Place:Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales

Watchers
NameWrexham
Alt namesWrecsamsource: Wikipedia
TypeBorough (municipal)
Coordinates53.046°N 2.993°W
Located inDenbighshire, Wales     (500 - )
Also located inClwyd, Wales     (1974 - 1996)
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Wrexham is the largest town in the north of Wales and an administrative, commercial, retail and educational centre. Wrexham is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley alongside the border with England. Historically part of Denbighshire, the town became part of Clwyd in 1974 and since 1996 has been the centre of the Wrexham County Borough.

At the 2011 Census, Wrexham had a population of 61,603, the fourth largest urban area in Wales.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Prehistoric to Roman times

Human activity in the Wrexham area dates back to the Mesolithic period (8000 to 4300 BC). By the early Middle Bronze Age the area had developed into a centre for an innovative metalworking industry.

A Roman civilian settlement was located in the Plas Coch area of Wrexham and excavations have revealed evidence of agriculture and trade with the wider Roman world.

Mercian conquest

By the end of the 6th century AD, the area was being contested between the Celtic-speaking inhabitants and the English-speaking invaders advancing from the east. The Anglo-Saxons went on to dominate north-east Wales from the 8th to 10th centuries and the settlement of Wrexham was likely founded by Mercian colonists on the flat ground above the meadows of the River Gwenfro during the 8th century. The origins of the name "Wrexham" may possibly be traced back to this period.

Welsh restoration and border conflict

Renewed Welsh and Viking attacks led to a reduction in Anglo-Saxon power in north Wales from the early 10th century. Following the Welsh reconquest of the area during the 11th century, Wrexham formed part of the native Welsh lordship of Maelor.

During the 12th century the lordship was disputed between the Welsh and the English. The first recorded reference to the town in 1161 is to a Norman motte and bailey castle at "Wristlesham" which was likely founded in the Erddig area around 1150 by Hugh de Avranches, earl of Chester. However, by the early 13th century Wrexham was undisputedly in the hands of the Welsh house of Powys Fadog.[1]

Stability under the princes of Powys enabled Wrexham to develop as a trading town and administrative centre of one of the two commotes making up the Lordship. In 1202 Madoc ap Gruffydd Maelor, Lord of Dinas Brân, granted some of his demesne lands in ‘Wrechcessham’ to his newly founded Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis and in 1220 the earliest reference to a church in Wrexham is made.[1]

Marcher Wrexham

Following the loss of Welsh independence on the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, Wrexham became part of the semi-independent Marcher lordship of Bromfield and Yale. Wrexham increased in importance throughout the Middle Ages as the lordship's administrative centre, and the town's position made it a suitable centre for the exchange of the produce of the Dee valley and Denbighshire uplands, whilst iron and lead were also mined locally.

From 1327 onwards, the town is referred to as a villa mercatoria (market town) and by 1391 Wrexham was wealthy enough for a bard, jester, juggler, dancer and goldsmith to earn their living there.

The traditional pattern of Welsh life remained undisturbed, and until the close of the Middle Ages the pattern was for English incomers to be rapidly assimilated into Wrexham's Welsh society, for instance adopting Welsh patronymics.[1]

At the beginning of the 15th century, the local gentry and peasants backed the rebellion led by Owain Glyndŵr which proved economically disastrous for the town. Local poet Glyn Guto'r Glyn (c. 1412 – c. 1493) wrote of Sion ap Madog, the great-nephew of Owain Glyndŵr, as Alecsander i Wrecsam (an Alexander for Wrexham).

In the mid-15th century, the parish church was gutted by fire. The main part of the current church was built in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

16th to 17th centuries

The Acts of Union passed during the reign of Henry VIII brought the lordship into the full system of English administration and law. It became part of the new shire of Denbighshire in 1536.

The economic character remained predominantly agricultural into the 17th century but there were workshops of weavers, smiths, nailers as well as dye houses. A grammar school was established in 1603 by Alderman Valentine Broughton of Chester.

During the English Civil War, Wrexham was on the side of the Royalists, as most Welsh gentry supported the King, but local landowner Sir Thomas Myddelton, owner of Chirk Castle, supported Parliament.

The 1620 Norden's jury of survey of Wrexham Regis stated that four-fifths of the land-holding classes of Wrexham bore Welsh names and every field except one within the manor bore a Welsh or semi-Welsh name.

18th to 19th centuries

The Industrial Revolution began in Wrexham in 1762 when the entrepreneur John Wilkinson (1728–1808), known as "Iron Mad Wilkinson", opened Bersham Ironworks. Wilkinson's steam engines enabled a peak of production at Minera Lead Mines on the outskirts of Wrexham.

From the late 18th century numerous large-scale industrialised collieries operated in the southern section of the North East Wales coalfield, alongside hundreds of more traditional small-scale pits belonging to a mining tradition dating back to the Middle Ages.

Wrexham was also known for its leather industry; by the 18th century there were a number of skinners and tanners in the town.

18th century literary visitors included Samuel Johnson, who described Wrexham as "a busy, extensive and well-built town", and Daniel Defoe who noted the role of Wrexham as a "great market for Welch flannel". The artist J. M. W. Turner also visited the town and painted a watercolour of a street scene entitled "Wrexham, Denbighshire" dated 1792–3.

By 1851, the population of Wrexham was 6,714; within thirty years this had increased to 10,978 as the town became increasingly industrialised.

Wrexham benefited from good underground water supplies which were essential to the brewing of beer: by the mid-19th century, there were 19 breweries in and around the town. Wrexham Lager brewery was established in 1882 in Central Road and became the first brewery in the United Kingdom to produce lager beer.

Rev. William Bingley described Wrexham in 1839 as "of such size and consequence as to have occasionally obtained the appellation of the metropolis of North Wales". Wrexham gained its first newspaper in 1848. The Market Hall was built in 1848, and in 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was founded. In addition to brewing, tanning became one of Wrexham's main industries. In the mid 19th century Wrexham was granted borough status.

A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Hightown Barracks in 1877. The Poyser Street drill hall was completed in 1902.

Modern Wrexham

By 1913, the North East Wales coal field was producing up to three million tonnes a year and employed over ten thousand people, dominating the economic and cultural life of the area. However the industry went into decline after the First World War, and of the seven large-scale collieries operating in the Wrexham area in 1946, only two functional collieries remained by 1968. The last pit to close in the Borough was Bersham Colliery in 1986. One of the worst mining disasters in British history occurred at Gresford Colliery in 1934 when underground explosions and a subsequent fire cost the lives of 266 men.

The leatherworks in Pentrefelin and Tuttle Street, the many coal mines in the area, the brickworks in Abenbury, Brymbo Steelworks and the breweries all closed in the latter half of the 20th century. Wrexham suffered from the same problems as much of industrialised Britain and saw little investment in the 1970s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) funded a major dual carriageway (the A483) bypassing Wrexham town centre and connecting it with nearby Chester and with England's trunk road network. New shopping areas have been created within the town at Henblas Square, Island Green and Eagles Meadow and the Wrexham Industrial Estate, previously used in the Second World War, has become home to many manufacturing businesses.

Wrexham's former police station on Regent Street, originally the barracks for the Royal Denbighshire Militia, is now home to Wrexham County Borough Museum. The museum has two galleries devoted to the history of the town and its surrounding communities. The museum also holds the archive of the Royal Welch Fusiliers; battalions were stationed in Wrexham during the First World War. The collection is notable for containing original documents in the handwriting of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, J. C. Dunn and other notable members of the RWF, as well as official records.

Research Tips


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Wrexham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.