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St Asaph

"The houses in the principal streets are brick, and in general small, though neatly built; the streets are kept clean. The view of the city from many points around it, is particularly striking; its elevated position on an eminence near the termination of the Vale of Clwyd, crowned on its summit with the Cathedral, and having the parish church at its base, makes it a conspicuous object from every point of view, and the luxuriant grove of trees in which it is deeply embosomed give it a pleasingly romantic appearance. The surrounding scenery, which in every direction abounds with objects of interest and beauty, is seen to great advantage from the eminence on which the city is built, and from the high grounds in the immediate vicinity."
[From Handbook of the Vale of Clwyd , William Davis, 1856]

The ancient parish of St. Asaph consisted of 13 townships. From 1310, responsibility for the "cure of souls" in the parish was shared by the four Vicars-Choral of the Cathedral; and for this purpose, the townships were grouped as follows:

  1. Brynpolyn, Cyrchynan, Gwernglefryd.
  2. Bodelwyddan, Pengwern, Fanol.
  3. Meriadog, Wigfair (or Wickwer) - both in old Denbighshire.
  4. Bodeugan, Cilowen, Gwerneigron, Rhyllon, Talar.

On 3 August 1860, the townships of Bodelwyddan, Pengwern and Fanol were lost to the newly created parish of Bodelwyddan.
In 1865, the townships of Meriadog and Wigfair were lost to the newly created parish of St. Mary's, Cefn (which is in old Denbighshire).
St. Asaph is often claimed to be the smallest city in Wales.


  • A catalogue of the books in the St. Asaph Cathedral Library : arranged and classified by W. Morton.         London : T. Richards, 1878.
  • Amos's presentation guide to Rhyl (with view of the town) Rhuddlan, St Asaph, Denbigh, Abergele, Pensarn and Prestatyn.         Rhyl : Amos Brothers, 1887.
  • Austen, Joseph Harry.          Companion to St. Asaph / with map and illustrations;   St. Asaph : Hughes, 1898.
  • Bax,  P. B. Ironside.            The cathedral church of St. Asaph; with an introduction by H.A. James.         Bournemouth : Horace G. Commin ; London : Elliot Stock, 1896.
  • Breeze, Andrew.     Gutun Owain and Sawyl, father of St Asaph          Trafodion (Denbighshire Historical Society), Vol. 56 (2008), p. 59-64.
  • Brown, R L.     Dean Bonnor of St Asaph         Trafodion (Denbighshire Historical Society), Vol. 51 (2002), p. 113-123
  • Bryant,  Kenneth M.      Bishop Maddox of St Asaph      Country Quest. April 2007, p.17.
  • Brynbella, Tremeirchion, St. Asaph, Clwyd :         London : Sotheby's, 1994.
  • Evans, W. Gareth.     The Bishop of St. Asaph and his crooked methods' :     Perspectives on a century of secondary education in Wales 1889-1989, edited by W.Gareth Evans (1990), p. 43-58
  • Evans, R W.         An appeal against the Union of the Diocese of Bangor and St. Asaph.          London : printed for J.G.F. & J. Rivington, 1842.
  • Fisher, J.           Some place-names in the locality of St. Asaph          [London : J. Russell Smith, 1914].
  • Gray, Madeleine.     The diocese of St. Asaph in 1563         Journal of Welsh religious history, Vol. 1, (1993), p. 1-40.
  • John Heywood's illustrated guide to Rhyl, Abergele, and St. Asaph, with short excursions in their neighourhood.         Manchester : John Heywood, 1889.
  • Jones, J. Gwynfor.       The Reformation bishops of St. Asaph         Journal of Welsh the Welsh Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 7, (1990), p. 17-40.
  • Lloyd,  Howel William.          Anglicanism in the diocese of St. Asaph in the year of our Lord 1880         Oswestry : Woodall and Venables, 1881.
  • 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.
  • Parkins,  William Trevor.         A contribution to the history of the Consistory Court of St. Asaph          Oswestry ; Wrexham : Woodall, Minshall, Thomas and Co., Printers
  •  Parry-Jones, E.      St. Asaph cathedral and the bishop's palace        Country Quest. 34 (May 1994), p. 26-29
  • Pearson, Matthew J.         The creation and development of the St Asaph Cathedral Chapter, 1141-1293       Cambrian medieval Celtic studies, No. 40 (2000), p. 35-56
  • Pritchard, T W.        Archdeacon D. R. Thomas and the 'History of the Diocese of St Asaph' .        Journal of Welsh the Welsh Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, (1991), p. 62-74.
  • Purvey-Tyrer, Neil.         Lloyd George, the Bishop of St. Asaph and the Disestablishment controversy        Life and times of David Lloyd George, p. 153-61.
  • Putkowski, Julian              The Kinmel Park Camp riots 1919          Flintshire Historical Society journal, Vol. 32  1989     Welsh Journals Online  
  • Ridgway, Maurice H.         The church plate of the Diocese of St Asaph /         Archaeologia Cambrensis, Vol. 145 (1996), p. 1-14.
  • Roberts, Rev. C.F.(ed)         The St. Asaph diocesan calendar and clergy list, 1906       Rhyl : Published by Pearce and Jones, [1906]
  • Roberts, Raymond.         The St. Asaph and Rhuddlan six           [Connah's Quay] : [Raymond Roberts], 1992.
  • The Bishop of St. Asaph and agricultural education in North Wales :         Bangor : Jarvis & Foster, [1894?]
  • The churches of St. Asaph Rural Deanery = The Church in Wales ; [Diocese of St. Asaph].         [St.Asaph] : The Church in Wales, [1985?]
  • The St. Asaph clerical directory and church calendar, for the year of our Lord 1863 :         St. Asaph : Charles Hughes, Printer, 1863.
  • Thomas, D R.(Rev)        A history of the diocese of St. Asaph, general, cathedral, and parochial           London : James Parker ; St. Asaph : Charles Hughes, 1874.
  • Waddelove, E.           A Roman fort at St Asaph and the location of Varis         Britannia (Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies), Vol. 35 (2004), p. 115-120.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the St Asaph 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

The Cathedral (Ordnance Survey reference SJ 039743) dominates St. Asaph.
The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the Cathedral.

Diocese of St Asaph - on the Church in Wales site

The parish church (Ordnance Survey reference SJ 040744) lies a short distance to the west of the Cathedral, at the bottom of the High Street. It dates from the thirteenth century, and is dedicated to Saint Kentigern and Saint Asaph. There have been additions and alterations over the years - there was an extensive restoration in 1872.
The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the parish church.

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 St. Asaph :

Name of ChapelDenominationNumber of "adherents"
Not named - WelshBaptist53
Not namedCalvinistic Methodist381
Bethlehem - WelshCongregational70
Not named - WelshWesleyan85

Church Records

  • The following nonconformist registers for the St. Asaph 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 ChapelDenominationType of RecordYears CoveredI.G.I. Batch Number
Ebeneser, Gemmig StreetCalvinistic MethodistBaptisms1811 - 1837C101241
BethlehemPresbyterian / CongregationalBaptisms1810 - 1837C098501
  • The following nonconformist registers for the St. Asaph area are held at the Denbighshire Record Office, Ruthin.
    They have not been filmed; and they have not been incorporated into the I.G.I. :
Name of ChapelDenominationType of RecordYears Covered
Ebeneser, Gemmig StreetCalvinistic MethodistBaptisms1925 - 1938

Civil Registration

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

In the GRO indexes to civil registration, entries for St. Asaph are found under:

  • Years 1837 - 1851: St. Asaph XXVII. nnn
  • Years 1852 - 1946: St. Asaph 11b. nnn

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

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of St Asaph which are provided by:

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which St Asaph 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 SJ039743 (Lat/Lon: 53.256962, -3.442033), St Asaph which are provided by:


  • In 1831- the population was 3144.
  • In 1901- the population was 2000.
    [ Royal Commission on the Welsh Church - October 1907]


Archdeacon Thomas (1911) gives the area of the parish as 3444 acres.