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"The town of Holywell is situated on the estuary of the Dee nearly opposite to Parkgate. ... It is built on the declevity of a hill gradually extending to the sea, the surrounding hills forming a kind of amphitheatre. ... The town of Holywell ranks the first in the principality of Wales. Its inhabitants are intelligent and enterprising, and few places can boast of society being better cemented, or good cheer and hospitality more uniformly practised."
[From The Histories of Holywell, Flint, St. Asaph and Rhuddlan, Poole, 1831]

Holywell is one of the "ancient parishes" of Flintshire. It originally comprised the townships of Holywell, Brynford, Bagillt Fawr, Bagillt Fechan, Calcot, Coleshill Fawr, Coleshill Fechan, Greenfield, Stokyn and Wellstone (or Trefynnon).
On 23 May 1844, the new parish of Bagillt was created from the townships of Bagillt Fawr, Bagillt Fechan, Coleshill Fawr and Coleshill Fechan.
In 1854, most of the township of Brynford was lost to the new parish of Brynford.
In 1983, the area of Wellstone was transferred to the parish of Brynford.


  • An historical description of St. Winefred's Well, at Holywell, Flintshire, North-Wales :     Holywell : Carnes, printer, [ca 1820?]
  • Articles of Holywell hunt.          Holywell : James Davies, [1835?]         
  • Articles, to be observed by the members of a society of tradesmen and inhabitants of the Parish of Holywell ... called, the Cambrian Band Friendly Society : Printed by E. Carnes, 1823.
  • Beer, Adolf W          View taken from Pennant's historyof the parishes of Whitford and Holywell       Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol.6  1917   Welsh Journals Online
  • Berry, David.     Walks around Holywell & Halkyn Mountain      Machynlleth : Kittiwake, 2003.
  • Book of reference to the plan of the Parish of Holywell (Hundreds of Coleshill and Rhuddlan) in the county of Flint : Colonel A.C. Cooke, Director-General of the Ordnance     Surveys.         London : Eyre & Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1871.
  • Bord, Janet.  St. Winefride's Well, Holywell, Clwyd           (with assistance from Tristan Gray Hulse).       Folklore 105 (1994), p. 99-100
  • Christensen, Mike.    Holywell town       British Railway Journal 40 (1992), p. 2-7
  • Daniel, Anne.    Ecclesiastical reflections of Holywell          Country Quest. 34 (September 1993), p. 5-9
  • Davies, Kenneth.     The Holywell and Newtown connection         Cronicl Powys, No. 63 (Dec. 2004), 25-34
  • Death of the Reverend Canon Williams M.A., Rector of Ysceifiog and Rural Dean of Holywell.         Holywell : W. Morris, pr., 1854.
  • Evans, R. Paul.    The Flintshire Loyalist Association and the Loyal Holywell Volunteers         Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol. 33, (1992), p. 54-68.
  • Holywell workhouse registers of births 1848-1917 and deaths 1848-1936.          [Flint : Peter Redfern Metcalfe, 2003].
  • Holywell hunt, 1835       Holywell : James Davies, 1835.
  • Holywell Young Men's Society  [Advertisment and constitution of the]  :         Holywell : Printed by James Davies, 1841.
  • Jones,  David R.           Jane Williams, Holywell        Canu gwerin, Cyf. 27 (2004), t. 48-60
  • Jones, J.        Holywell           Ashton : Printed by John Williamson, 1844.
  • Jones, Kath.    The miracle at Holywell      Country Quest. April 2007, p.28-29
  • Jones, Tim.     The Holywell Workhouses   Tim Jones, 1995.
  • Jones, Tim.     Living conditions in 19th Century Holywell      Tim Jones, 1995.
  • Lloyd, Tecwyn.   Holywell's literary connections       Country Quest (June 1995), p. 22-3
  • Lloyd-Roberts, Tom.     A modern 'miracle' at saint's well       Country Quest 33/4 (1992), p. 18-19
  • Louis (?), M L.   Gleanings of a tour in North Wales from the Great 'Orms Head, through Abergele, St. Asaph, Holywell, and Chester, to the Isle of Man, with topographical remarks    Liverpool : printed by W. Bethell, 1824.  
  • Manley,  J. F.  and J. M. Lewis.    A collection of Medieval artefacts found near Holywell, Clwyd /     Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, Vol. 34 (1987), p. 270-282
  • Matthews, E. Gwynn.      Holywell and the 'Marseillaise'         Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol. 38, (2010), p. 117-131
  • Mawdsley, John.     The legend of St. Winifred and tales of the ruins of Basingwerk         Liverpool : Arthur Newling, [1846]
  • Metcalfe, Peter.       Pendref Wesleyan Chapel, Holywell, centenary celebration      Hel achau, No. 70 (Oct. 2001), p. 26-32. (
  • Nash, Paddy.    The Holywell connection        The Old Faith = Yr Hen Ffydd, No. 4 (September 2000), 21-23.
  • Nichol,  D.  and R. D. W. Lowman.     Impacts of abandoned base metal mine workings around Holywell      Urban geology in Wales p.131-136.
  • On seeing the Holywell Volunteers exercise.          Holywell : Printed by E. Carnes, [ca. 1795]
  • Owen, Edward          The Monastery of Basingwerk, at the period of its dissolution        Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol.7  1920   Welsh Journals Online 
  • Pennant, Thomas.       The history of the parishes of Whiteford and Holywell.         [Mold] : Clwyd County Council, Library and Museum Service, 1988.
  • Poole, J.   Gleanings of the histories of Holywell, Flint, Saint Asaph, and Rhuddlan       Holywell : J. Davies, 1831.
  • Regulations. For the Loyal Holywell Volunteers.          [Holywell] : Printed by E. Carnes. Holywell, 1797.
  • Roberts, Dewi.      Baron Corvo and his Holywell escapades       Country Quest. 34 (October 1993), p. 16-17
  • Rules for the government of the Flintshire Dispensary :         Holywell : Printed by J. Davies, [1842?]
  • Tennant, Rowland.       A history of Holywell and Greenfield         Wrexham : Bridge Books, 2007.
  • The borough guide to Holywell (North Wales) :         Cheltenham : Ed. J. Burrows, [191-?]
  • The story of Pantasaph : the monastery, Pantasaph, Holywell.          New and revised edition.         [S.l. : s.n., 19--?]
  • The worship of St. Wenefride, "The Patroness of Wales" /          Holywell : Published for the author by P.M. Evans, [1882]
  • Thomas, David.         Holywell Parish Church, Flintshire       Holywell : County Herald, 1947
  • Thomas, David.       The parish of Holywell         Rhyl : Clwyd Press Ltd., 1964.
  • Thomas, J R.           The tramways and railways to Holywell         [Chester?] : J.R. Thomas, 1995.
  • Veysey, A. Geoffrey.    The Holywell Hunt          Clwyd Historian = Hanes Bro Clwyd. No. 37 (Autumn 1996), p. 2-7
  • Wilkes, David.     Holywell and district        Market Drayton : S.B. Publications, 1992
  • Wilkes, David Robert.      Holywell in old picture postcards        Zaltbommel : European Library, 1990.
  • Williams, C R             Thomas Norbury's letters 1806/22         Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol.26  1973/74     Welsh Journals Online
  • Williams, Glanmor          St Winifred's well: Ffynnon Wenfrew          Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol. 36    2003   Welsh Journals Online  
  • Winstanley, Paul.     The watchmakers of Holywell      Hel achau, No. 57 (Aug. 1998), p. 36-37. (



In addition to the churchyard of St. James Parish Church, there is a public cemetery in Fron Park Road.
The cemetery, which was opened about 1910, is still in use, and is administered by Flintshire County Council. The opening time is 8.00 a.m. until sunset.
The cemetery records, from 1910 to 1927, and from 1936 to date, are held at the Flintshire County offices in Flint.
Researchers who wish to see the cemetery records must make a prior appointment, by contacting :

  • Flintshire County Council,
    Housing and Community Services,
    Cemeteries Section,
    County Offices,
    CH6 5BD.

    Tel: 01352 703360
    Fax: 01352 703373


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Holywell area or see them printed on a map.

Church History

Ordnance Survey reference SJ 185763
The church in Holywell was founded bt St. Beuno during the seventh century, and was dedicated to St. Winifred, his niece, for many centuries. However, after extensive rebuilding in 1769/1770, it was re-dedicated to St. James the Apostle. There was a further renovation, including a considerable amount of rebuilding and alteration, during 1884/1885.

The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the church.

There is a district church at Greenfield.

Nonconformist Churches "Welsh Church Commission - County of Flint - The Statistics of the Nonconformist Churches for 1905"lists the following nonconformist places of worship in the Civilparish of "Holywell Urban District":

Name of Chapel Denomination Number of "adherents"
Bethel - Welsh Baptist 230
Rehoboth Calvinistic Methodist 476
Penymaes Calvinistic Methodist Not stated
Chapel Street - Welsh Congregational 298
Tabernacle - English Congregational 130
Not named English Presbyterian 135
Pendre - Welsh Wesleyan 305


Church Records

  • The following nonconformist registers for the Holywell area are held at the Public Record Office, Kew.
    They may be viewed on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres; and at the Flintshire Record Office, the Denbighshire Record Office and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
    They have also been incorporated into the I.G.I., as part of an "official extraction" programme :
Name of Chapel Denomination Type of Record Years Covered I.G.I. Batch Number
Rehoboth Calvinistic Methodist Births and Baptisms 1809 - 1837 C098191
Seion, Chapel Street Congregational Births and Baptisms 1800 - 1837 C098511
Pendre, Chester Road Wesleyan Births and Baptisms 1809 - 1837 C098401
  • The following nonconformist registers for the Holywell area are held at the Flintshire Record Office, Hawarden.
    They have not been filmed; and they have not been incorporated into the I.G.I. :
Name of Chapel Denomination Type of Record Years Covered
Tabernacle Congregational Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1867 - 1986
Spring Gardens English Presbyterian Baptisms 1951 - 1971


Civil Registration

When Civil Registration was introduced (on 1 July 1837), the parish of Holywell was assigned to the No. 2 ("Holywell") 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 Holywell 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)

You can see pictures of Holywell which are provided by:

Historical Geography

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

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Holywell to another place.


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

Map of the road from St Asaph to Greenfield            Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol.9  1922   Welsh Journals Online


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SJ184760 (Lat/Lon: 53.274670, -3.225170), Holywell which are provided by:


  • In 1831- the population was 8969.
  • In 1901- the population was 4972.
    [ Royal Commission on the Welsh Church - October 1907]



Archdeacon Thomas (1911) gives the area of the parish, including Greenfield, as 3200 acres.