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Holt

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Holt is a town in the borough of Wrexham, traditional county of Denbighshire in Wales, United Kingdom.

Located on the western bank of the River Dee, it has a ruined stone castle,built in pentagon form with a tower at each corner, that was built by John de Warenne, who was granted lands by Edward I following the defeat of the Welsh in 1282. The castle was ruined by the 17th century; all that remains today are the remnants of the walls of the inner keep with a doorway and a staircase. The remainder was floated on barges down the River Dee after the sieges of the English Civil War to construct Eaton Hall.

The Church of St Chad has parts dating to the C15th and C17th. There is also a medieval market cross in the town centre. Downstream was a Roman brickworks (possibly Bovium) which supplied clay tiles and pottery to the Roman fort of Deva Chester. Six kilns, a bathouse, sheds and barracks were found there in the early C20th, as well as three Bronze Age burial urns. Pieces of pottery are still regularly thrown up after ploughing.

A Grade I listed medieval sandstone bridge links Holt with its English neighbour Farndon on the opposite bank of the Dee. Records of the county court of Chester, in 1368, show that:

the jury presented that John, earl of Warenne, late Lord of Bromfield, had constructed a bridge across the River Dee (during 1338)... and upon that bridge is a fortified gateway' The jury then claimed that illegal toll was being extorted from workmen daily crossing the bridge, and that the town of Holt was giving shelter to felons who ambushed Cheshire folk.
 
A survey of 1627 described the bridge:

    contayninge 10 arches which River divideth Two Sheires, namely Cheshire and Denbye... Upon the fifth Arch from Holt standeth a Tower or Gatehouse of Fortification... (the text then describes the Lady's Chapel in the tower)... Upon the other end of the fortificacion next unto the manor of Farndon next unto the Manor of Farndon is layd out in Masons Works a Lyon to the full passant. And like Lyon is upon the gates of Holt Castell. The county of Chester doth repair the bridge to the Lyon.

Sixteen years later, William Brereton, attacking the bridge for the Parliamentarians stated:

    for which end they had also made a towre and drawbridge and strong gates upon the bridge soe as they and wee coceived it difficult if not altogether ympossible to make way for our passage'. Despite this he, Thomas Middleton and their forces took the bridge on 9th November 1643 when they cast 'some grenados amongst the Welshmen'.
    Pennant recorded ten arches in 1754 (and had been told a date stone of 1354 was there until recently, which contradicts the more likely date of 1338) but Hubbard in Buildings of Wales only saw eight. The third arch, viewed from the Holt river bank, shows the strengthened arch where the drawbridge once stood.

Notable people from Holt include Welsh goalkeeper Leigh Richmond Roose.


 Pubs/Bars in Holt:
 Greddington Arms
       Cross Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9JD
 01829 270 289

 Hand & Heart Hotel
       Castle Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9YL
 01829 270491

 Holt Lodge Hotel
       Wrexham Road
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9SW

 White Lion Inn
       Castle Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9YW
 01829 270 345


 Hotels in Holt:
 Holt Lodge Hotel
       Wrexham Road
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9SW
 01978 661002


 Restaurants in Holt:
 Peal O' Bells (Trad Pub Food)
       Church Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9JP
 01829 270411

 Shaer Khan (Indian)
       6 Church Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9JP
 01978 291212


 Take Aways in Holt:
 Peking Garden (Chinese)
       2 Castle Street
       Holt
       Wrexham
       Clwyd
       LL13 9YW
 01829 271034


Holt - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
HOLT, a parish, in the union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales; comprising the borough of Holt, and the parochial chapelry of Is-y-Coed, in which latter are the townships of Cacca-Dutton, Dutton-y-Brân, Dutton-Difieth, Ridley, and Sutton, each of which is separately assessed for the maintenance of its poor; and containing 1634 inhabitants, of whom 1058 are in the borough of Holt, 5½ miles (N. E.) from Wrexham, 29 miles (E. S. E.) from Denbigh, and 191 (N. W.) from London. This parish is the only portion of the grant made to the see of Chester by Edward the Confessor, of all the lands on the western side of the river Dee, now remaining to that see. It is supposed to have contained, under the Roman dominion in Britain, an outpost to the station Deva (Chester); and the fortress erected here, according to some antiquaries, was called, from that circumstance, Castra Legionis, or "the castle of the legion," preserved in its synonymous Welsh name of Castell Lleon, which, on the fortress coming into the possession of John, Earl Warren, in the reign of Edward I., was, probably by mistaking Lleon for the plural of Llew, changed into "the Castle of Lions" or "Lyons," which it continued to bear for some time. Its présent name may be derived from a family of the name of Holt, who are said to have held it before this period, perhaps under a lord paramount.

Warren, after the death of Madoc ab Grufydd (who had been entrusted to his guardianship by Edward I., and whom he caused to be drowned under Holt bridge), obtained from King Edward a grant of Dinas Brân and all Bromfield, and, in order to secure his possession, began to erect the castle of Holt, for which this parish is chiefly distinguished, and which gave rise to the present borough; but dying soon after, he left the completion of it to his son William. The castle afterwards came by marriage into the possessions of Edward Fitz-Alan, Earl of Arundel. On the attainder and execution of Richard, Earl of Arundel, in the reign of Richard II., it reverted to the crown, and that monarch deposited here, during his expedition to Ireland, plate and jewels to the value of 200,000 marks, and 100,000 marks in money; all which treasure, together with the fortress, was delivered up to Bolingbroke, in 1399, prior to the deposition of the king. In the following reign the estates were restored to the Fitz-Alans; and Thomas, Earl of Arundel, in the year 1410, granted the inhabitants of the place a charter of incorporation, but, jealous of the Welsh, who were ever on the alert to throw off the English yoke, precluded all but Englishmen from participating in the privileges and immunities which he then bestowed.

In the reign of Henry VII., the lordship and castle of Holt were granted to Sir William Stanley, who repaired and altered the castle at a great expense, and on whose subsequent attainder for high treason, Henry not only resumed the lordship, but confiscated to his own use the treasures found in the castle, which, exclusively of jewels, amounted to more than 40,000 marks in money and plate. Henry VIII. bestowed this lordship on his natural son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, on whose decease soon after, at the age of seventeen, it reverted to the king. In the reign of King Edward VI., Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral, and brother of the Protector, had possession of the lordship and castle, the latter of which he made subservient to the promotion of his ambitious projects, collecting in it a large magazine of warlike stores and ammunition; but being attainted of high treason, and found guilty, he was beheaded on Tower Hill, London, in 1549, when Holt once more reverted to the crown. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., this castle was an important fortress, and was alternately in the possession of each of the contending parties. In 1643, it was besieged and taken for the parliament, by Sir William Brereton and Sir Thomas Myddelton; but it was shortly after retaken by the royalists, and in 1646 valiantly defended by Sir Richard Lloyd, of Esclusham, near Wrexham, against the parliamentarian forces under Major-General Mytton, until, after an obstinate resistance, it was finally surrendered to that commander upon honourable terms, in January 1647, and was immediately demolished by order of the parliament.

Though anciently a place of some note, the borough at present constitutes only an inconsiderable village. It is situated on the road from Wrexham to Nantwich, on an eminence rising gently from a spacious vale, and on the western bank of the Dee, in the navigable part of its course, and immediately above the point where this river is joined from the west by the powerful stream of the Alyn. The parish comprises 2726 acres; the soil is clayey, and appropriated chiefly to the growth of wheat. The scenery is not of the most pleasing character, owing to the flatness of the country and the scarcity of timber; the Dee, in this part, flows smoothly through a tract of meadows unadorned by any beauty, and which in rainy seasons are sometimes flooded. The river is here crossed to the village of Farndon, in Cheshire, by a stone bridge of ten arches, of very curious and ancient construction, which appears, from an inscription formerly to be seen over a portion called the Lady's Arch, to have been built in the year 1345. The Chester and Shrewsbury railway runs a few miles on the west of the village, passing through the parish of Gresford. A market formerly held at Holt, has long been discontinued: there are two annual fairs for cattle, on June 12th and October 29th.

By virtue of the above-mentioned charter of Thomas, Earl of Arundel, granted with the royal sanction, and dated from his "castle of Lyons," the place is still governed by a mayor, two bailiffs, and a coroner, who are elected annually. By the 27th of Henry VIII., Leon, otherwise Holt, was made a contributory borough, to share with Denbigh and Ruthin in the return of a member to parliament. The right of election here belonged to the resident burgesses, in number at present about 100; and serious quarrels concerning the election of a burgess have at different times arisen, from great numbers of strangers being made burgesses of Holt, for the express purpose of voting at the elections. By the act for "Amending the Representation of the People," passed in 1832, the town of Wrexham was added to this district of contributory boroughs; and the privilege of exercising the elective franchise was extended to all male persons of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds. The limits of the borough are co-extensive with the township of Holt, and comprise an area about nine miles in circumference: the present number of houses of the annual value of not less than ten pounds is about fifty. The mayor of Denbigh is the returning officer.

The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty; net income, £130, with a glebe-house; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. The church, dedicated to St. Chad, is a handsome structure, erected in the reign of Henry VII., in the later style of English architecture, with a good square embattled tower; the interior consists of a nave and aisles of equal height, without a clerestory, and is ninety-two feet in length and fifty-three in breadth, containing 340 sittings. There are places of worship for dissenters. A school was founded in 1664, by Griffith Roberts, who endowed it with property now producing £45 per annum; one or two other schools are supported in the parish, and three Sunday schools. Mr. John Brown bequeathed the interest of £200, and Mrs. Gartside the interest of £50, to be annually distributed in bread to the poor of the borough; and there are some other bequests for charitable purposes.

The castle was a strong pentagonal fortress, occupying the summit of a rock, environed on three sides by a broad moat excavated in quarrying stone for its erection, and on the fourth by the river Dee, which now flows under its ruins. It was defended at four of the angles by massive circular bastions, from which rose slender embattled turrets; and at the fifth angle, and also at the entrance, by square towers, of which that at the former was the "donjon," or keep, while the approach to the latter was protected by a drawbridge and portcullis. Coins of Antoninus and other Roman emperors have been found here; and slight traces of earthworks, supposed to be of Roman construction, are yet visible near the castle, and on the opposite side of the river.



 

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