no sign of it in a 1714 print of the Square. Sometime in the 17th century, the property was acquired by the Langfords, who already owned properties nearby, next to the church. They may never have lived there but undertook building works and left their coat of arms in plasterwork which still survives in the building. They still owned the property in the eighteenth century, although no longer living in Ruthin. A scattering of references to their tenants survive. By 1670 Robert Williams is recorded living there. The building was at this time more substantial than the White Lion next door, having four fireplaces compared to the latter’s two. Peter Edwards, possibly a mercer, rented it at the end of the 17th and early 18th centuries. By 1692, it was an alehouse and it continued as such throughout the 18th century. The property was sold to Richard Myddelton in
1772, and the property document was endorsed on the outside with The White Horse. After the purchase, Mr John Jones, landlord of the White Lion, later the Castle Hotel, took over the White Horse building as well. However it seems that the former licensee of the White Horse and his clientèle did not take kindly to this take-over. Soon there was a White Horse functioning again next door, where today’s Bar Llaeth is and by 1809 there were two, the Old White Horse and New White Horse, the former presumably reopened by the Myddeltons to reclaim customers. In 1815, there were three White Horses suggesting some continuing grievances and the licensing justices intervened to rationalise the names.  The Old White Horse had become the Castle Arms bar by 1844 and this merged with the Castle Hotel in the 1870s. In Victorian times, in the 1860s and 1870s, the White Horse building was split into a confectioner's shop and the Castle Arms. By 1891the building again contains two businesses, a temperance hotel and Charles Phillips running the Myddelton Arms Hotel. By 1901, the temperance hotel has become Henry Joyce, the watchmaker’s shop and he was still there in 1919 when his shop was sold separately. In 1999 the Myddelton Arms was marketed separately and by 2003 was owned by Punch Taverns. It continued to trade separately until recently and is now reopened after a period being closed and for sale. The name has no long historic connection but seems to have been adopted as a transitory convenience; the only historic connection with  any resonance seems to be the White Horse.