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Hanmer

"This parish, anciently called Handmere, takes its name from a spacious mere, or lake, in form resembling a human hand, on one side of which the village is pleasantly situated. This fine sheet of water covers a space of seventy-three acres, and derives a great deal of picturesque beauty from the rich woodlands in its immediate vicinity, interspersed with highly cultivated eminences. .... The situation of the village, and the appearance of the country around it, are strikingly beautiful."
[ A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, S. Lewis, 1834]

Hanmer lies in Maelor Saesneg, the detached part of Flintshire.
The ancient parish of Hanmer consisted of the townships of Bettisfield, Bronington, Halghton, Hanmer, Tybroughton and Willington.
The parish was in the diocese of Lichfield until 1541, when it was transferred to the newly created diocese of Chester. In 1849, it was transferred to the diocese of St. Asaph, where it remains.
In 1836, the township of Bronington went to the new parish of Bronington.
In 1879, most of the township of Bettisfield went to the new parish of Bettisfield.
In 1948, the new parish of Tallarn Green was created out of parts of the townships of Tybroughton and Willington.

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Hanmer area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

Ordnance Survey reference SJ 456398.
The oldest recorded reference to a church at Hanmer dates from AD 1110. The church was destroyed in 1463, during the Wars of the Roses, but had been rebuilt by 1490. Four centuries later, on the 3rd February 1889, it was destroyed by fire, as reported in this vivid contemporary account:

"A heap of charred ruins now marks the site occupied by the ancient and beautiful Gothic Church. .... It was noted for its exquisite oak ceiling and pulpit, its magnificent stained-glass windows, and its fine peal of bells, all of which were totally destroyed. The fire was discovered early on Sunday evening by Mr. Kitchen, who, having as churchwarden occasion to enter the Church, found the carved ceiling over the north aisle in flames. Several fire engines from the district were summoned, and an abundant supply of water obtained; but the flames, fanned by the furious gales, spread with almost inconceivable rapidity, and when they burst through the roof the scene was one of great magnificence. Through the rich tracery of the windows the interior could be seen lit up with great brilliancy, pew and pulpit and reredos and carved roof blazing furiously. Canon Lee, at the imminent risk of his life, wrapping damp sheets around his mouth to stay the suffocating fumes, rushed into the Church, and proceeding to the vestry, obtained the registers, and returned with them unscathed, amid loud cheers. Lord Kenyon came down from Hanmer Park, and for some hours was carrying water and pumping at the engine. The tons of water poured on the fire appeared to have little effect, and presently the roof fell in with a terrible crash. Then the flames, which were momentarily buried, burst out afresh, and, running up the tower, obtained possession of the belfry, and as the supports gave way the bells fell successively with a terrific crash. .... The tower, now in a dangerous condition, and four bare walls, represent all that is left of this, the finest specimen of Gothic architecture in Flintshire."
[From the (Flintshire) County Herald of 9 February 1889]

The church was partially rebuilt, and was re-opened for worship on the 19th April 1892. However, the chancel was not rebuilt until 1936.
The church is dedicated to St. Chad, who is reputed to have baptised converts in Llyn Bedydd, a small mere nearby.

The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the church.

Nonconformist Churches "Welsh Church Commission - County of Flint - The Statistics of the Nonconformist Churches for 1905"does not list any nonconformist places of worship for the Civilparish of Hanmer.

Church Records

Parish Registers

  • 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.
BaptismsMarriagesBurials
1563 - 19601563 - 1837
(Incomplete)
1563 - 1935
(Incomplete)
  • These records are incomplete.
    Despite the heroic actions of Canon Lee, two sets of information were lost in the fire of 1889; namely marriages 1787 - 1813, and burials 1784 - 1813.
    The burial register has been "reconstituted" by copying the burial details from the Bishop's Transcripts, which are now in the Cheshire Record Office. Unfortunately, as the BTs did not include the marriages for the period, the marriage register could not be reconstituted.
    A marriage register for 1837 - 1888, and a burial register for 1856 - 1884 have also disappeared.
  • Clwyd FHS has published full transcriptions of the surviving Registers / Bishop's Transcripts (complete with indexes) for the following years :
BaptismsMarriagesBurials
1563 - 18121563 - 17871563 - 1812

Bishop's Transcripts

  • Bishop's Transcripts for the years shown below have been deposited in the Cheshire Record Office, Chester.
    In 1990, these Bishop's Transcripts 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 Cheshire Record Offices.
Microfilmed copies of BT's
1586 - 1838

Civil Registration

When Civil Registration was introduced (on 1 July 1837), the parish of Hanmer was assigned to the No. 2 ("Hanmer") sub-district of the Ellesmere Registration District, which was co-extensive with the Ellesmere poor law Union.

In the GRO indexes to civil registration, entries for Hanmer are in the format :

  • Years 1837 - 1851: Ellesmere XVIII. nnn
  • Years 1851 - 1930: Ellesmere 6a. nnn

(GRO index references have no relevance at the local Superintendent Registrar's Office)

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Hanmer which are provided by:

Hanmer - on wikipedia

 

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Hanmer has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SJ455397 (Lat/Lon: 52.951878, -2.812650), Hanmer which are provided by:

View maps covering the area of this parish and places within its boundaries

On Clwyd FHS's site there is a diagram showing parish names/positions with links to pages for the parish church

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

Population

  • In 1831- the population was 2731.
  • In 1901- the population was 1516.
    [ Royal Commission on the Welsh Church - October 1907]

Statistics

Archdeacon Thomas (1911) gives the area of the parish of Hanmer as 7222 acres.