Halkin (Helygen) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
HALKIN (HELYGEN), a parish, in the union of Holywell, Northop division of the hundred of Coleshill, county of Flint, North Wales, 3 miles (S. E. by S.) from Holywell, and on the road from Chester to Holyhead; containing 1813 inhabitants. The tract of country in which this parish is situated was, at the time of the Norman Conquest, called Alchene, from which its present name is derived. The parish contains 3140 acres, including 1010 acres of common or waste land, but having generally a light and productive soil. The village, which has arisen within the present century, and greatly increased since the discovery of some rich mines in the vicinity, is pleasantly situated in a fertile district; and the elevated ground adjacent to it commands a fine prospect of the surrounding scenery, which, on the north, east, and south, expands into an almost boundless view. The estuary of the Dee, with the city of Chester at its higher extremity, and the ruins of Flint Castle on its southern shore, appears to the north-east, and beyond it the peninsula of Wirrall, and the river Mersey, with the Lancashire hills, and the mountains of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and even Cumberland, in the distance; while the castles of Beeston and Hawarden, and the well-wooded tract between the latter place and Northop, occupy the foreground.
At a small distance from the village rises the Halkin mountain, rich in mineral treasures. It extends into the parishes of Northop, Ysceiviog, and Holywell, and forms one continued series of excavations made in search of lead-ore, of which no part of the principality has been more productive: the late Sir George Wynne is said to have cleared £300,000 by a mine that was discovered in the township of Lygan. The Deep-Level and Halkin Mining Company have very considerable works here, which are carried on with success; and there are several others on a smaller scale throughout the range of the Halkin mountain: the great Grosvenor mine is said to have been discovered by a peasant cutting a ditch fence. In the lead-mines of this neighbourhood, and imbedded in the white clay of the mountain, fossils of almost every variety are found in abundance. The clay just mentioned is in much repute, and is sent to Liverpool; chert of a beautiful white colour, which is highly esteemed, is also found, and sent into Staffordshire, to be used in the earthenware manufacture. The whole of the mineral property of the Halkin mountain belongs to the Marquess of Westminster, whose father, the late marquess, in 1827 erected near the village a splendid castellated mansion, in the ancient English style of architecture, commanding some of the finest views for which the strikingly diversified scenery of the vicinity is celebrated; this seat, called Halkin Castle, is occasionally the residence of the family. The Chester and Holyhead railway passes in the immediate neighbourhood of the parish.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £14. 7. 11.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £379; with a glebe of three acres, valued at £4 per annum, and a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small edifice, erected in 1745, and contains several good monuments. An additional incumbency, named Christ Church, has been founded in the parish, to which a district is annexed, embracing parts of Halkin, Kîlken, and Ysceiviog. In the village is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists; at Pentre, one for the same denomination; and at Rhesycae, places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. A parochial National school was founded in 1829, principally at the expense of the late Marquess of Westminster; it is supported by the present marquess, and with the exception of a small entrance-fee, the instruction is gratuitous. There are nearly 200 boys and girls on the books of this school, which is also assembled on Sundays. A Sunday school is likewise held in each of the four places of worship for dissenters.
Mr. Henry Lewis (in 1692) bequeathed £50, Mrs. Wynne bequeathed £30, Mr. H. Ellis £18, and Mr. Fletcher and Mrs. Lloyd £5 each, the interest of which sums is divided in money, bread, and flannel, among the poor, at Christmas, together with a rentcharge of two guineas arising from a bequest of £50 by Sir Roger Mostyn the younger, in 1729. There are several other bequests mentioned with these on the tablets in the church; but they have all been lost: the principal were, a bequest of £600 by John Barker in 1756, which was allowed to remain at interest in the hands of the son of the testator's executor, until he became a bankrupt; a bequest of £100 by Thomas Williams, Esq., in 1721, which was acknowledged by the rector, in 1736, to be in his hands; and a rent-charge of £12 by William Parry, vested in Sir Edward Lloyd, Bart., not paid since 1770. The Rev. P. Roberts, author of the Harmony of the Epistles, Letters to Volney, History of the Cymry, and various other literary productions, was rector of this parish, in which he died, in May 1819: his remains were interred in the church, and a small mural monument was erected to his memory on the north side of it.