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July 2021

THE WELSH HAT (Het Gymreig)

We all know the Welsh hat which is worn as part of the national costume, It is still worn by folk dancers and schoolgirls in Wales on St David`s Day but rarely on other occasions.


The Welsh hat first appeared during the 1830s and there are many examples which have survived. The hat may have developed from a number of types of tall hat including the riding hat, which ladies wore during the early part of the 19th century but there is no evidence which explains why, during the 1830s the tall hat with the stiff brim, which is unique to the Welsh hat, replaced the other types of men`s hat worn by many rural women in Wales at that time.

By the late 1840s the Welsh hat had become an icon of Wales and used in cartoons to represent Wales as a nation. It represented the image of a happy, hearty, healthy, hard working Welsh woman.As part of the national identity it was normally worn with the other elements of Welsh costume, especially the gown or bedgown or a Welsh “gwn neu betgyn” It continues in use as an icon of Wales in tourist literature

The tall hats are often cited as a deciding factor in terminating the attempted last invasion of Britain by Napoleonic forces in 1797 ( Battle of Fishguard). The French soldiers are said to have mistaken the women, seen at a distance returning from work in the fields, carrying pitchforks and wearing red shawls and tall Welsh hats, for a detachment of British “redcoats”, whose uniform included tall black hats or shakoes This is a possible misconception as the Welsh hat, in the form known today at least, didn`t exist until the 1830sand there is much evidence that the women were, at this time wearing felt hats similar to those worn by working men by at least the 1770s

19th century Welsh hats were made in the same way and the same materials as top hats.The shell was made of buckram, strengthened with shellac or resin and covered with black silk plush. Some were made of felt( originally beaver fur and later from other animal fur. During the 20th century most were made of card covered in black fabric. Welsh hats for children are made of felt and normally worn with a cotton or lace cap underneath


Another alternative hat is the Cockle Hat. A flat felt hat tied with ribbons on which the women balanced the heavy baskets of cockles gathered from the coast of Carmarthen Bay when taking them home to cook and then on to market.


A derived meaning of “Welsh Hat” is an ancillary stack, usually black in colour, attached to the funnel of a ship to ensure cleaner disposal of exhaust from the engines. This was used on several passenger liners by the Orient ine in the 1950s

I hope you have enjoyed our “Welsh millinery” journey and hope you will keep up to date with our website.

Pauline Howe

June 2021


Mold Castle consists of the remains of a Roman motte and bailey timber fortress built upon a natural hill. The first written record of a castle here comes from 1146 but it seems likely the castle we see today was built around 1100

Mold Castle wasthe largest of several castles erected by the Normans along the Alyn valley The castle builders were essentially adventurers, carving out their own small fiefdoms on the edge of Norman-controlled English territory. All we know about the founder of Mold Castle is that he was a Norman soldier whose name was Robert.

Over the course of te 12th-13th centuries the castle changed hands 5 times as the Normans fought with the native Welsh for control of the region. Owain Gwynedd captured it in 1147, and in 1167 Henry11 recovered it for the English. The last written record of occupation at the Castle comes from 1244. In the early 14th century the area was controlled by the Montalt family,but the last Montalt lord of Mold died in 1329. After this the castle was left to decay and lost its military importance.

During the Civil WarMold was captured by Parliament, retaken by Royalists and finally recaptured by Cromwell in 1648. In 1790 Castle Hill was encircled by stone walls by the Mostyn family and trees planted on the site to create a garden space. In 1890 the site was sold to Mold Council and in 1920 it was designd as a memorial garden in honour of WW1 soldiers from Mold.

Mold Castle is a fascinating site. Trees obscure the castle motte, but it is interesting to see how the site planned by the Normans evolved over time and was transformed into a public park and the Gorsedd Circle, looking for all the world like a prehistoric stone circle although it was only erected in 1923,adds a sense of history and timelessness to the site.

Pauline Howe

May 2021


According to legend, a church and monastery were founded in St Asaph in the 6th century by St Kentigern,bishop of Strathclyde. His successor as abbot-bishop was Asaph, a local saint whose name is found in neighbouring places including Llanasa.

The cathedral was founded in 1143 by the Normans, who had established themselves in Rhuddlan. Gerald of Wales and Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited in 1188 during their tour of Wales to recruit for the third crusade . They had spent the previous night in Rhuddlan, Baldwin celebrated mass at the cathedral before departing for the priory at Basingwerk. Gerald`s journal describes St Asaph as a small cathedral town.

St Asaph`s relics were moved to the cathedral from Llanasa church by 1281. There was extensive rebuilding from 1284 to 1392 using large quantities of yellowish sandstone from Flint and Talacre. Purple sandstone, quarried locally, was also used. Aspects of the design were influenced by military work being undertaken at Caernarvon Castle.

The cathedral was damaged many times, including in the 13th century and by Owain Glyndwr`s uprising in 1402. Restoration in the 15th century included the provision of canopied stalls (enclosed seats) the only surviving examples in Wales. The Civil war reaked further damage , and the tower`s upper part was blown over in 1714. Sir George Gilbert Scott masterminded the buildings restoration from 1867 to 1875.

Memorials inside include the tomb of Anian !!, bishop of St Asaph from 1268-1293, William Morgan, bishop from 1601-1604 who was responsible for the first complete Welsh translation of the Bible a contemporary copy of which can be seen in the cathedral.

The cathedral has a rich musical heritage and in 1972 composer William Mathias chose the building as the venue for a new music festival, now known as the North Wales International Music Festival which is held in St Asaph every September. He died in 1992 and his tombstone with its under-stated epitaph, is on the left as you walk towards the cathedral from the south gate’ ( opposite the Car Park)

The William Hill organ of 1824 has been enlarged several times, Electric action replaced pneumatic in 1966. An oak case was provided when the organ was enlarged by Wood of Huddersfield in 1998.

I hope you have enjoyed our trip around St Asaph cathedral, we are still unable to hold our monthly meetings but are hopeful that it won`t be too much longer, Stay safe everyone

Pauline Howe

April 2021

Kinmel Hall

Kinmel Hall is an example of a “calendar house” it has 365 windows, 122 rooms and 12 entrances.

Kinmel Hall was originally owned by the Reverend Edward Hughes in 1786 It was then passed on to his son, Lord Dinorben(1767-1852) and although Lord Dinorben had a son he was disabled and only lived to the age of 8 months after which the “Dinorben”title became extinct and the land was passed down to Lord Dinorben‘s cousin, Hugh Robert Hughes.

The present chateau style house, the third on the site, was built for the Hughes Copper mining family and was designed by W E Nesfield in the 1870s, The adjoining Venetian Gardens were designed by his father W A Nesfield and the Neo Palladian style stable block is attributed to William Burn..Materials for the construction were bought from the nearby LLeweni Hall and the building was completed in the 1850s

Ownership of the house has been dominated by the Hughes,Lewis and Fetherstonhaugh and Gill families and there are many heraldic shields displayed throughout the house which show evidence of the unions between these families

The property was last used as a private home in 1929 after which Mrs Florence Lindley, formerly headmistress of Lowther College at nearby Bodelwyddan Castle, converted it into a health centre for the treatment of people with rheumatism.

Post-war the hall became Clarendon School for Girls but after extensive fire damage in 1975 the school as forced to close and move to Bedfordshire.

Restored by businessman, Eddie Vince as a Christian Conference centre the house was sold at auction in 2001 but a proposed redevelopment failed to materialise, Since then it has been bought by another property company who intended to develop the property into a hotel but sadly these plans never materialised and the property now lies derelict.

The wider estate surrounding the Hall has been owned by the Fetherstonhaugh family since 1786 but freehold of the Hall was sold on in 2001.

Kinmel Hall was identified by the “Victorian Society” as one of the top ten at risk Victtorian and Edwardian buildings in 2015 and in 2021 the “Kimnel Resurection” campaign began with the aim of shaming the owners into either explaining their intentions, fully restoring it or selling it on. Pressure is also aimed at Conway Council and the Welsh government into helping to preserve the building, this is ongoing Let us hope it can be preserved and return to its formerly known name as “The Welsh Versailles” or even” discount Downton.


December 2020


This month we are back in Flintshire at Flint Castle. This was the first castle built by Edward 1. After the death of his father Henry111 Edward`s first priority was to strengthen the Monarchy and although he initially upheld the Treaty of Montgomery and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd as overlord of Wales his relationship with Llywelyn soon broke down mainly because he refused to pay homage to Edward and after his failure to attend various meetings with Edward the English resolved to make war on Llywelyn and when no answer was received from this threat Edward ordered his forces to assemble at Worcester for the 1st July 1277.

After assembling an army of 15000 strong supported by a sizeable fleet the first War of Welsh Independence did not last long. Edward marched along the North Wales coast and face with overwhelming odds Llywelyn withdrew into the mountainous Snowdonia area hoping to draw the King into a guerrilla type conflict but he was disappointed when Edward launched a naval attack on Anglesey compelling the Welsh to surrender in the Treaty of Aberconwy (November 1277).

Edward then began his building of a series of Castles commencing with Flint Castle.

There was no existing settlement at Flint when the English arrived possibly because the site was overlooked by higher ground, but Edward saw the proximity of the River Dee as a bonus for resupplying and the castle was built on a rocky outcrop that jutted out into the river with a moat which filled at high tide. It is thought that his inspiration for Flint castle was the French walled town of Aigures Mortes which was dominated by a large tower and Flint is the only one of his fortifications to have a standalone Donjon Keep.

A civilian settlement was constructed to the south of the castle.

The workforce for this castle were recruited from Chester, Devises, Lancaster, Lincoln, Nottingham, Stafford and Warwick

Carpenters, Diggers, Dykers and Masons were invited to join the Royal force or have their homes burnt!!

By the 25th July 1277construction was underway on the new fortress, The initial work was supervised by Richard L`Engenour but by November 1278 was being overseen by Edwards famous engineer Master James of St George and by 1282 the Castle was near completion.

After the 1276/7 War Llywelyn was allowed to keep the title Prince of Wales but forced into the humiliating act of having to pay homage to Edward 1 who also granted his brother Dafydd ap Gruffydd extensive lands mainly around the Denbigh area, for his support in the war. This ended when Dafydd rebelled against the English rule 1282 and together with his brother attacked the English which resulted in the 2nd War of Welsh Independence.

They were beaten by a superior English army and at the Battle of Orewin Bridge (1282 Llywelyn was killed and Dafydd was captured and executed having the dubious honour of being the first man to be hung,drawn and quartered !!

Flint survived the Overthrow of Richard III in the 14th century but in 1646 the old castle held out for 3 months until the garrison was starved into surrender

After the War Flint castle was slighted by the Parliamentarians and the structure drifted into ruin. Nevertheless, the site of the Outer Bailey hosted the County Gaol between 1785 and 1880. The headquarters of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers was based in dedicated buildings adjacent to the old castle from 1912 to1969.

Pauline Howe

November 2020


Believed by many to be a complete folly Gwrych Castle has a formidable history and there has been a house on that site for 1000 years and also a pair of Iron Age hill forts on either side. It goes right back to the time of the Druids and Romans and it was here that Richard 11 was captured.

There was also an Elizabethan house on the site named “Y FRON” (rounded hill) but this had become derelict by 1810.

Gwrych Castle was built between 1810 and 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh- Bamford-Hesketh in memory of his mother and her ancestors and incorporated an earlier house that had been in their ownership since late medieval times From 1894 until 1924 Winifred Cochrane, Countess of Dundonald, the Hesketh heiress, owned the estate and it became the residence of the Dundonald family( family name of Cochrane)The Countess left the castle in her will to King George V and the then Prince of Wales(later to be King Edward VIII) However the gift was refused and the castle passed to the Venerable Order of St. John.

In 1928 Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald purchased the castle for £78.000 selling the contents to meet the cost.

During World War 2, as part of the Kindertransport programme, the Government used the castle to house 200 Jewish refugees run by the Jewish Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva.

After the War the castle and estate left the Dundonald family and was opened to the public as a visitor attraction. Gwrych castle became known as “The Showpiece of Wales” and attracted many visitors also being used in the early 1950s as the training venue for the English World Middleweight boxing champion Randolph Turpin.

In the 1960s it was used occasionally by the famous motorcycle Dragon Rally and Medieval re-enactments attracted visitors in the 1970s.

Between 1962 and 1986 was a turbulent time with troublemakers causing much damage to the Castle and it closed to the public in 1987 . An American purchaser in1989 had plans to renovate the Castle but these did not happen and it was extensively looted and vandalised becoming once again little more than a derelict shell. Developers then tried unsuccessfully to build on site and eventually in June 2018 Gwrych Castle and its estate was sold to Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, a registered charity enabled by a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The man responsible for saving the Castle is Dr Mark Baker who as a young boy decided to do something to restore this place of mystery and history. At the age of 12yrs, in 1997, he founded the Trust with the aim of preservingthe Castle for the nation. Fast forward to 2018 and the caste is again up for auction and this time the Trust were able to purchase the Castle. For Mark though the Castle does not belong to him or the Trust, rather it belongs to the Welsh nation ensuring all decisions made are for the benefit of the Nation.

Now bang up to date the Castle has now been procured for the 2020 production of “I`m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” This time it will be King or Queen of the Castle.

Involving much building work and renovation which can only be good for the castle and a new chapter in the history of Gwrych Castle.

October 2020


This month we are continuing with the history of St. Winifrides Well in Holywell , which is also believed to be connected to St.Mary`s Well and Chapel in Cefn Meiriadog.

After the story of St. Winifride the spring at Holywell quickly became known as a place of pilgrimage and healing, It is the oldest pilgrimage site in the British Isles. From the 15th century it belonged to nearby Basinwerk Abbey.

The unique shrine you see today , along with the Well Chapel, is dated from c.1500. The buildings were reputedly funded by Henry Tudor`s mother Margaret Beaufort, after he had become King Henry V11in 1485.

The well is in a chamber which is open on one side, to the pool in which the pilgrims can bathe the upper storey houses the Chapel nave.

When the grandson, of Margaret Beaufort, Henry V111, came to the throne and during the reformation he caused the shrine and saintly relics to be destroyed but some have been recovered and are housed at Shrewsbury and Holywell.

In the 17th century, the well became known as a symbol of the survival of Catholic recusancy in Wales.

From early in their mission to England, the Jesuits supported the Well, In 1605 Many of those involved with the Gunpowder Plot visited it with Father Edward Oldcome to give thanks for his recovery from cancer or as some said to plan “The Plot”.

James 11 is known to have visited with his wife Mary of Modena in 1686 after several failed attempts to produce an heir to the throne and shortly after this visit Mary became pregnant with a son James.

In 2005 a museum and library were opened in the Victorian building, formerly home to the Well`s custodians.

Objects on display include a reliquary casket from c 800 known as Arch Gwenfrewi(Winifride`s coffin)

This is thought to be the oldest known object directly connected to a native Welsh saint.

Also on show are 17th-century chalice veils depicting St Winifride, signed by Mary Bodenham, she embroidered the veils after seeing her father-in-law, Sir Roger Bodenham, being cured at the well in 1606.

There is also a child`s bodice providing a rare insight into the clothing of the ordinary people at that time.

It survived because it was used to wrap relics of Catholics who were martyred in that era for refusing to become Protestants

St Winefride`s Well Shrine has recently reopened to the public with usual Covid restrictions.


September 2020


This month we are moving back into Flintshire to Holywell where we find St. Winifride`s Well and Chapel.

A Well reputed to have healing powers and a chapel are located on the site, a place of pilgrimage for 1300 years. The Chapel was built over the well in 1490.


Winifred( the Anglicised version of Winifride) was a 7th century Welsh woman, the daughter of a local chief and neice of St Bueno Her family connections mean that she is sometimes called a princess.

Winifride was pursued by a suitor named Caradoc, but when she told him that she had decided to become a nun, Caradoc flew into a rage and cut off Winifrides head with a sword.

There are different versions of this story one being that her head rolled down the hill and where it came to rest a spring gushed out from the ground. This spring and the well that later developed around it have been thought to have healing powers ever since.

Winifride`s uncle Bueno was passing and managed to reattach the head to the body.

He then called the wrath of Heaven on Caradoc and he was struck dead on the spot and the ground swallowed his body whole Bueno then vowed that if anyone should sit or stand on that spot and ask God three times for help it would be granted.

The stone on which he made this vow is known as Bueno`s stone and lies in the outer pool of the holy well.

As for Winifride she became a nun at Gwytherin (Denbs) Abbey eventually becoming the abbess she died around 660AD and was buried at the abbey but in 1138 her bones were carried with great ceremony to Shrewsbury Abbey which became popular as a pilgrimage during medieval times.

Reference can be made of this period in Ellis Peter`s novel “A Morbid Taste for Bones” in the Brother Cadfael mysteries

There is more to this story perhaps we can continue next month.


July 2020


As we are still not meeting for our monthly talks I thought we could have a stroll down the Vale to Denbigh Castle.

This castle was once the royal residence of Dafydd ap Gruffudd whose attack on nearby Hawarden Castle provoked the English king Edward 1 to mount a full-scale invasion so by 1282 Denbigh was in the hands of the king`s commander Henry de Lacy.

He lost no time in building a huge stone fortress with extensive town walls on top of Dafydd`s stronghold. But the Welsh weren’t finished just yet. The half-completed castle was attacked and captured and by the time they got it back the English had changed the blueprint.

They made the curtain walls much higher, added the imposing gatehouse and inserted an ingenious sally port, a secret doorway, so that defenders could leave in an emergency.

Unfinished maybe, but the castle continued to attract events of national importance.
In 1400 Henry Percy held Owain Glyndwr at bay for more than 2 years before rising up against the English crown himself.

In 1563 it was granted to Queen Elizabeth`s favourite and some say lover, Robert Dudley.
The newly created Baron Denbigh and Earl of Leicester made a few minor repairs to the living quarters but most of his energy was reserved for a grandiose scheme to build a church of cathedral-like magnificence inside the town walls.

At the outbreak of the Civil War it was Colonel William Salesbury`s unenviable job to defend the castle for the Royalists He held out for six months against overwhelming odds but was eventually instructed by King Charles 1 to surrender.

Salesbury and his men marched out of the castle with flags flying, drums beating and trumpets sounding and even their muskets were loaded!!!!

A castle with a fascinating history, well worth a visit where I believe they have sound effects provided by modern technology to evoke the drama of medieval warfare.

Pauline Howe.

June 2020


As I am compiling this month`s history interest we are still in lockdown but forever hopeful it will improve in the near future.

For this month’s item we have chosen our own Church of St. Mary which has a long and interesting history,

The parish church of Rhuddlan is mentioned in the Domesday Book 0f 1086 and the church on this riverbank was founded in 1301that is in the time when the river at this point was navigable and Rhuddlan was a port ,It wasn`t until medieval times, possibly the late 15th Century that a second aisle was built along with the west tower.

This is how the church remained until more reconstructions in 1812 and 1868-1870 by the renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott . The Bodrhyddan mausoleum was added on the north side in 1820
Much of the original medieval structure survives to this day.

Near the altar is a blocked doorway of Tudor design over which the date 1637 and the name Sir John Conway(1575-1641) is engraved. His wife was buried in the church`s north cellar in 1642 and the doorway probably leads to that vault.

Between the south door and west wall is a memorial window to the Rev T W Vaughan and when the wall was pierced for this window in 1934, two hollow areas were found within the wall . these contained remains in voids lined with clay and straw.

The churchyard contains a 17th century sundial and chest tombs from the same century.

On a lighter note!!

As you walk down Church street from the High Street on your right you will come across an Archway which leads to a pathway, known as the “Citch Catch”, dating back to the 1900s.

It was a short cut allowing the residents of Gwindy Street access to a freshwater pump which is situated on the opposite wall.

This archway is now cared for by the History Society and in particular Barbara Borders who is responsible for the planting and the begonia plants, kindly supplied by Dai, our President.

Recently it has had a” makeover” The Rhuddlan Community Group kindly supplied the paint and brushes and Barbara painted the arch black in line with all the flower planters in Rhuddlan.

It is now looking very smart.



May 2020


As we are still in lockdown, we were unable to hold our AGM in May, but our Chairman Richard has assured us that all reports are complete and as soon as we are given the green light, we will be holding a committee meeting to discuss the way forward and our 2020/21 programme This of course will be with our members safety as a priority

So, as we have no monthly talk to discuss we have reverted to more local history which I hope you will find interesting. Stay safe and hopefully we can all meet up again soon.

Twthill was built to a “motte & bailey” design and was erected by Robert of Rhuddlan in 1073. He was a relation of Hugh d`Avranches, Earl of Chester and the castle was designed to consolidate Norman advances into the North of Wales at the command of William the Conqueror Using this castle as a base, Robert subdued the Welsh and took control of much of North Wales. He established a borough at the side of the castle and by 1086 eighteen burgesses enjoying special privileges lived here, the buildings included a Church and a mint. Coins minted at Rhuddlan between this date and 1215 can be found in museum collections.

The motte and bailey castle remained in use for 200 years until Rhuddlan Castle was built adjacent to the site, on the orders of Edward 1.
Tradition has it that Twthill Castle was built on the site of the palace of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, king of Wales. Only the motte mound of the old castle remains today although impressions of the bailey can be seen in the surrounding fields. Much of the site has degraded due to the sandy soil conditions.

Pauline Howe

Point of Ayr Colliery, 11th March 2020

Rhuddlan History from 1190 - 1310, 11th December 2019

The Canalisation of The Rivers Clwyd & Dee - 11th September 2019

"Rhuddlan Past & Present" by Dai Thomas - 24th August 2019

AGM followed by "Keep The Home Fires Burning" 8th May 2019

Mortimer Family Poster

The Fabulous Mortimer Family -10th April 2019

Mortimer Family Poster

The December Event

The December Event Poster

The November Event

The October Event Poster

2019 Calender

The October Event Poster

Our 2019 calendar is know available at £6.00 it can be purchased at the Chemist shop in Rhuddlan from Friday of this week.

For more details ring 01745590900.

The October Event

The October Event Poster


The Abergele Train Disaster 1868

Train Disaster Poster

From Australia to Rhuddlan

At the beginning of May the RLHS received an email from Australia – could we help with a family history query?

The family name was EVANS. Our researcher set to work looking through copies of the parish registers and the Monumental Inscriptions for St Mary’s Parish Church and soon found some potential matches. Then down to the churchyard to photograph some graves. Thanks to the hard work by another member who had previously recorded the details of all the transcriptions on the gravestones in the churchyard, the locations were found. This would not have been possible without the gravestone recording as many of the gravestones are now difficult to read, broken or have even been removed, so without the societies help someone just looking in the churchyard would find it difficult to find or read the gravestones.

Photos were taken and emailed to Australia. News returned that Mrs Perry and her daughter would be in Wales for a couple of days travelling from Ireland via Wales to London as part of a book signing tour. Arrangements were made and our researcher met up with Gina and Georgia for a few hours on a sunny Friday afternoon for a guided tour of the churchyard to show her the graves of her ancestor’s and then a whistle stop walk around the village pointing out various buildings and areas of interest that their relative would have known. After a quick cup of tea in a village café Mrs Perry continued on to her next book signing location in Hawarden.

A few weeks later an envelope containing Euros and Australian Dollars was sent to the treasurer as a donation to the society to say thank you for the help and hospitality.

The society are always happy to help with any research enquires about tracing a family tree, finding out more about Rhuddlan or information about local sites of interest. Please email the society at for further details, or think about coming along to one of the monthly meetings.

2017 Christmas Tree Festival

This decorated tree is an entry by The Rhuddlan local History Society in support of the"Christmas Tree Festival " at St Mary's Church Rhuddlan on 1st 2nd 3rd December 2017.

2018 Calendar on Sale

The Rhuddlan Local History Society's 2018 Calendar is now available on sale at £5.00.

There are limited numbers of this calendar.

Don't lose out order NOW on 01745 590900 or purchase from our local chemist shop in Rhuddlan.

2018 Calendar Cover photo by courtesy of Haydn Parry
Cover photo by courtesy of Haydn Parry

Rhuddlan Wins Gold

Rhuddlan for the second successive year has won GOLD in the "Boldeuo in Wales" competition. Rhuddlan Local History Society's contribution to the event was a tour of Rhuddlan High Street explaining all the changes that had taken place over the last hundred years followed by a display in the community centre of old photographs showing these changes entitled" Then and Now."

The Chairman of the society Mr Dai Thomas would like to thank all members for their contribution to the event, and would also like to on behalf of the history society offer "congratulations to all other organisation who helped to make it a success".

Year Six Project Winners 2017

Every year the Rhuddlan Local History Society set a project for year six at Ysgol y Castell Rhuddlan. This year the project was to create a model of St. Mary's Church Rhuddlan.

The winner was Luke Jones -Booth who received a Cup ,aTrophy which is his to keep a £10.00 voucher and a copy of the society's book entitled " Peace and War" a book about life in Rhuddlan before, during and after WWI.

The runner-up was Darcie Kenway who received a Trophy to keep, a voucher for £5.00 and the society book. The judge was Mr Mark Davies proprietor of the model shop Rhuddlan who found the task of choosing a winner very difficult due to the standard on the models. The voucher were also donated by Mr Mark Davies.

2017 Year Six Winners

The Society would like to thank all the children in year six who took part in the project and also thank you to Ysgol y Castell for their support in allowing us to put forward the project.

January 2017

Chairman’s Report 2016

We have come to the end of a very interesting and successful year which would not have been possible without the full support of our membership and visitors throughout the year. So, before I reflect on 2016, I would like to thank you all for that support and also take this opportunity of wishing you a Happy New Year.

In our January meeting we had a talk and slide presentation by George Petry MBA on the life of Philip Jones Griffiths a Rhuddlan born lad who went on to become a renowned journalist and photographer recognised the world over for his photographs, in particular the ones he took while covering the Vietnam war. February saw a talk by David Waller on The Royal Mail in North Wales, it made you think how lucky we are today. In March we had a talk by Jane Brunning retired archivist from the records office entitled Crime and Punishment which included the story about the only man to be hanged in Ruthin jail.

April saw a presentation by our own Chris Grier who gave an interesting talk on Bodelwyddan Castle and some of its previous owners. May is the month we have our AGM, this was followed by a talk about Tool Makers entitled “The Early Beginnings” by Howard Green explaining that before you went to chop some wood you first had to make the axe. Although we did not have a meeting in June we did in fact organise a coach trip to the Ironbridge Museums at Telford including Blists Hill Victorian Town, this turned out to be a very enjoyable trip so much so we are thinking of running another one later in the year to a different venue, look out for it.

July is the holiday month when everyone takes a well deserved rest but no sooner it started it’s over we have August upon us and we had our fund raising Saturday afternoon in Rhuddlan Community Centre where the society puts on a film show containing photos of Rhuddlan how it was 50 to 100 years ago and also stories were told of happenings during that time.

A very enjoyable afternoon which was followed by light refreshments served by some of our members and staff of the centre.

September saw a talk by Fred Hobbs of Prestatyn formerly of Rhuddlan on the local industries in and around Prestatyn. At over ninety years of age Fred told the story all from memory, no props whatsoever a very entertaining evening. Hope I can archive that at that age.

In October we had Rufus Adams giving us a talk about Lloyd George entitled “His Early Years” Lloyd George was considered by university historians to be the greatest prime minister this country ever had, after hearing the talk they may have a case. November saw Jerry Bone give a power point presentation on WWI entitled “Trench Warfare”. To finish the year off we had Fiona Gale, Denbighshire’s senior archaeologist who gave us a talk supported
by a slide show about Archaeology in our local area. This was followed by our Christmas Quiz hosted by Reg Davies which consisted of items of yesteryear along with a few old photographs of Rhuddlan. A team of ladies, Molly Blake, Dorothy Sutcliffe, Deirdre Roberts and Jean Draycott won the quiz with total points of 22.

To end the year on a high we again published a calendar which was well received, so a big thank you to all who bought one. Our events for 2017 start at Wednesday 11th January at 7pm in Ysgol y Castell where our guest speaker is Marshall Morris and the topic will be “The Story of the Titanic”

So come along you might enjoy it’s £2.50 to non members

The chairman, Dai Thomas.

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Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 8/16 - The Role of Women


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 7/16 - Farming & Food


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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December 2016

Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 6/16 - Health and Welfare


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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November 2016

Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 5/16 - Rhuddlan Foundry


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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October 2016

Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 4/16 - Ships, Shells and Shops


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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September 2016

Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapter 3/16 - Before the War


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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August 2016

Rhuddlan in Peace and War 1911-1922
Chapters 1&2/16 - Introduction and acknowlegements
Cause and course of the war


Click here to view pdf

The book is available at £5.00 from Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.
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Ysgol y Castell photographic competition


"The society decided to sponsor year six at Ysgol y Castell Rhuddlan this year and future years,this idea was well received by the head mistress Mrs. V. Cotgreave and deputy head Mrs. J Evans.

The project was to photograph something of historic value in Rhuddlan and the society would ask two members of a local photography group to judge them and award a first prize and runner-up. All the photographs were of a good standard and it made judging a difficult task, after a period of time they came up with a winner and runner up.

The winner Bethany Hughes who received an engraved cup which she will hold for one year and an engraved plaque which she will keep, the runner up was Erin Roberts who also received an engraved plaque.

By sponsoring year six that means that every pupil who attend Ysgol y Castell and reach the final year will have an opportunity to win the cup, although the topic for the project may change each year." D.T.

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Winter 2016

George Petry Talk
Photo: © Barrie Mee

The Rhuddlan Local History Society welcomed Mr George Petry to introduce his personal thoughts on Philip Jones Griffiths with regard to his photographs and his book Vietnam Inc. Everyone enjoyed his lecture and the 13th of January 2016, it will be one of the highlights surely of the society. The guest was introduced by Mr David Thomas, Chairman of the Society, and he and the Town Mayor Arwel Roberts thanked Mr Petry for his lecture and slide show. Among the audience was Mr Gareth Jones Griffiths, Philip's brother, it was a pleasure to see him there.

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Autumn/Winter 2015

Calendar, 2016. Photo: © Barrie Mee

Calendar (pdf)

With this year coming to a close we would like to reflect on our achievements and success that the society has experienced.

The year started with a slide show and talk about “Old Rhyl” this was given by Maggi Blythin & Ruth Pritchard from Rhyl History Society, February saw a talk and slide show about the “Bone Setters of Anglesey” given by Dyfrig Hughes Roberts, followed in March by a talk about the justice system in 18th century Denbighshire given by the retired county archivist Jane Brunning.

April saw a sequel to a slide show given the previous year about local hospitals by our member Stephen Cooper, Ian Grant gave us an archaeologist’s and re-enactor’s view on “ Early Medieval Rhuddlan” in May, the AGM was also held the same evening. June / July no meetings were held. August saw a slide show and talk about “How Rhuddlan Was“ this was given by our chairman Dai Thomas. The August event gave the society the opportunity to raise funds for new equipment, which was very well supported and was much appreciated.

We started again in September with a talk by Jerry Bone this was about WW1 and was accompanied by a display of artefact from that period, also there was a display of Medals from both world wars brought in by Andrew Miller. In October we had Gwynfor Williams who spoke on the Foundry/ Iron Works circa.1860- 2000 which was also supported by a slide show relating to that time.

Mr Derek Bond [No relation to James ] gave us an interesting talk and slide show about “The Belgian Refugees in North West Wales” and to bring our programme to a close, in December we have our annual quiz which is hosted by our Reg, followed by a talk from Phil Ebbrell about comparing “ Rhuddlan & Denbigh” historically.

We think everyone who came to the talks/slide shows will agree that we covered a very comprehensive range of subjects so a big thank you to all our guest speakers who have all been exceptional and to all our members and visitors who attended.

This has been a busy year, we have produced a booklet about Rhuddlan before, during and after ww1 which has been very well received by all who have read it. A pamphlet naming all service personnel from the parish of Rhuddlan who served in ww1 and a Roll of Honour was created to honour those who went and that hangs in our community centre. This has been archived by a team of dedicated people, members and non members, as for the financial aspect of the project it would have been impossible without the backing of the heritage lottery funding.

Did we stop no we did not, to finish this year off we have manage to produce a calendar, this was introduced at our November meeting. The calendar shows photographs of old Rhuddlan, along with some events and of some well known and respected people from Rhuddlan.

This limited edition is on sale at £5.00, this alongside our book which is also on sale for the same price would make an ideal Christmas gift. Any one requiring any of these two can obtain them by contacting – Dai Thomas on 01745 590900.

The front cover of the calendar is here for you to see Acknowledgements to Kenneth Derringer & Barry Mee for their kind permission to use their photographs.

Dai Thomas, Chairman
Rhuddlan Local History Society

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Summer 2015

The book launch opening remarks from Dai Thomas, Chairman. Photo: © Barrie Mee

Dai Thomas, Chairman, with Rhuddlan Town Mayor and Denbighshire County Councillor,
Arwel Roberts at the book launch.
Photo: © Barrie Mee

Jerry Bone and Paul Young inspecting the new book. Photo: © Barrie Mee

Dr Jeanne Seager receiving the first booklet from the Chairman, Dai Thomas. Photo: © Barrie Mee

The launch of our booklet which has been funded by The Heritage Lottery took place on Saturday 12th Sept. at the Community Centre, Rhuddlan. It was a well attended afternoon which included our Mayor, Cllr. Arwel Roberts, Lady Mayoress, Awen Roberts, Members of Rhuddlan Town Council, the trustees of the community centre, invited guests and members of the public.

This launch was a culmination of a project which started with three elements over a year ago, comprising of creating a Roll of Honour for all the men from this parish who went to WW1, producing a pamphlet detailing not only their name, rank and service number but also their home address and finally the booklet which tells about life here in Rhuddlan before, during and after WW1.

The booklet which is bilingual was very well received by all who saw it and the comments received were very encouraging although that does not mean we will be writting another book any time soon, but we do have another project in mind so watch this space. The sales of the booklet which is priced at £5 have also been very encouraging and we will have stalls selling the booklet where ever we can including a stand at the open doors at St. Mary's Church Rhuddlan on the26/27th Sept.

Any one wishing to buy the booklet can contact the chairman on 01745 590900 or email: 

Dai Thomas, Chairman

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Photos: © Barrie Mee

The Rhuddlan Local History Society Book, Rhuddlan in Peace and War, 1911-1922, was launched in the Community Centre on the 11th of September 2015. The Mayor is seen in the company of the Society's Chairman, Mr David Thomas.

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HLF Project Update: Booklet

As you know the Society has for the past year been very busy writing a booklet about how Rhuddlan was before, during and after WW1.

The good news is, it has been completed, and the launch of the booklet will take place at the Community Centre Rhuddlan 2:30 pm on Saturday 12th September 2015.

The booklet, which is bilingual, will be on sale at a very modest price of £5.00, also on the day, there will be a pamphlet naming all the people from this parish who went to the War. There is no charge for this pamphlet, but if you would like to make a donation in the box provided, the proceeds will be given to the 2015 Poppy Appeal.

In order for as many people as possible can have a pamphlet, please refrain from taking more than one copy.

Dai Thomas, Chairman
Rhuddlan Local History Society

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Dai Thomas, Chairman, presenting an illustrated talk on the 70th Commemoration of VJ Day,
Victory over Japan, when Japan surrendered and the Second World War ended.

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Project Update: The Roll of Honour has been completed.

The presentation of the Roll took place on Monday 13th July at the Rhuddlan Community Centre. The Roll was unveiled by Sarah Hodnett, a researcher with the History Society. Cllr. Arwel Roberts, the Mayor of Rhuddlan, received the Roll on behalf of the local community.

In addition to the Mayor and Mayoress, the event was attended by Lady Langford, Members of Rhuddlan Town, Council, Trustees of the Community Centre, invited guests and members of the public.

Also, there was a pamphlet produced which listed all who went to war from this parish, including their home address, this was given free to all who attended. It was suggested that if anyone wished to make a donation this would be given to this year’s poppy appeal, many responded to that suggestion.

The launch of the booklet is expected to take place in early September 2015.

Dai Thomas, Chairman

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Rhuddlan Local History Society members at a historical re-enactment event at the castle.


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Unveiling of the First World War Rhuddlan Roll of Honour at the Community Centre.





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June 2015

From the Chairman

The Roll of Honour has know been completed and is ready to be presented to the community of Rhuddlan. The Roll will be received from the Rhuddlan Local History Society by the Mayor of  Rhuddlan, Councillor Arwel Roberts, on behalf of the community.

The presentation will take place at 11.00am on Monday morning the 13th July 2015 in the Community Centre, Parliament Street, Rhuddlan.

David Thomas

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May 2015

From the Chairman

The Booklet & Roll of Honour
At last we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not that of an oncoming train. All the English version has been proof read and all alterations have been completed and now is awaiting delivery to the printers, this has been made possible by a great deal of hard work by our committee and researchers which I as chairman is very grateful.

The Roll of Honour is now complete and has been framed all that remains with the Roll is for us to make arrangements for the presentation to be made to the people of Rhuddlan from the Rhuddlan Local History Society, this hopefully will be within the next three to four weeks.

As I am sure you are aware that the fete at Ysgol y Castell takes place on Saturday 6th June 2015 and our history society will have a stand there and will have some old photos on display. So if you are a member or not and can spare an hour to man the stand we shall be very grateful.

Also on the weekend 18/19th July Cadw are holding an re-enactment in the castle grounds, again we are displaying a stand there, another opportunity if you have an hour to spare it would be appreciated.

David Thomas


Rhuddlan David Thomas addressing the VE Day commemorations. Photo:SR Hughes, 2015.

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February 2015

We have been successful in our application to the Heritage Lottery for funding to a project which we as a society embarked on and were granted an amount of £7,100. There are stringent conditions applicable to accepting the grant which we as a society must adhere to.

The project which we put forward was to gather information about our village of Rhuddlan before, during and after the First World War and when we had the information, was to go about producing a booklet both in English and Welsh. All the information was got by a dedicated team of researchers headed by Dr. Jeanne Seager. Before we could use the information gathered we had to check and re-check to make sure the booklet when published was as accurate as we could possibly get it. The position at present is that the booklet has almost been completed in English text and the translation into Welsh will begin shortly.

In addition to the booklet, we are also going to produce a Roll of Honour, naming all the men who went to the war from Rhuddlan. This was a much more complex operation than was first thought, it meant going through no end of documents and record cards in the county archives to make sure the names were correct and the forces numbers were also correct and above all to make sure they were from our village, there were a lot of Jones’, Roberts’ and Williams’. At present the roll is nearly complete and when it is, the trustees of the local community centre have agreed to have it hung in a prominent place in their community centre.

We will keep you informed when the presentation and the launch of the booklet will take place.

David Thomas

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January 2015

Rhuddlan William de Freney, Saint Mary's Church, Rhuddlan. Photo: DO Hughes, Redstone Creative, 2012.

A photograph of William de Freney on our website, taken by Redstone Creative, has been requested to be included in an academic book about monasteries of the UK by a researcher based in Cambridge.

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December 2014

RhuddlanPhilip Jones Griffiths,aged about eight, (standing and wearing glasses) outside the darkroom at Fron Deg Studio with Mr Humphreys and the Tabernacle Sunday School. Photo: JR Hughes, Fron Deg Studio, 1944.

A PhD research student from the European Centre for Photographic Research at the University of South Wales contacted the Society about the early life of Philip Jones Griffiths, the worldwide renowned photojournalist.

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