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Penley lies in Maelor Saesneg, which is the detached part of Flintshire. It was originally a chapelry of the parish of Ellesmere, Shropshire, but it became a separate parish towards the end of the Commonwealth period. However, this status was short-lived, as it reverted to a chapelry within the parish of Ellesmere in early 1661, shortly after the restoration of Charles II. More than 200 years were to pass until, during the 1860s, it again became a separate parish.

Penley was in the diocese of Lichfield until 1920, when, following the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales, it was transferred to the diocese of St. Asaph, where it remains.

Towards the end of the 1939-1945 War, two hospitals were established in Penley, for Polish servicemen and ex-servicemen. Many of these servicemen later settled in the area; and more than 120, and their families, are now buried in the churchyard.


  • Cole, J. R.  and A. J. Parkinson.          Penley Old Hall, Clwyd       Archaeology in Wales, Vol. 32 (1992), p. 31-35.
  • Jones,  Keith B.  [and various authors].             Penley         [Denbigh : Gee & Son, 1999].
  • Pratt, Derrick.    A Penley register of the interregnum       Hel achau, 46 (1995), p. 14-17
  • Pratt, Derrick.           Penley's other missing register?       Hel achau, No. 48 (Apr. 1996), p. 5-7.
  • Pratt, Derrick.         Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Penley        c1980
  • Pratt, Derrick.             Perpetual curacy of Penley, Flintshire        [Shrewsbury] : Shropshire Family History Society, 1975.
  • Pratt, Derrick & Shirley            The spirit of Penley. 1 :          Ashbourne : Landmark, 2003.
  • Pratt, Shirley and Derrick.            A millennium history of Penley            Wrexham : Bridge Books, 2000.         

Church History

Ordnance Survey reference SJ 413400.
The original church was built "of timber, lath and plaister" in about 1538 as a chapel of ease to Ellesmere, Shropshire. In 1793 it was demolished, and replaced by a brick structure. After 100 years, this had become structurally unsound; and work began on its successor on 19 June 1899. The first service in the new church was held on 15 November 1901, and it was consecrated on 5 June 1902.
The church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene.

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"lists the following nonconformist place of worship in the Civilparish of Penley :

Name of ChapelDenominationNumber of "adherents"
Not namedPrimitive Methodist62

Church Records

From early 1657 to mid-1661 Penley was an independent parish under the charge of Rev. John Broster, who kept his own register book. After the restoration of King Charles II, Broster was evicted, and apparently took the register book with him - knowledge of its existence and survival only came to light in 1995.
Penley's main registers date from 1752, and initially they included marriages - there are just two entries for 1753. Then for some reason (possibly the tightening up of regulations following Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1754) no further marriages were recorded at Penley until February 1867. However, in the Ellesmere registers between 1679 and 1749, at least 22 marriage ceremonies are recorded as having taken place at Penley.
According to a survey which the National Library of Wales made in 1936, the register of Baptisms covering the period 1813-72 was still in Penley Church at that time; but it has since "disappeared".
Fortunately, the Bishop's Transcripts for most of that period have survived, and have been deposited in the Lichfield Joint Record Office, although the years 1847, 1850 and 1864-1872 are missing.
The missing Baptism register has been "reconstituted" from these BTs, and is estimated to be about 91% complete.

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.
    Flintshire Record Office has a copy of the "reconstituted" baptism register.
1752 - 1812
1873 - 1968
1867 - 1970
1753 - 1923
  • Clwyd FHS has published full transcriptions of the registers / Bishop's Transcripts (complete with indexes) for the following years :
1657 - 186417531753 - 1812

Bishop's Transcripts

  • Bishop's Transcripts for the years shown below have been deposited in the Lichfield Joint Record Office.
    The Flintshire Record Office, Hawarden, has photocopies of the Bishop's Transcripts, (baptisms only), from 1813 - 1863.
Deposited in the Lichfield Joint Record OfficeMicrofilmed copies
1752 - 1896?


  • The following have been incorporated into the I.G.I., as part of an "official extraction" programme.
Type of RecordYears CoveredI.G.I. Batch Number
Baptisms1813 - 1837C035841

Civil Registration

When Civil Registration was introduced (on 1 July 1837), the parish of Penley was assigned to the No. 1 ("Overton") 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 Penley 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 Penley which are provided by:

Historical Geography

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


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


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SJ417398 (Lat/Lon: 52.952377, -2.869221), Penley which are provided by: