Denbigh - Encyclopedia




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DENBIGH (Dinbych), a municipal and (with Holt, Ruthin and Wrexham) contributory parliamentary borough, market town and county town of Denbighshire, N. Wales, on branches of the London & North Western and the Great Western railways. Pop. (1901) 6438. Denbigh Castle, surrounding the hill with a double wall, was built, in Edward I.'s reign, by Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, from whom the town received its first charter. The outer wall is nearly a mile round; over its main gateway is a niche with a figure representing, possibly, Edward I., but more probably, de Lacy. Here, in 1645, after the defeat of Rowton Moor, Charles I. found shelter, the castle long resisting the Parliamentarians, and being reduced to ruins by his successor. The chief buildings are the Carmelite Priory (ruins dating perhaps from the 13th century); a Bluecoat school (1514); a free grammar school (1527); an orphan girl school (funds left by Thomas Howel to the Drapers' Co., in Henry VII.'s reign); the town hall (built in 1572 by Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, enlarged and restored in 1780); an unfinished church (begun by Leicester); a market hall (with arcades or "rows," such as those of Chester or Yarmouth); and the old parish church of St Marcella. The streams near Denbigh are the Clwyd and Elwy. The inhabitants of Denbigh are chiefly occupied in the timber trade, butter-making, poultry-farming, bootmaking, tanning and quarrying (lime, slate and paving-stones). The borough of Denbigh has a separate commission of the peace, but no separate court of quarter sessions. The town has long been known as a Welsh publishing centre, the vernacular newspaper, Baner, being edited and printed here. Near Denbigh, at Bodelwyddan, &c., coal is worked.

The old British tower and castle were called Castell caled fryn yn Rhos, the "castle of the hard hill in Rhos." Din in Dinbych means a fort. There is a goblin well at the castle. Historically, David (Dafydd), brother of the last Llewelyn, was here (aet. Edward I.) perhaps on a foray; also Henry Lacy, who built the castle (aet. Edward I.), given to the Mortimers and to Leicester (under Edward III. and Elizabeth, respectively).

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