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Abergele is an old Roman trading town, situated near the north Wales coast between the popular holiday resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl, in the county borough of Conwy, traditional county of Denbighshire. Its northern suburb of Pensarn lies on the Irish Sea coast and is known for its beach, where a ghost ship has been sighted. Abergele and Pensarn railway station serves both resorts. Abergele is generally ignored due to the popularity of nearby Rhyl, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno and Conwy.

The town itself lies on the A55 road and is known for Gwrych Castle. The town is surrounded by wooded hillsides, which contain caves with rare lesser horseshoe bat. The highest hill is Moelfre Isaf (1038ft) to the south of the town. There are also outstanding views from Cefn-yr-Ogof (669ft), Tower Hill and Tan-y-Gopa.

Abergele (including Pensarn) has a population of around 18,000 and is part of the Abergele/Rhyl/Prestatyn urban area with a population of 64,026 (2001 census). Approximately 29% of Abergele has a significant knowledge of Welsh, but the town has a large population of people from England, namely Manchester, Liverpool and the Midlands. The town also has a number of satellite villages such as Saint George, Betws yn Rhos, Rhyd-y-foel, Belgrano and Llanddulas.

Famous people from Abergele include Lisa Scott-Lee of Steps who went to school at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan.

Recent genetic studies on the y-chromosomes of men in Abergele have revealed that there is a substantial percentage of North African DNA in Abergele. Genetic marker e3b was found to average at 38.97% in male y-chromosomes in Abergele. Genetic marker e3b is found at its highest concentrations in North Africa at 75% but at much lower percentages in Northern Europe at less than 5%. The reason for the high levels of e3b in Abergele is most likely due to the heavy Roman presence in Abergele as most of the Romans that came to Britain did not come from Italy rather from other parts of the empire such as North Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe. Above average levels of genetic marker e3b have been found in other towns in Britain that were known to have had a heavy Roman presence.

History
There are many sites of historical interest, including two Iron Age hill forts. Castell Cawr at Tan y gopa and Fort Dinorben now virtually disappeared owing to limestone quarrying at St George. On Gallt y Felin Wynt, a hill above the town popularly known as Tower Hill or Bryn Twr is a C17th watchtower, partially restored in 1930. There is another iron-age fort at Pen-y-Corddyn mawr hill above Rhyd-y-Foel. There is also another watchtower Lady Elinors Tower which is located near Cefn-yr-Ogof.

Gwrych Castle was built between 1819-1825 at the behest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. From 1894 until 1946 it was the residence of the Dundonald family. Gwrych Castle's present owner, Californian businessman Nick Tavaglione, who bought the landmark 17 years ago has put Gwrych up for auction on 2 June 2006 but it failed to sell, The condition of the property is being monitored by the Gwrych Castle Trust.

The boxers Bruce Woodcock (in the late 1940s) and Randolph Turpin (in 1952) trained at Gwrych Castle and the film Prince Valiant starring Edward Fox and Katherine Heigl (American actress, star of Roswell) was filmed there in 1996.

Rumour has it that the world's biggest grand piano was at the site of Gwrych Castle and that Rudolph Hess also left his car there.

A curious inscription can be found on a tombstone in St Michael's Church (built on the site of a 'clas' or Celtic monastery). It states 'Here lieth in St Michael's churchyard a man who had his dwelling three miles to the north'. The peculiar part of this is that the sea lies half a mile to the north. Was this a mistake or did the man live, perhaps, in a houseboat in the midst of the shipping lines to Liverpool?

Outside the church is a penitential stone where sinners had to do penance by standing, dressed in white, by the stone and bessech the congregation for mercy as they entered and left the church. In 1868 the Abergele Train Disaster was, up to that time, the worst railway disaster in Britain. Thirty-three people died, and they are buried in a mass grave in the local churchyard.

On 30 June 1969, the evening before the investiture of Prince Charles in Caernarfon, two members of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Welsh Defence Movement), Alwyn Jones and George Taylor, were killed when their bomb - intended for the railway line along which the Royal Train would be passing - exploded prematurely.


 Libraries in Abergele:
 Abergele Library
       Market Street
       Abergele
       LL22 7BP
 01745 832638
 Mon 10.00am-7.00pm
       Tue 10.00am-5.30pm
       Wed Closed
       Thur 10.00am-7.00pm
       Fri 10.00am-5.30pm
       Sat 9.30am-12.30pm


 Vets in Abergele:
 Bryn Veterinary Surgery
       Deheufryn
       Llanfair Rd
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 8DH
 01745 824557

 Morris & Davies
       Gele Veterinary Centre
       Llanfair Rd
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 8DH
 01745 832113


 Golf in Abergele:
 Abergele and Pensarn Golf Club
       Tan-y-Gopa Road
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 8DS
 01745 824034


 Pubs/Bars in Abergele:
 The Bee Hotel
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AA

 Bull Hotel
       Chapel Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AW

 Castle Hotel
       67 Water Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7SN
 01745 824068

 Dolhyfryd Lodge Hotel
       Rhuddlan Road
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7HL

 George & Dragon
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AF
 01745 824094

 Harp Inn
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AF
 01745 824080

 Hesketh Arms Hotel
       Bridge Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7HA
 01745 832139

 Kinmel Manor Hotel
       Kinmel Manor Lodge St. George Road
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 9AS

 Park Hotel
       Marine Road
       Pensarn
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7PR
 01745 832149

 Penybont Hotel
       Bridge Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7HA
 01745 833905

 Y Gwindy Hotel
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AG
 01745 833485

 The Yacht
       Marine Road
       Pensarn
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7PR
 01745 824052


 B&B's/Guesthouses in Abergele:
 Wern Bach
 Llangernyw
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 8RR 
 01745 860348
 077900 45640
 [email protected]
 http://www.disabled-holidays-wales.co.uk


 Hotels in Abergele:
 The Bee Hotel
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 7AA
 01745 832300
 [email protected]

 Bull Hotel
       Chapel Street
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 7AW
 01745 832115

 Ffarm Country House
       Betws yn Rhos
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 8AR
 01492 680448
 [email protected]
 http://www.ffarmcountryhouse.co.uk/

 Gwindy Hotel
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AG
 01745 833485

 The Lion Inn
       Gwytherin
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 8UU
 01745 860123
 [email protected]
 http://www.thelioninn.net/

 Kinmel Manor Hotel
       St George Road
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 9AS
 01745 832014
 [email protected]


 Taxis in Abergele:
 ABA Taxis
       Rhuddlan Rd
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 7HF
 01745 833777

 Dulas Hire
       1 Sydenham Av
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 7NH
 01745 832852


 Campsites/Carvans in Abergele:
 Tan Rallt Caravan Park
       Rhyd-y-Foel
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 8EE
 01492 516652
 [email protected]
 http://www.tanrallt.co.uk/

 Ty Mawr Holiday Park
       Towyn Road
       Towyn
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 9HG 
 0871 664 9785
 [email protected]
 http://www.park-resorts.co.uk/

 Pentre Mawr Caravan Park
       Queensway
       Pensarn
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 7RE
 01745 827462

 Winkups Caravan Park
       Towyn Road
       Abergele
       Conwy
       LL22 9EL 
 01745 353 936
 [email protected]
 http://www.winkups.co.uk/


 Food - Restaurants in Abergele:
 The Abergele Grill (British)
       Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7BP
 01745 824208

 Ayvon (Chinese)
       15 Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AG
 01745 833135

 Mahoney's (British)
       9 Market Street
       Abergele, Clwyd
       LL22 7AG
 01745 822226

 McDonald's (Fast Food - American)
       Rhuddlan Road
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7HZ
 01745 822134


 Food - Cafes in Abergele:
 Beach Cafe
       Promenade
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7PP
 01745 826922

 Farmhouse Cafe
       Farm House
       Chapel Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AW
 01745 832721

 Kingswood House Restaurant
       Chapel Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AW
 01745 826081

 Pantri Bach Cafe & Gift Shop
       Promenade
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7PP
 01745 823594


 Food - Take Aways in Abergele:
 Abergele Kebab & Burger House
       41 Market Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AF
 01745 826266

 The Happy Garden
       4 Granville Terrace
       Rhuddlan Road
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7HH
 01745 833245

 The Jolly Fryer
       47 Water Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7SH
 01745 832175

 Rhaj Balti
       3 Chapel Street
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7AW
 01745 833566


 For Children in Abergele:
 Bubbles Day Nursery (Nurseries & Creches)
       17 Lon Kinmel
       Pensarn
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 7SG
 01745 832294

 Morgan Lewis (Nurseries & Creches)
       Tan y Fron Road
       Abergele
       Clwyd
       LL22 9AY
 01745 824442


Abergele - Around Town


Abergele (Aber-Gelau) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
ABERGEsLE (ABER-GELAU), a markettown and parish, in the union of St. Asaph, hundred of Isdulas, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 12 miles (N. W.) from Denbigh, 20 (N. W.) from Ruthin, and 209 (N. W.) from London; containing 2661 inhabitants, of whom 945 are in the township of Abergele. This parish takes its name from its situation near the mouth of the river Geley. It is celebrated as the scene of several military exploits in the earlier period of the wars between England and Wales, and for various transactions of great historical interest. Prior to the Norman Conquest, Harold, in his attempt to subjugate this part of the principality, was encountered by Grufydd ab Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, on the plain near Cevn Ogo, in this parish, and, after a sanguinary battle, in which he was defeated, and a considerable number of his men slain, was driven back to Rhuddlan. In the reign of William the Conqueror, Hugh Lupus, on his march to invade the Isle of Anglesey, passing through the defile of Cevn Ogo, which is the narrowest pass on this part of the coast, was attacked by an armed band of Welshmen, which had been posted there to intercept his progress, and of which, after an obstinate and protracted battle, 1100 were left dead on the spot. In the reign of Henry II., Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, on his retreat from Flintshire, fortified himself in this pass, where he gave battle to the forces of that monarch, and repulsed them with great slaughter: after having secured this important post, he retreated to Pen-y-parc, in the adjoining parish, where he made a stand against the English forces, and effectually checked the further invasion of his dominions. Near the same pass, Richard II., whom Percy, Earl of Northumberland, under pretence of an amicable interview with Bolingbroke, had inveigled from Conway Castle, after his return from Ireland, was surrounded by a military band, bearing the Northumberland banner, and conducted to Flint Castle, where he was treacherously betrayed by the earl into the power of the usurper. From these circumstances it has been justly remarked, that on no spot in the principality has more blood been shed than in the defile of Cevn Ogo.

The Town is delightfully situated in a valley watered by the river Geley, on the great road from Chester to Holyhead, and within half a mile of the Irish sea, which forms the northern boundary of the parish. The coast, in some parts, is formed of sandy cliffs, impending over the sea, which, according to tradition, has made considerable encroachment upon the land; a stone tablet, in the north wall of the churchyard, records in Welsh, but without either name or date, that a man was buried there who lived three miles to the north, to which distance the coast previously extended. The testimony of this epitaph is corroborated by the appearance, at low water, of a large tract of hard loam, in which oak-trees have been found, in an almost entire state, but softened to the consistency of wax. The salubrity of the air, the pleasantness of its situation, and the decided superiority of its shore for sea-bathing, have rendered Abergele a favourite resort for invalids, and made it a most fashionable watering-place: during the summer season it is frequented by numerous families, for whose accommodation every requisite arrangement has been made. The environs abound with picturesque and with strikingly bold scenery, affording various interesting excursions. About half-way between the pass of Cevn Ogo and the town is Gwrych Castle, built by Lloyd H. Bamford Hesketh, Esq., and occupying the summit of a rocky eminence. The front of this extensive structure exceeds 480 yards, and has on each side a noble terrace, 420 yards in length, extending to the east and west entrances, the latter of which is through a lofty arch, flanked by two embattled towers. The building comprises altogether eighteen embattled towers, of which the principal, called Hesketh Tower, is ninety-three feet high. Mrs. Hemans, the poetess, resided at the former mansion of Gwrych, for a time, when a child; her father removing hither with his family from Liverpool. Lead and copper ores, tin, and manganese, are occasionally found in the parish, and many spirited attempts have been made, but without proportionate success, to discover veins of sufficient extent to remunerate the adventurers for working them: lead-ore only is obtained at present, and that but in small quantities. The fine range of mountains on the south of the town abounds with limestone, of which great quantities are procured, and shipped off weekly for Liverpool: 200 men are constantly employed in quarrying, and fifty horses in conveying the produce to the coast. The Chester and Holyhead railway, opened in 1848, has a station about half a mile distant from the town, and a good omnibus conveys passengers to and from the trains as they arrive. The market, held on Saturday, is well supplied with corn and provisions; and fairs, which were formerly noted for the sale of cattle, but have considerably declined, are held annually on the 12th of February, 2nd of April, the day before Holy Thursday, on June 18th, August 20th, October 9th, and December 6th.

The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at 12. 9. 9.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph: the rectorial tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of 1486. 17., and the vicarial for one of 489. 19., with a glebe-house and one acre of ground, valued at 15 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a low edifice of great length, and of unpretending character, with a lofty square tower at the west end. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A Church school, established in 1836, is supported by subscriptions, collections, and school-pence. It appears from a memorandum in the parish records, dated 1737, that Bishop Fleetwood gave 100, and Mrs. Carter a similar sum, for the establishment of a school. These gifts, it is supposed, ultimately came into the hands of the registrar of St. Asaph, who failed, and all that was recovered for the purpose out of his estate was 29, the interest of which, together with a rent-charge of 10s. bequeathed by Edward Hughes, is paid to the master of the Church school. In 1846 a school was established under Dr. Williams's endowment, from which the master receives 25 per annum, in addition to about 15 paid by the parents of the children; and in 1847 the rector of Kegidock, an adjoining parish, established a school at Penyford, in a cottage within the limits of the parish of Abergele. There are also six Sunday schools, three of them belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, two to the Independents, and one to the Wesleyans. A dwelling-house and eight acres of land, called Penucha, now yielding only a rent of 7 per annum, were left by a former vicar, as compensation for 190 the amount of various bequests left for the benefit of the poor, which he had otherwise disposed of.

On the summit of one of the limestone hills, about a mile north of the church, is a very large and perfect camp, called Castell Mawr. Near it, on a hill called Coppayr Wylva, or "the mount of the watch-tower," are some remains of an ancient British fortress of great strength, of which the north front is defended by an almost perpendicular precipice, 196 feet in height, while on the east and south are walls of stone and a deep fosse; on the west is a large opening between two mounds of earth and stone, beyond which is another deeper and broader fosse, called Fs-yRhuveiniaid, or "the Roman fosse." About two miles to the west of the town is Cevn Ogo, a lofty and precipitous rock of limestone, in which, among others of minor extent, is one of the most spacious and magnificent natural caverns in Europe. The cavern has a bold front towards the sea, considerably elevated, and the entrance, which is many feet above the road, is by an arch of comparatively fine proportions, forty-eight feet in height, within a very short distance of which, proceeding inward, rises a tall columnar rock, presenting the appearance of a rudely sculptured massive pillar, and dividing the cavern into two apartments. The recess to the left soon terminates, but that to the right spreads into a spacious chamber, thirty feet in height, and extending to an unexplored depth into the interior of the mountain. The sides and roof of this surprising cavern are studded with beautiful pendant stalactites, many feet in length, ranged on each side with an appearance of perfect order, resembling the pipes of an organ, and reflecting the most brilliant diamondlike hues; the floor is strewed with immense masses of stalagmite, uniformly of a deep orange colour, and of the most grotesque and fanciful forms. Br&ygrave;nfanigl, in the parish, was the residence of Marchudd ab Cynan, head of one of the fifteen ennobled tribes of North Wales, who was contemporary with Roderic the Great: it was subsequently that of his descendant, brave Ednyved Vychan.



 

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