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Substantial remains of Offa's Dyke (Welsh: Clawdd Offa) can be seen on the western outskirts of Ruabon. This massive earthwork, stretching from Chepstow in the south to Prestatyn in the north, was constructed in the late 8th century by Offa, King of Mercia, as a boundary between Saxon Mercia and Celtic Wales. Traces of an earlier dyke, Wat's Dyke, can be seen on the eastern side of the Ruabon. It would be several centuries before Ruabon and the lands to the east of Offa's Dyke would be returned to Wales.
The name is derived from the Welsh Rhiw Fabon, or "hillside of Mabon", a local saint. An older English spelling, Rhuabon, can sometimes be seen.
The ancient parish of Ruabon was made up of the townships of:
- Ruabon (which also included the hamlets of Belan, Bodylltyn, Hafod, and Rhuddallt)
- Cristionydd Cynrig (also known as Y Dref Fawr or Cristionydd Kenrick in English)
- Coed Cristionydd
- Dinhinlle Uchaf (also known as Y Dref Fechan or Cristionydd Fechan)
- Dinhinlle Isaf
- Morton Anglicorum (the “English Morton” or Morton Below the dyke)
- Morton Wallichorum (the “Welsh Morton” or Morton Above the dyke)
(Morton Anglicorum seems to be vaguely defined but within Morton Below.)
In 1844, Coed Cristionydd and part of Cristionydd Cynrig became part of the new parish of Rhosymedre; and Dinhinlle Uchaf and Moreton Above became part of the new parish of Rhosllannerchrugog. Later in 1879, Dynhinlle Uchaf and the remainder of Cristionydd Cynrig became the new parish of Penycae.
The Ruabon area was formerly heavily industrialised with large deposits of iron, coal and clay. Iron was worked in Gyfelia and Cinders as far back as the Middle Ages but heavy industry dominated the entire parish in the 18th and 19th centuries. Hafod Colliery, the last working colliery in the Ruabon coalfield, closed in 1968.
Iron was worked at Ruabon; Acrefair; Cefn Mawr and Plas Madoc; and zinc at Wynn Hall. In 1867 Robert Graesser, an industrial chemist from Obermosel in Saxony, Germany established a chemical works at Plas Kynaston in Cefn Mawr to extract paraffin oil and wax from the local shale. This was the start of the long association between the chemical industry. The site was later acquired by the American chemical company Monsanto, their first venture in Europe.
Much of the mineral wealth of the area was exported by canal over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Shropshire Union Canal, until the railway reached Ruabon in 1855.
Ruabon sat on vast deposits of clay. At Afongoch there were three clay companies very close together: "Monk & Newell", the “Ruabon Brick & Terra Cotta Ltd." or "Jenks' Terracotta Works" (or "Gwaith Jinks") and the "Tatham Brick & Tile Works" or "Afongoch & Tatham Tileries". At Hafod, the Cornish engineer Henry Dennis founded a clay works next to the Hafod Colliery. The Dennis company became world famous for its tiles but closed in 2008. Other large brickworks existed at Pant, Rhosllannerchrugog, Acrefair and Newbridge.
Today the village of Ruabon is a suburb of the town of Wrexham.
|pre 1536||Powys Fadog|
|1536 - 31 March 1974||Denbighshire|
|1 April 1974 - 31 March 1996||Clwyd|
|from 1 April 1996||Wrexham|
The Registry Office for the parishes of Ruabon and Erbistock was in High Street, Ruabon. Births, marriages and deaths in Ruabon are recorded in the GRO indexes as:
|1 Jul 1837 - 1974||Ruabon||Wrexham|| XXVII (1837-51)|
- The following Ruabon Parish Registers have been deposited at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth:
|1559 - 1945||1599 - 1964||1559 - 1963|
- The Clwyd Family History Society have published 19 volumes of the Ruabon parish registers from 1599 to 1906.
- There are no official records available on the IGI for Ruabon parish.
Nonconformist Church Records
The following chapel records from Ruabon parish are available on the IGI:
|Providence Calvinistic Methodist, Ruabon||1832-1837||C101751|
|Independent Chapel, Ruabon||1814-1837||C101731|
|Bethlehem Independent Chapel ("Capel Bychan"), Rhosllannerchrugog||1810-1831||C101761|
|Jerusalem Calvinistic Methodist ("Capel Mawr"), Rhosllannerchrugog||1810-1837||C101871|
|Cefn Wesleyan Methodist, Cefn Mawr||1815-1837||C101611|
|Particular Baptist, Penycae||1789-1837||C101901|
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 104270.
The parish of Ruabon formed part of the Wrexham Registrar's District.
|1851||HO107/2503 folios 15-378|
|1861|| RG9/4280 folios folios9-end|
RG9/4283 folio 80
|1871|| RG10/5652 folios 17-end|
RG10/5653 folio 189
|1881|| RG11/5512 folios 11-end|
RG11/5514 folio 124
|1891|| RG12/4612 folios 8-179|
RG12/4613 folio 168
Poor Law Union Records
Ruabon formed part of the Wrexham Union which was created on 30 March 1837. A workhouse was built at Croesnewydd in Bersham. The records of the Wrexham Union are now held at Denbighshire Record Office in Ruthin.
- St Mary's Churchyard
- Garden of Remembrance, Church Street
- Mount Pleasant
The Clwyd Family History Society have published the following Ruabon monumental inscriptions:
- St. Mary's Churchyard, Church Street, Ruabon
- Garden of Rest, Church Street, Ruabon
Maps and Gazetteers
- A. N. Palmer, "The History of the Parish of Ruabon" reprint 1992
- G. G. Lerry, "Collieries of Denbighshire", reprint 1968
- T. W. Pritchard, "Remembering Ruabon - Cofio Rhiwabon", 2000