ST. ASAPH

In 1868, the parish of St Asaph contained the following places:

"ST. ASAPH, a parish, city, and seat of a bishopric, chiefly in the Rhuddlan division of the hundred of Rhuddlan, in the county of Flint, but partly also is the hundreds of Isdulas and Yale, in the county of Denbigh, North Wales, 15 miles to the N.W. of Flint, and 208 miles from London. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Elwy and Clwyd, and contains the townships of Brynpolin (in which the cathedral stands), Talar, Meriadog, and ten others. The story of the place begins, at a very early period, and the first fact related is the erection of a church by St. Kentigern, in the 6th century. It was built of wood, on a spot between the Elwy and Clwyd. From this origin came its first name Llan Elwy. Kentigern also founded here a monastery, which grew into importance. The present name of the city is said to have been given it in honour of St. Asaph, a native of the country, who succeeded the founder in his sacred charge, and whose remains were interred in the church. Little is known of the history of the place for the next five centuries. The monks were cast out of the monastery about the close of the 8th century. The city was much injured during the conflict between the Normans and the Welsh. In 1282 the cathedral and the dwellings of the clergy were burnt down by the English; the cathedral was again burnt by Owain Glyndwr about 1400; and after eighty years was rebuilt by Bishop Redman. The situation of St. Asaph is highly picturesque. The upper part of the city is built on a hill at the opening of the beautiful vale of Clwyd, between the Elwy and the Clwyd, which meet a little below. The cathedral occupies and adorns the summit of the hill, at the base of which stands the parish church. The surrounding landscape is rich with groves and woods. There is a bridge of five arches over the Elwy, and a handsome new one over the Clwyd. The streets are paved and the houses well built, though mostly small. Under the Reform Act, St. Asaph is one of the contributory boroughs to Flint, in returning one member to parliament. It is also the seat of a Poor-law Union, and a County Court district. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St. Asaph value £179, in the patronage of the bishop. The parish church is dedicated to SS. Asaph and Kentigern. It is small, has no tower, and is supposed to have been built about 1524. In the churchyard are some curious old tombs, made of stone and shaped like coffins. There is also a district church at Bodelwydden, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £200, in the gift of Sir H. Williams, Bart. The cathedral is a cruciform building in the perpendicular style, with a low square tower at the centre. It is 179 feet in length, and 108 feet in breadth through the transepts. The height of the tower is 93 feet. At the east end is a window copied from one in Tintern Abbey. There is an altar-tomb of the Bishop Davydd ab Owen, who died in 1512; and in the churchyard is the tomb of Bishop Barrow, an ancestor of the great Isaac Barrow. There is also a white marble monument to Dean Shipley. Among the prelates who have held this see are William Morgan, who took part in the first Welsh translation of the Bible; Parry, who shared the same work; William Beveridge, a great Orientalist; Thomas Tanner, the antiquary, and Horsley. The episcopal palace and the deanery have been recently rebuilt. There are places of worship for the Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesley an Methodists. There is a free grammar-school, founded by Bishop Hughes, and endowed by Mrs. Elizabeth Williams. Almshouses for eight widows were endowed by Bishop Barrow. There are many minor charities, which, with the school and the almshouses, make a total of £179. The parish contains many seats of the gentry: among them are Pengwerm, the seat of Lord Mostyn; Kinmel, of Lord Dinorben; Bodelwyddan, of Sir J. Williams , Bart.; Cevn, &c. St. Asaph gives the title of Viscount to Earl Ashburnham. The market is held on Saturday. Fairs are held on Easter Tuesday, the 15th July, the 19th August, the 16th October, the 2nd November, and the 26th December.

"BODEIGAN, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, hundred of Rhuddlan, in the county of Flint, North Wales, not far from St. Asaph."

"BODELWYDDAN, (or Bodllewyddan) a township in the parish of St. Asaph, hundred of Rhuddlan, in the county of Flint, North Wales, 3 miles to the W. of St. Asaph. The principal mansion is Bodllewyddan House, the seat of Sir J. H. Williams, Bart., to whose family it has belonged since the reign of Charles II., when the estate was bought by Williams, Speaker of the House of Commons. The gardens attached to the house are remarkably beautiful.

"BRYNPOLYN, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, hundred of Rhuddlan, in the county of Flint, North Wales, not far from St. Asaph."

"CILOWEN, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, in the county of Flint. It is situated near the junction of the river Envy with the Clywd."

"FAENOL, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, county Flint, a short distance from the town of St. Asaph."

"GWERNEIGRON, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, county Flint, 2 miles from St. Asaph."

"GWERNGLEFRYD, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, county Flint, 2 miles from St. Asaph."

"PENGWERN, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, county Flint, 2 miles N.W. of St. Asaph. It is situated on the river Clwydd."

"RHYLLON, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, hundred of Rhuddlan, county Flint, 2 miles from St. Asaph, and 209 N.W. of London. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Clwyd and Elwy, near the bridge."

"TALAR, a township in the parish of St. Asaph, county Flint, near St. Asaph."

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