Northop (North-Hope) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
NORTHOP (NORTH-HOPE), a parish, in the union of Holywell, Northop division of the hundred of Coleshill, county of Flint, North Wales, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Mold, and 3 (S. by E.) from Flint; containing 3566 inhabitants, of whom 1022 are in the township of Northop. This place, which obtained its present appellation in contradistinction to East, or Queen's, Hope, was by the Welsh called "Llan-Eurgain," from the dedication of its first church to St. Eurgain, niece of St. Asaph, the second bishop of the see that from him derived its name. The parish is situated on the estuary of the Dee, by which it is bounded on the north-east; and is traversed by the roads from Chester to Holyhead, and from Mold to Flint, which cross each other near the church. It comprises 8564 acres of good arable and pasture land, inclosed and cultivated, exclusively of several thousand acres of sands on the estuary of the river, which, being almost entirely dry at low water, might at a comparatively small expense be brought into cultivation. The village, which is large, is pleasantly situated in a fertile tract of country, abounding with finely varied and highly picturesque scenery, and is surrounded on all sides by elegant villas and handsome seats, inhabited by opulent families, the most conspicuous residence being Soughton Hall.
The parish is rich in mineral treasure, and coal and lead-ore have been worked here for centuries; a large colliery is still wrought in the township of Soughton, and several shafts have been sunk on the Northop Hall estate, in the township of Northop. In the township of Caervallough are some lead-mines, which have been wrought from the earliest times. An ale and porter brewery, the first of the kind established in the county, was erected in the hamlet of Kelsterton, in the year 1818, and is conducted with great advantage; part of the city of Chester, and this and the adjoining counties, being supplied from it. In the hamlet of Golvtyn a quay and pier were constructed some time ago by the Irish Coal Company, and vessels sail from this place for the ports of North Wales, for Liverpool, Dublin, London, and various parts of the world. The Chester and Holyhead railway, opened in 1848, runs for three miles through the parish, skirting the estuary of the Dee.
The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage; the rectory a sinecure, annexed, by an act passed in the 6th of Queen Anne's reign, to the bishopric of St. Asaph, in lieu of mortuaries, and rated in the king's books at �49. 14. 9�.; the vicarage endowed, rated at �14. 6. 8., and in the gift of the bishop. The tithes have been commuted for �1297, of which a sum of �797 is payable to the bishop, and a sum of �500 to the vicar: there is a glebe-house. The church, erected in 1571, and dedicated to St. Peter, was taken down in consequence of its dilapidated state, and rebuilt in 1839�40. The present church, the third upon the same site, is a spacious and embattled structure, with pinnacles, and a lofty and elegant tower ninety-eight feet high; the body of the edifice consists of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, with a sepulchral chapel adjoining the latter, in honour of St. Mary, and containing several ancient monuments. Of these, the oldest is one having the effigy of Edwyn ab Gronow, Prince of Tegengl, who died in 1073. Another has the effigy of a knight in complete armour, with the hands crossed upon the breast, and a lion at the feet, the shield bearing a cross with five mullets. A third monument is to the memory of a female, whose effigy is well sculptured, having the head protected by an elaborately wrought canopy; from the neck depends a massive chain, and around the whole is a mutilated inscription, of which only the date mcccclxxxii. is legible. In digging a grave near the communion table, in 1798, was found the figure of an armed knight, well sculptured; the armour of the period of the reign of Richard II.
Besides the parish church, there is a church called St. Mark's, in the eastern part of the parish, distant about three miles and a half from the mother church. It was erected in 1836�7, at a cost of �1500, and is a neat structure in the early English style of architecture, with a chancel and a square tower, and capable of seating 500 persons. A substantial and commodious parsonage-house was built in 1841, principally through the exertions and liberality of the Rev. Henry Jones, vicar of Northop. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar for the time being, with a net income of �120, chiefly derived from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' fund. Annexed to it, under an order in council dated January 1844, is a district consisting of five townships of the parish, namely Weppre, Golvtyn, Kelsterton, Leadbrook Major, and Leadbrook Minor; bordering on the river Dee, and containing, according to the last census, a population of 1067 souls. A great portion of this population is agricultural; but mariners, fishermen, and their families, constitute the majority. There are places of worship in the village for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists; at Rh�s-Esmor, in the mining district of the parish, one each for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists, for which latter denomination there are also one at Soughton and one at Golvtyn. The Independents have two places of worship, one of them at Soughton.
A free school was founded in 1606, by the Rev. George Smith, LL.B., who endowed it with �20 per annum for the salary of a master, and who also gave �2 per annum for the benefit of a poor child of each of the parishes of Northop, Flint, Whitford, Cwm, and St. Asaph. Dr. D. Ellis, in 1624, augmented the endowment with �5 a year, for the better support of the master; and Owen Jones, Esq., in 1658, bequeathed all his lands and tenements in Northop to the vicar and churchwardens, in trust for the maintenance of seven boys of the parish whilst remaining in the school, who should receive �4 per annum each for five years, and at the expiration of that time be apprenticed with a fee of �8. Previously to 1815, the rents of the property had amounted to �131 per annum, and there was at that time a surplus of �547 in the hands of the trustees. By a decree of the court of Chancery, issued in that year, five more boys were added to the establishment, making twelve; the annual payment to each was increased to �6, and the apprentice fee to �12; an addition of �10 per annum was made to the salary of the master, and the remaining surplus was ordered to be distributed to the poor not receiving parochial aid. In 1609, three years after the date of the Rev. George Smith's will, the parish built a school-house, on ground adjoining the churchyard; but this building is now used as a vestry-room, and for the purpose of a Sunday school, the school having been transferred in 1823 as a National school to a new building erected by subscription, aided by a gift of �100 from the National Society, upon ground presented by the late Marquess of Westminster. The endowments now available for education, exclusively of the funds for the maintenance and apprenticeship of the twelve boys, amount to �75, of which �65 are appropriated to the National school, and �10 to a National school in connexion with St. Mark's church. A British school is held in the village of Pentre, the neighbourhood of which abounds with coal-pits; and in the village of Rh�s-Esmor is a school, established in 1844 by the congregation of Calvinistic Methodists there. Nine Sunday schools are also carried on in the parish, two of which are in connexion with the Established Church. Various charitable donations and bequests have been appropriated to the endowment of the National school, being included in the income above stated: among them were, a bequest of �50, by Mrs. Margaret Ellis, in 1700, for teaching female children, one of �40 by Hugh Carrison, and another of �20 by Mr. Edwards of Soughton. Of the charities not so applied are a rent-charge of �2 by Lady Catherine Hanmer, in 1646, and two others of �1 each, by Henry Kenrick in 1609, and Hugh Price Wynne. But the chief benefactor of the parish was the above Owen Jones, whose estates now produce �138. 16. per annum, of which about �40 are distributed on Maundy-Thursday and St. Thomas's day among the poor.
In the hamlet of Caervallough, about two miles westward from the village, are the remains of a very extensive camp, called Moel-y-Gaer, or "the fortified hill," occupying an eminence surrounded by a deep circular fosse, and having an entrance on the western side. Within the area, and near the northern extremity, is a small artificial mound, from the summit of which is one of the most extensive prospects in the principality. This camp, which is the most perfect British post in North Wales, commanded all the lines of stations on the Clwydian mountains, to the west: the view from it embraces the vales of Hope and Mold, as far as Wrexham, on the south; the estuaries of the Dee and the Mersey, with the port of Liverpool, on the north; and Chester, on the east. About 300 paces to the north-west of it is a large artificial mound, overlooking the pass of the mountain, and most probably intended as an outpost to the principal camp of Moel-y-Gaer. At the distance of a mile north of the village of Northop, and near the road leading to Holywell, are the ruins of Llŷs Edwyn, the ancient palace of Edwyn ab Gronow, the above-named Prince of Tegengl. These remains, which are very inconsiderable, occupy a commanding situation; the foundations of the palace may still be traced, and the moat by which it was surrounded is tolerably perfect on the north-east. Edwyn, in conjunction with several of the native princes of North Wales, attempted to oppose the progress of William the Conqueror in the subjugation of the principality, but he failed, and, as appears from Domesday-book, was compelled to hold his territories subject to that monarch. After Edwyn's death, in 1073, they remained in the possession of his descendants till the reign of Henry IV., when Howel Gwynedd, having embraced the cause of Owain Glyndwr, was taken prisoner and beheaded, and his estates were forfeited to the crown. Wat's Dyke, here erroneously called Offa's Dyke, enters the parish in the hamlet of Soughton, and crossing the road to Mold near the turnpike-gate, takes a western course for some distance, and then forming an acute angle and taking a northern direction, crosses the Holywell road at the stone-quarry, within a mile from the village of Northop, and passes near Llŷs Edwyn, where it again pursues a western course, leaving the parish near Cornist.
William Parry, LL.D., representative in parliament for Queenborough in the reign of Elizabeth, and who was executed before the door of the parliament-house, in 1584, for designing the death of that sovereign, was a native of the parish; and Dr. John Wynne, Bishop of St. Asaph, and afterwards of Bath and Wells, who received the rudiments of his education in the free grammar school, was interred in the chancel of the church: he erected Soughton Hall in 1714.