The history of The Quinta
There’s great back story to how The Quinta came to be the christian conference centre that we know and love today.
Here’s a little bit of the story of what happened.
The Quinta is listed as a ‘gentlemen’s seat’ in the Chirk Castle records in the 17th century. In the 18th century it was owned by the West family.
In 1798 Frederick West married Maria Myddelton, one of the three Myddelton heiresses of Chirk Castle. He built a mock Stonehenge around 1840, in the field behind the games field, which can be seen from Quinta drive.
In 1855 the Quinta estate was bought by Thomas Barnes, the MP for Bolton, Lancashire, a cotton manufacturer, who is described as ‘receiving parental training of an exemplary Christian character.’ He demolished the old limestone hall and built a new hall described in 1856 as ‘a handsome mansion.’
Under Thomas Barnes the Quinta became a self-sufficient estate with its own railway line bringing in coal either from local mines or the nearby Shrewsbury-Chester line. It also had its own gasworks and a fire engine was stationed in what is now Severn Lodge.
In 1858 Thomas and his wife Ann moved into the new Quinta Hall. The Quinta Congregational Church was also completed and opened for worship. Thomas Barnes funded the minister so the congregation were able to support many other causes. The Quinta Sunday School was built in memory of Ann in 1882.
After Thomas Barnes’ daughter-in-law died the estate was left to his nephew Harold Alfred Barnes. Unfortunately, due to mismanagement and exorbitant death duties, it was decided to sell the estate by public auction in 226 lots between 1929 and 1934.
Quinta Hall and its 52 acres of parkland were bought by Charles Price, who had been raised in Weston Rhyn and taught in the Sunday School by Thomas Barnes! Charles Price was the Liberal MP for Edinburgh, a Christian, and, along with Mr McVitie, started the famous make of biscuits.
Soon after purchasing the Quinta, Charles Price died, leaving it in trust to be used for Christian purposes – or, if sold, its proceeds were to be distributed to a number of Christian missionary organisations.
His wife continued to live at The Quinta, but in 1941 it passed to Dr.Barnardo’s, who ran it as an ‘Approved School’ under Home Office Supervision. Still run by Dr Barnardo’s, it became a ‘Community Home (Education)’ in 1972 and finally closed in 1980.
The Quinta Christian Centre opened in 1985 as a residential conference centre with Cloverley Hall Ltd as the new Trustees of the Quinta. A portion of the estate with office facilities, flats and houses are leased to Operation Mobilisation, a global Christian missionary organisation. Cloverley Hall Ltd later changed its name to Centre Ministries.