"This parish, which is embosomed in hills, and surrounded by lofty mountains, abounds with lead ore, and very extensive mines have been worked for many years with considerable advantage to the proprietors. The village is pleasantly situated at the base of a ridge of hills, on the summit of which are numerous verdant tumuli, supposed to be the sepulchres of persons of distinction at some remote period." [From Handbook for the Vale of Clwyd, William Davis, 1856]
Gwaenysgor is one of the ancient parishes of Flintshire. Its two townships of Gwaenysgor and Carnychan are both mentioned in the Domesday book. The village itself, located on the hillside above Prestatyn, is very ancient - Neolithic man had a camp and workshop on the hill to the north of the present village; and there is a Bronze Age barrow on the top of the hill, beneath which a cremation burial has been found. The circular shape of the graveyard surrounding the church, like those around certain other churches in North Wales, suggests that it might possibly have been a Romano-British cemetery. A small bronze figure of a horse, dating from the Romano-British period, was discovered during excavations of a grave in 1875. A Roman milestone has also been found, built into the wall of the churchyard.
Beer, Adolph The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Gwaunysgor, County of Flint Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol.7 1920 Welsh Journals Online
Cerdded gyda hanes : Gan Roger Hadley gyda Ken Davies ; cyfieithiad i'r Gymraeg gan Bryn Hughes = Walking with history : with details of seven walks between, in and around the villages of Trelawnyd and Gwaenysgor, Flintshire, and notes on the history of the area / by Roger Hadley with Ken Davies ; Welsh translation by Bryn Hughes. Prestatyn : Cyngor Cymuned Trelawnyd a Gwaenysgor, 2000.
Edwards, Thos. Historical guide to Prestatyn, Dyserth, Meliden, Newmarket, Gwaenysgor, Llanasa, Talacre, etc. Prestatyn : John T. Burrows, 
Glenn, Thomas Allen. Exploration of neolithic station near Gwaenysgor, Flintshire 1914
Scarll, P. and J. Phillips. Trelawnyd and Gwaenysgor Millennium Trail Proceedings of the Dyserth and district field club, (2002), p. 20-22.
Williams, Joseph E. Dathlu canmlynedd a hanner - 1835 - 1985 - adeiladu capel cyntaf "Rehoboth" Gwaenysgor yn 1835 [Yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd - Cylchdaith Dyffryn Clwyd]. [Gwaenysgor) : [Rehoboth (Eglwys Fethodisaidd)], 1985
Ordnance Survey reference SJ 075812.
The Domesday Book entry for the village mentions a 'ruined church'. By 1254, the church had been rebuilt, and was valued at twenty shillings. It is a small building. There is a long southern porch, large for the size of the church, which may well have been used for occasions such as inquests and petty trials. There is also a small bell turret. The roof, which dates from the early fifteenth century, is a fine example of its type. The nave and chancel were at one time separated by a rood screen, which was removed when the church was repaired in 1845. There were further repairs in 1892 and during the 1930s.
There is a unique feature: a wooden arch some 6ft 3ins wide, which gives entrance from the porch. It had been plastered over and whitewashed, and was only rediscovered during the renovations of 1931. The arch has carvings of several of the symbols used by the early Christians, and is believed to have survived from the original pre-Norman church.
The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the church.
"Welsh Church Commission - County of Flint - The Statistics of the Nonconformist Churches for 1905" lists the following nonconformist places of worship in the Civil parish of Gwaenysgor :
"The church .... is distinguished for possessing the oldest and most perfect register in the Principality, and perhaps even in the Kingdom; it commences in the year 1538, at which time orders for keeping parish registers were first issued; the entries are regular and entire, and the whole is in excellent preservation".
[From Handbook for the Vale of Clwyd, William Davis, 1856]
The following Parish Registers have been deposited at Flintshire Record Office, Hawarden. They may be viewed on microfilm at the Flintshire Record Office, the Denbighshire Record Office, Ruthin, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. These microfilms are not available elsewhere.
1538 - 1983
1538 - 1970
1973 - 1995
1538 - 1990
Clwyd FHS has published full transcriptions of the registers (complete with indexes) for the following years :
1538 - 1812
1538 - 1812
1538 - 1812
Bishop's Transcripts for the years shown below have been deposited in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Around the year 1951, most of the Bishop's Transcripts which had been deposited at that time were microfilmed by the LDS; and the films are available on request at Family History Centres of the LDS.
The films may also be viewed at the Flintshire and Denbighshire Record Offices, and at the National Library of Wales.
In general, the Bishop's Transcripts are less complete than the parish registers.
Deposited at the National Library of Wales
1664 - 1850
1672 - 1850
The following have been incorporated into the I.G.I., as part of an "official extraction" programme.
They were extracted from the Bishop's Transcripts, not from the Parish Registers.
When Civil Registration was introduced (on 1 July 1837), the parish of Gwaenysgor was assigned to the No. 1 ("Whitford") sub-district of the Holywell Registration District, which was co-extensive with the Holywell poor law Union.
In the GRO indexes to civil registration, entries for Gwaenysgor are found under:
Years 1837 - 1851: Holywell XXVII. nnn
Years 1852 - 1946: Holywell 11b. nnn
(GRO index references have no relevance at the local Superintendent Registrar's Office)
Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R., Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: History Data Service, UK Data Archive [distributor], 17 May 2001. SN: 4348. Here is a gazetteer/finding aid plus a set of overview maps to accurately identify the position of parishes within the county