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WalesGotoarrow.pngWrexhamGotoarrow.pngWrexham

Eglwys wrecsam.png
Wrexham (Welsh: Wrecsam) is a town and ecclesiastical parish and the heart of the County Borough of Wrexham in Wales. It is the largest town in the north of the country and is situated between the mountains and the lower Dee valley, close to the border with England.

Before 1974 the town was in the historic county of Denbighshire and, between 1874 and 1996 in the County of Clwyd. In 1996 it became part of the modern County Borough of Wrexham.

The town is divided into the communities of Abenbury, Acton, Caia Park, Offa and Rhosddu.

Contents

History

The remains of Offa's Dyke can be seen on the western outskirts of Wrexham. 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 Wrexham. The land bewteen was mainly settled by Saxons and it would be several centuries before Wrexham and the lands to the east of Offa's Dyke would be returned to Wales.

The town is first mentioned in 1161 when reference is made to a Norman motte and bailey castle at Wristlesham. This castle is assumed to be the one in the grounds of the Erddig estate. In 1282 the area became part of the Marcher Lordship of Bromfield and Yale.

Wrexham became the main town in the area and grew wealthy with its markets. Following the Act of Union between Wales and England, it became part of the county of Denbighshire when it was created in 1536. Wrexham was divided into two distinct townships, Wrexham Regis (which was under the control of the King) and Wrexham Abbot (generally the older parts of the town, which originally belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey at nearby Llangollen).

The parish church of St. Giles stands in the centre of the town. There is known to have been a church on the site since the 13th century, but the original church was destroyed by fire in 1463 and was rebuilt by 1472. Other parish churches were later built within the town as the population increased: St. John's; St. Mark's; St. Michael's and St. Peter's.

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary's, which was built in 1857, was later promoted to a cathedral. It is now the seat of the Bishop of Wrexham.

The ancient parish of Wrexham comprised the townships of:

  • Abenbury Fawr
  • Abenbury Fechan
  • Acton
  • Bersham
  • Bieston
  • Broughton
  • Brymbo
  • Borras Hwfa
  • Esclusham Above
  • Esclusham Below
  • Gourton
  • Minera
  • Stansty
  • Wrexham Abbot
  • Wrexham Regis

Within the parish were two other townships, Erddig and Erlas, however, these were exclaves of the neighbouring parish of Gresford.

As the population grew the parish became sub-divided into new parishes of Minera (1844), Brymbo (1844), Gwersyllt (1851), Esclusham (1879), Rhosddu (1886), Broughton (1909), Southsea (1921) and Bersham (1934).

The town has always been associated with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who were based based in the Hightown area.

In the 18th century Wrexham had a substantial leather industry with many skinners and tanners based in the town. However, in the late 18th century Wrexham was transformed by the coming of the industrial revolution. It began when John ("Iron Mad") Wilkinson took over the Bersham Ironworks in 1762.

Both lead and coal mining were important industries in the western parts of the parish with brickmaking with bricks being produced in Abenbury, on the outskirts of the town.

One of the other main industries associated with the town was brewing and there were several large breweries in the town, together with numerous smaller breweries situated at the back of local inns. All commercial brewing in Wrexham has now ceased.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Wrexham (like most other part of Wales) began a period of depression with much of the traditional industries closing. A major regeneration programme was begun to provide alternative, modern industries in the area.

Following the reorganisation of local government in Wales in 1996, Wrexham became a County Borough.

Administration

Years County
before 1536 Powys Fadog
1536 - 31 March 1974 Denbighshire
1 April 1974 - 31 March 1996 Clwyd
from 1 April 1996 Wrexham

Records

Civil Records

Births, marriages and deaths in Wrexham will be recorded in the GRO indexes as:

Years Sub-district District Volumes
1 Jul 1837 - 1974 Wrexham Wrexham XXVII (1837-51)
11b (1852-1946)
8A (1946-74)

Church Records

  • The following Wrexham Parish Registers have been deposited at the Denbighshire Records Office in Ruthin:
Baptisms 1618 - 1988
Marriages: 1632 - 1989
Burials 1620 - 1997

Nonconformist Church Records

The following chapel records from Wrexham parish are available on the IGI:

Chapel Years Batch
Adwy's Clawdd Calvinistic Methodist, Bersham 1832-1837 C101281
Harwood Calvinistic Methodist, Brymbo 1829-1837 C101341
Wern Independent, Bersham 1808-1837 C101821
Abbott Street Calvinistic Methodist, Wrexham 1811 - 1837 C101841
Chester Street Presbyterian, Wrexham 1707 - 1719 & 1743 - 1837 C101871
Penybryn Congregational 1784-1837 C101861
Pentrefelin Independent 1832-1837 C101831
Wesleyan Methodist 1813-1837 C101851

Census Records

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 104271.

The parish of Wrexham formed part of the Wrexham Registrar's District.

Year Parts
1841 Officially missing but some parts have been retrieved
1851 HO107/2502 folios 266 to 319
HO107/2503 folios 425 to 850
1861 RG9/4277 folios 39 to 82
RG9/4284 folios 1 to 28 and 42 to 88
RG9/4285 folios 1 to 34 and 65 to 95
RG9/4286 folios 1 to 87
RG9/4287 folios 1 to 91
RG9/4288 folios 1 to 90
1871 RG10/5654 folios 3 to 95
RG10/5644 folios 15 to 28 and 39 to end
RG10/5656 folios 1 to 12
RG10/5657 folios 1 to end
RG10
1881 RG11/5515 folios 5 to 8 and 26 to 141
RG11/5516 folio 1 to end
RG11/5517 folio 103
RG11/5518 folios 52 to 94 and 110 to end
RG11/5520 folio 124 and 127 to 146
1891 RG12/4614 folios 1 to 7 and 24 to end
RG12/4617 folio 94 and 107 to end
RG12/4619 folio 135
1901

Poor Law Union Records

The Wrexham Union was created on 30 March 1837 and the parish of Wrexham formed part of this. A workhouse was built at Croesnewydd, Bersham. The records of the Wrexham Union are now held at Denbighshire Record Office in Ruthin.

Cemeteries

  • Ruthin Road Burial Ground (now closed), Wrexham
  • Dissenter's Burial Ground (now closed), Rhosddu
  • Wrexham Cemetery, Ruabon Road, Wrexham

Maps and Gazetteers

See also

 

Bibliography

  • The Encyclopaedia of Wrexham, W Alister Williams, 2001, ISBN:187242466X

Web Sites


 

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