Claire & Ben
"The Oriel Hotel is just a short stroll from the city of St. Asaph, located in the heart of North Wales. The city of St Asaph lies between Denbigh and the coastal resort of Rhyl. It is home to the smallest cathedral in Britain and is set on the banks of the River Elwy. Your wedding will be arranged and hosted by our experienced Weddings Manager. Our professional and attentive team will ensure that your day exceeds your expectations. We are here to assist you every step of the way to ensure your dream wedding comes true. With our reputation for impeccable service and fine foods we guarantee we have everything to make your day truly memorable. With mature gardens and acres of beautiful Welsh countryside surrounding it, the Oriel Hotel is unique and very special. Oriel dates back to 1780, originally having been a private country home. For a greater part of 1900's Oriel was a boys boarding school. The original name of the house was Bryn Elwy, which was changed to Oriel after Oriel College Oxford, which was attended by the founding headmaster of the boys' school. The Seddon family bought the hotel in 1998 and ran it as a hotel for 20 years.”
Oriel House The hotel used to be a private home before it was a school. It was called Bryn Elwy. In the 1870s the family there was called Thomas and in 1877 they gave the parish church a window in memory of Captain Thomas. I don’t know if it still has its brass plate but originally this was inscribed “To the memory of Honoratus Leigh Thomas, of Bryn Elwy, St Asaph who died 25th October 1876. This window is dedicated by his affectionate widow – Sophia Boydell Thomas”. This was not the first window that the family gave to the church as in 1872 The Captain and his wife gave one in memory of their son Whiteman Thomas who had died in India. This window was put over the west door.
By the 1890s the family there was called Fosbery. But on the death of Mrs Mary Anna Maria Fosbery (a widow) in 1915 the house became available to become a school. One of the sons of Mrs Fosbery was killed in Action in 1901. He was part of the Royal Irish Regiment and was only 30 years old. I assume this action was the Boer war. During World War 1 Mrs Fosbery had another son in the army in France. By 1916 it was a school under Mr R S Blencough, a son of Canon Blencough of Chester cathedral. At this time it was called St Philip’s School. I’m not sure when the name changed to Oriel House. I do note though that there was a school in Rhyl (Russell Road I think) that was operating under that name and also was described as “Preparatory Day & Boarding School for boys from 6 to 12 years of age”. This school was advertising in the Rhyl Journal in 1910 and so this predates the arrival of St Philip’s in St Asaph.