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RHUTHUN LOCAL HISTORY BROADSHEET                                                                                   Issue No 26 June 1991

The second of an occasional series by Peter Randall
(Note this article draws heavily on pioneering research by the Rev L Pryce a former Warden of Ruthin.)

Descriptions of several of the carved panels in the north roof of Saint Peter's  Church, Ruthin, which appear to have royal connections were given in Broadsheet NO: 23. To continue the theme, there are at least four other panels of the York and Lancaster dynasties.

Fig: 1- The Sun in Splendour, of Edward IV;
Fig: 2 - The Boar's Head, of Richard III;
Fig: 3 - The Falcon, of the Duke of York, Richard Plantaganet;
Fig: 4 - The Fleur-de-Lis, of France and the House of Tudor.

There are numerous other panels showing the single rose of the House of York and the double rose of the Tudors. Other royal symbols will be illustrated and reviewed in a later article on the carved bosses in both the north and south nave roofs.

The ragged staff (Figs. 5 & 6) of the de Grey family, who started the roof, and ruled Dyffryn Clwyd from 1282 until 1508, is illustrated several times. This long period of 262 years was important to Ruthin, as during this time it prospered and developed as an influential market and rural industrial centre in North Wales.

There can be little doubt that many of the carpenters employed by the de Greys in the construction of the roof were local and also from their tradesmen in Chester. Some would also have been employed in the development of the timber framed houses in Ruthin and the surrounding districts. However, these carpenters rarely left their craft marks in the timberwork.

Both the de Grey and Stanley families have a common thread, - treachery! During the Wars of the Roses, Edmund 4th Baron de Grey of Ruthin, turned traitor at the Battle of Northampton in 1460 [see RBS NO: 2], and Thomas, Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William, adopted the same tactics at Bosworth Field in August, 1485. However, the two families were close as the Stanleys took a leading role in the development of the roofs of the church after the de Greys. Two of the well-known Stanley badges appear on panels on the north roof, an eagle's claw (Fig. 7) and the triskeles or legs of the Isle of Man (Fig. 8). The Stanleys were also active in other churches in North Wales, notably at Mold and Gresford.

Fig.1                    Fig.2                    Fig 3                         Fig 4                   Fig 5                     Fig 6       


Fig.7                     Fig.8                        Fig 9                         Fig 10                     Fig. 11                     Fig. 12                    Fig.13                     Fig. 14

During their time in Ruthin, the de Greys created links through lucrative marriages with many of the noble families of the time. Reginald, 2nd Baron de Grey [1388] married Eleanor Strange of Blackmere. The handshake of that family is depicted (Fig. 9). Their daughter, Eleanor, married William Lucy of Charlecote in Warwickshire. This connection is marked by numerous representations of the pike or lucy (Figs. 10 & 11).

Other families whose badges appear on panels include ‑
The acorns (Fig. 12) of the Fitz Alans, Earls of Arundel
The mulberry (Fig. 13) of the Dukes of Norfolk;
The star (Fig. 14) of de Vere, Earls of Oxford.

These are just a few of the many badges of the families connected with Ruthin and illustrated in the north roof. Several shields (Fig. 15) were left unfinished which would have included the arms of some of these families.
The next article will deal with family knots and the range of initials found on the panels.


by Jim Read.

This year marks the bi-centenary of the Ordnance Survey, and the 20th anniversary of O.S. going metric. Both before and during World War II, Mr Read was with the Ordnance Survey and during the war he was engaged in the production of maps in the field, based on a combination of aerial photography and, where possible, on ground surveys.

Since the beginning of time, Man has had the ability to indicate relative positions and distances of the locality known to him. A rough outline on the sand, markings on a clay tablet, or a drawing on a piece of skin, are far cries from the modern atlas. A map is now more than a piece of travellers' equipment - it has be­come both a scientific instrument and an object to be treasured by historians.

From a very early stage, man un­doubtedly felt the need to illustrate a route by land or sea, and no doubt did so as soon as the use of symbols evolved. When this was cannot be truly determined, but the earliest surviving representation of this is a nine feet wall painting found in Anatolia, dating back to 6,300 - 6,100 B.C. This is a town plan showing some eighty buildings with a volcano in the background.

A Phoenician sea-captain, Pytheas, sailed from Marseilles through the Pillars of Hercules about 300 B.C. and coasted north to Cornwall and circumnavigated Britain. Pytheas was a skilled astronomer and mathematician and his accurate observations gave later geographers their reference point for plotting a map of northern and central Europe. It was probably through his observations that Marinus of Tyre founded scientific geography about 150 A.D., and there is evidence that it was upon his research that Ptolemy was able to put together his descriptive "Geographia" c.200 A.D.

Probably the first indication of that part of Britain which forms Wales is found in Eratosthenes' map of the world c.250 B.C. It was Eratosthenes who in recorded history was the first to calculate the circumference of the world. His error was about four per cent - not bad considering his calculations were based on the average day's journey of an army on the march.

The earliest record I have found of this particular area is shown on the Matthew Paris map of about 1250 A.D. which shows the River Clwyd.

                                                                                               Speed 1610

A hundred years later, an unknown mapmaker produced what is now known as the Gough map. This map is unique in the cartographic history of Britain as it was not until some two hundred years later that maps appeared which displayed any comparable topographical and cartographical skill. Neither Matthew Paris nor the compiler of the Gough maps could have been influenced by the Geographia of Ptolemy as copies of these were not circulating in Western Europe until the early 15th century. Unlike the Matthew Paris map, the great characteristic of the Gough map is its relative accu­racy to the topography. As far as I have been able to discover, this is the first map to show the towns of Rhuddlan, St. Asaph, Denbigh and Ruthin in relatively true geographic perspective.

The next stage in mapping England and Wales developed in the first half of the 16th century, partly influ­enced by the demand from states­men and officials for more accurate maps.

During these years, a distinguished academic from Denbigh put Ruthin on the map once again. Humphrey Lloyd {Llwyd] was born in Denbigh in 1527, was an M.P. for a number of years and a topographical writer of some fame. Through Sir Richard Clough, also of Denbigh, contact was made with Ortelius of Antwerp which led to the publication of Lloyd's maps in the Ortelius Atlas. One was a detailed map of England and Wales and appeared in subsequent issues. Another was Lloyd's map of Wales - the first published individual map of the Principality. It was also copied for the Mercator atlas of 1607 and continued to be published in various other atlases until 1741. Ruthin is in­cluded on these maps. Humphrey Lloyd died in 1568 - an interesting article on him is to be found in the Transactions of the Denbighshire Historical Society, Vol. 17.

In 1572, Christopher Saxon was commissioned to survey and map all the counties of England and Wales. His atlas was the first national atlas provided by any country. Because of the geographical and language difficulties in travelling through Wales, special instructions were sent to Justices of the Peace, etc., that Saxton should be "conducted unto any towre, castle, high place or hill to view the country and that he may be accompanied by two or three honest men such as do best know the countrey for better accomplishment of that service and at his departure from any towne or place that he has taken the view of, the said towne do set forth a horseman that can speke both Welsh and English to safe conduct him to the next market towne." It is quite possible that Saxton surveyed Ruthin from the tower of St. Peter's Church.

Of the numerous county maps and mapmakers following Saxton, mention should be made of Speed. John Speed was born in Farndon, Cheshire in 1552. Most of the maps he produced were based on Saxton and Norden, but two new features were included - the parish hundreds and the inset plans of the county and other important towns. The boundary divisions of the hundreds did not appear on his maps of Caernarvon, Flint or Denbigh as the authorities concerned refused to provide the information. He began his publication of individual county maps of England and Wales in 1605 and further publications continued for the next 160 years. He died on 28th July, 1629, "leaving twelve sons and six daughters by one wife."

Other maps and plans were commissioned by and for the owners of large estates, showing their property and outlining their boundaries. The earliest known map of Ruthin and its surrounding area is one of these, produced for the Myddel­ton's of the Chirk Castle estate, and now in the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth [MSS.11786]. This provides an excellent representation of the town, but shows only those properties in the ownership of the estate, though the names of adjoining landowners are given. This particular survey was carried out in 1772-4 by Thomas Boydell.

The Ordnance Survey was created in 1791 under the Honour­able Board of Ordnance and owes its origin to the Duke of Richmomd and Major General William Roy. The first map was 1 inch to 1 mile of Kent, published in 1801, but subsequently the basic scale of the survey was increased to 6 inches to 1 mile and then 1/2500. By 1895 the original survey of the country at a basic scale of 1/2500 was complete - except for the mountainous areas which were 6 inches to the mile. Archaeological information has been collected by the Ordnance Survey from its earliest days and may be attributed to the fact that General William Roy was greatly interested in Roman antiquities.

One of the earliest ordnance maps of Ruthin, if not the earliest was to the scale of 4 miles to the inch dated 1832 and produced by Lieutenent R.K. Dawson under the command of Lt. Col. Mudge of the Ordnance Survey. This map was published as an appendage to an official report on the boundaries of Ruthin Borough. Then followed the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 which fixed the Borough bound­ary. The map depicts Ruthin well before the arrival of the railway and includes the racecourse, now the site of Parc-y­-Dre.

The first edition of William Davis’ Handbook for The Vale Of Clwyd, published by Isaac Clarke in 1856 reproduced a map of the Vale of Clwyd to the scale of 2 miles to the inch, surveyed by Ordnance Survey.

An excellent series of maps to the scale of 1/2500 of Ruthin and its surrounding district appeared in 1874, following a survey by Major R.O. Jones. The interest and value of these maps, particularly that of Ruthin itself, is considerably enhanced by the colouring of the streets, buildings, the River Clwyd and certain other features.

In November, 1971, the Ordnance Survey was authorised to replace the 1" to 1 mile maps with the metric 1:50,000. It may well be that Brynhyfryd Park will be highlighted in the next revision.

RUTHIN AND DISTRICT - A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards by Mr D. Gwynne Morris; S.B. Publications, 1991.




CEFN BANOG, CLOCAENOG FOREST - An inscribed standing-stone, probably of prehistoric origins, has been re­located and marked with a plaque by Clwyd's Archaeol­ogy Service working with the Forestry Commission. It is thought to have been inscribed in the medieval period with a St. Andrew's Cross and a Latin Cross, by which pilgrims would have stopped to pray and to trace the crosses with their fingers. [Liverpool Daily Post, 13/vi/91].

Y BEDOL, the Welsh language community newspaper, re­ported in a recent issue the discovery by Mr Gary Owen of some interesting carvings at his home at 20, Llanrhydd Street, Ruthin. Two were excavated in the garden, one of which was heart-shaped with a rather crude figure of an angel and the other was a square tablet of somewhat better though not outstanding quality appearing to represent the biblical account of the Woman of Samaria at the well with Jesus. Mr Peter Randall, and Mr Jon James of Clwyd County Council, have examined these and consider that they may be of the 19th Century. The square tablet could have been one of a series which might have formed a frieze around a room. The best suggestion was that they might have come from the Ablett Almshouses which were located opposite and were demolished in 1928. Another discovery was three miniature heads little bigger than a 50p coin in an internal wall, two being side-by-side with another above.













                 GORONWY PRINCE OF TEGEINGL (Powys Fadog)                                   LLOYDS OF PLAS ENION  (Powys Fadog)

An inference as to the age and significance of this house may be derived from its name. The present house while interest­ing and undoubtedly of a good age, seems to have attracted little attention and does not appear in Hubbard's Buildings of Clwyd. Yet there is no doubt as to the historic signifi­cance of this settlement.

Perhaps the earliest evidence of settlement is that recorded by Ellis Davies, a tumulus to the north of the present farm­house. The mound has been much eroded by centuries of agricultural operations. Tradition gives it the name of "Bedd y Cawr" ("The giant's grave") or "Bedd Einion Gawr".

Early Ruthin records of the reign of Edward II frequently bear the name of one Ennyon, Ennion or Enion, presumably a descendant of the giant reputed to be buried in the tumulus. This gentleman may have been connected with this house and, possibly "Enion Mill" at Rhiw, Pwllglas, which might have formed part of his estate.

A Mr Powell, local historian of the 1920s/30s, reported: "There are now to be seen hanging on the wall of a room two ancient oil paintings of an old warrior called Einion, and very probably that of his wife, which paintings are supposed to be there as a house fixture since their time".

Plas Enion has connections with the earliest recorded history of Dyffryn Clwyd, if not Wales. This link is an original document, dated 27th September, 1243, recording a grant of land by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd to Einon ap Meredydd of Dyffryn Clwyd. It was given at Llannerch in Llanfair D.C. Llannerch was a commote in the cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd, and Plas Enion lay within it. The document is almost unique and as far as we are concerned, it does at least suggest, quite strongly, the identity of Enion. Little is known of Enion, but he was descended from Goronwy, Prince of Tegeingl. Thus, this place once enjoyed royal status, which would not have survived for long following the wars of Edward I.

The genealogy of those descendants associated with Plas Enion is readily available and it reveals interesting family connections. For example, Llewelyn of Plas Enion married [c 1450] Agnes, daughter of Simon Thelwall of Plas-y-Ward, and their grandson, Thomas, married Catherine Salusbury of Bachymbyd and Rug. Thomas had no sons and five daughters who were to marry well. Thomas' eldest daughter Gwen, as co-heir inherited land, and married John Lloyd of Bryneglwys.

Gwen's sister Margaret married [end C 16th] Robert Thel­wall of Rhuddin [third son of John Wynn Thelwall of Bathafarn] and carried Plas Enion to the Thelwall family. Robert and Margaret had two sons, the eldest of whom, John Thelwall, was known as "of Plas Einion", and became Clerk of the Peace of Denbighshire.
John Lloyd's son Thomas married Elizabeth Thelwall of Bathafarn and this event is commemorated in plasterwork in one of the bedrooms with the letters "TLL/E" and dated 1631. Their second son Ellis Lloyd was described as "of Pins Ennion, gent.", so that Plas Enion must have returned to the Lloyd family from the Thelwalls quite quickly, perhaps by marriage settlement. Ellis Lloyd married Eleanor Goodman of nearby Glan Hespin [RBS No: 25], by whom he had a son and heir, John Lloyd, and this event was also commemorated with the letters "EE/LL" and dated 1670.

By about 1700, Edward Lhwyd in his Parochiala lists Plas Enion as 9th in a list of 15 of 'houses of note' in the parish of Llanfair D.C., then still in the ownership of John Lloyd.

John Lloyd's daughter and heiress, Anne, married Edward Wynne of Bodewryd, Anglesey. Edward Wynne was a distinguished scholar, ecclesiastical lawyer and churchman, and became Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral. Unfortu­nately, it seems he and Anne fell out, although there was a reconciliation before her death in 1739. All their children died in infancy.

Following Mrs Wynne's death, a relative of the Goodman family wrote to the Chancellor asking for certain articles, including "some old pickturs of the Goodman Famyly yt are at Place Eneon, ye Dean's Picktur she wd valleu - they are by none but near Relatives worth any thing (sic)" [13 August, 1745.].
A gravestone in Llanfair churchyard, - to Jane, wife of Thomas Maurice of Plas Enion, buried 30 April, 1780, aged 33, records another interesting family association. The Maurice family, too, was descended from one of the Royal Tribes of Wales, whose home territory was at Lloran in the Llansilin area of Denbighshire. One of this family married a Price of Ffynnogion and came into that quite considerable estate. Thomas, one of the descendants eventually settled at Plas Enion, which might then have been part of Ffynnogion.

Before she died, Jane produced two sons, Thelwall in 1767 and Thomas in 1772. While Thelwall was away studying for a medical qualification, his widower father, Thomas, mar­ried the cook or housekeeper and Thelwall was so disgusted that he never returned home and set-up in medical practice in Marlborough - and the practice is still flourishing today!

Thelwall's brother, Thomas, married and for some time lived at Plas Tirion, Well Street, Ruthin. [RBS NO: 16] D.W.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Ellis Davies, "Prehistoric & Roman Remains of Denbigh­shire", 1929; Arch. Camb., 1877; Powys Fadog, Vols. IV & V; National Library of Wales, Boedwryd MS12E     

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