The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

In 1868, the parish of Denbigh contained the following places:

"DENBIGH, a parish, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough of Denbighshire. It is situated in 53° 10' N. lat. and 3° 23' W. long., being 30 miles W. of Chester. It has a station on the Vale of Clwyd and Denbigh railway. The population of the borough, which includes part of Henllan and Llanrhwaidr-yn-Kimmerch is 5,946; in 1851 it was 5,498. The number of inhabited houses is 1,261. The present castle of Denbigh was built by Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who on the death of Llewellyn received a grant of the lordship of Denbigh from Edward I.; Edward also incorporated the town. Edward IV. was besieged in the castle by the Lancastrians, but made his escape before its surrender. About the middle of the 16th century the old town, which was situated around the summit of the hill, was demolished, and the new town built in a lower and more accessible position. In 1645, after the battle of Rowton Heath, Charles I. came to Denbigh and occupied the castle: the tower in which he lodged has ever since been known as the "King's Tower." In the same year the castle was besieged by the parliamentary forces under General Mytton, and, after a siege of several months' duration, was forced to surrender. In the time of the Commonwealth the castle was dismantled. Denbigh is built on a steep and rugged hill, in the centre of the Vale of Clwyd, the summit of which is crowned by the extensive ruins of the castle. The scenery of the surrounding country is of the most beautiful description. The town is well paved, and lighted with gas: the principal street, which runs from the foot of the hill to the market-place, is broad, and contains some good private residences. The market-place is a handsome and convenient building. The townhall was built by the Earl of Leicester in 1572. The Lunatic Asylum for North Wales (built at a cost of £27,000) is the most imposing edifice in the town. Denbigh is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 12 councillors; and with its contributory boroughs, Holt, Ruthin, and Wrexham, returns one member to parliament. Denbigh is the chief place of election, and a polling station for the county. The Epiphany and Trinity Quarter Sessions are held here. Denbigh is a rectory in the diocese of St. Asaph; the living (value £445) is in the gift, of the bishop. The parish church of St. Marcellus is at Whitchurch, about a mile from the town, on the road to Ruthin. It contains two brasses in memory of Richard Myddleton the father of Sir Hugh Myddleton, the projector of the scheme for supplying London with water by means of the New River; a monument to H. Llwyd, the antiquary; and an altar tomb of the 16th century to Sir John Salusbury and wife. Near the castle are, a chapel dedicated to St. Hilary, once the garrison chapel, in which Divine service is held; and a large unfinished building, intended for a church, which was commenced by the Earl of Leicester. In the year 1838 a new church (St. David's) was built for the use of the Welsh portion of the inhabitants. The Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Calvinists have each a chapel. There are a National school, a British school, an endowed grammar school, and Oldfield's Boys' Bluecoat School. Besides the above is an Orphan School, for the education and maintenance of 55 girls. It is the handsomest building and noblest institution in the town. The buildings were erected at the cost of about £18,000, and the school was opened in 1860. The Drapers' Company are the trustees, and the school is managed by a local board of fourteen governors, of whom the bishop of the diocese is ex-officio chairman. There is a twin establishment, similarly founded and governed, at Llandaff, in South Wales. The funds for the support of both were left by Thomas Howell, a Welshman, who died at Seville in 1540. There is also a mechanics' institution. The dispensary and infirmary are maintained by public subscription. The principal feature of interest in Denbigh is the castle, some account of which has already been given. The walls were of great strength, and inclosed an area of 1 square mile. The entrance to the castle is a fine pointed gateway, between two towers; here is a statue of the founder, Henry de Lacy. This entrance was until lately in a very ruinous condition, but its further decay has been arrested by some gentlemen of the town, who have taken a lease of it for the town, and it is now preserved and in good order. Two grand Eistedd-fodau have been held on the bowling-green, within the castle walls; one in 1828, before the Duke of Sussex, the other in 1860, before Sir W. W. Wynne, Bart. From the walls of the castle some fine views are obtained, embracing the vale and hills of Clwyd. Adjoining the castle area is a well-kept bowling-green, which is extensively used by the inhabitants. Some remains exist in the town of a Carmelite priory, founded in 1289, by John Salusbury, of Lleweni: they now form part of a barn. Denbigh is connected by railway with Rhyl, and thus with Chester. The town has a manufactory of shoes and gloves, and extensive tanneries. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday. Six fairs are held in the year; viz., Saturday before Palm Sunday, 14th May, 28th June, 18th July, 25th September, and second Wednesday in November. Denbigh gives title of earl to the Feildings. Dr. Johnson, accompanied by Mrs. Piozzi, visited Gwaennyog, the seat of the Myddleton family, distant 1 mile from Denbigh."

"WHITCHURCH, (or Eglwys Wen), a hamlet in the parish and county of Denbigh, 1 mile E. of-Denbigh.

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2018