is a community
A community is a division of land in Wales that forms the lowest-tier of local government in Wales. Welsh communities are analogous to civil parishes in England....
and the county town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...
of Denbighshire in north Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...
. Located around a hill in the southern part of the Vale of Clwyd
The Vale of Clwyd is a tract of low-lying ground in the county of Denbighshire in northeast Wales. The Vale extends south-southwestwards from the coast of the Irish Sea for some 20 miles forming a triangle of low ground bounded on its eastern side by the well-defined scarp of the Clwydian Range...
- the older part of the town, the castle and Saint Peter's Square are located on top of the hill, while many newer parts of the town are on the floodplain of the River Clwyd
The River Clwyd is a river in North Wales which rises in the Clocaenog Forest northwest of Corwen.It flows due south until at Melin-y-Wig it veers northeastwards, tracking the A494 to Ruthin. Here it leaves the relatively narrow valley and enters a broad agricultural vale, the Vale of Clwyd...
(which became apparent on several occasions in the late 1990s—new flood control works costing £3 million were inaugurated in autumn 2003). Ruthin also has villages on the outskirts of the town such as Pwllglas
Pwllglas is a village on the outskirts of Ruthin, north Wales. It is home to the Ruthin-Pwllglas Golf Club which is popular among golfers across Denbighshire, Denbigh Golf Club being the other club in the county....
Rhewl is a village on the A525 between Ruthin and Denbigh in the county of Denbighshire in North Wales.The village is notable for its football club, Rhewl F.C.. Rhewl primary school was one of many schools due to be shut down but protests by the local newspapers and parents of the pupils saved the...
The name 'Ruthin' comes from the Welsh
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...
(red) and din
(fort), and refers to the colour of the new red sandstone
which forms the geologic basis of the area, and from which the castle was constructed in 1277-1284. The original name of Rhuthin was 'Castell Coch yng Ngwern-fôr' (red castle in the sea-swamps).
The population at the 2001 Census
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....
was 5,218 of whom 47% were male and 53% female. The average age of the population was 43.0 years and the population is 98.2% "white".
North Wales Police
North Wales Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing North Wales. The headquarters are in Colwyn Bay, with divisional headquarters in St Asaph, Caernarfon and Wrexham....
classify Ruthin as having an "average" level of crime for their area, which itself has one of the lowest crime rates in the United Kingdom.
Source: North Wales Police: Ruthin crime levels and statistics
| Type of crime
|| 2008 crime rate (per 1000 inhabitants)
|| 2008 average actual number of crimes/month
|| 2007 crime rate (per 1000 inhabitants)
|| 2007 average actual number of crimes/month
| Vehicle crime
| Anti-social behaviour
There is evidence of Celtic and later Roman settlements in the area. However, little is known of the history of the town before construction of Ruthin Castle
Ruthin Castle is a medieval castle fortification in Wales, near the town of Ruthin in the Vale of Clwyd. It was constructed during the late 13th century by Dafydd, the brother of Prince Llywelyn II, on a red sandstone ridge overlooking the valley....
started in 1277 by Dafydd
Dafydd ap Gruffydd was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283 by King Edward I of England...
, the brother of prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf , sometimes rendered as Llywelyn II, was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England....
, but he forfeited the castle when he rebelled against King Edward I
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...
with his brother; Edward's queen, Eleanor
Eleanor of Castile was the first queen consort of Edward I of England. She was also Countess of Ponthieu in her own right from 1279 until her death in 1290, succeeding her mother and ruling together with her husband.-Birth:...
, was in residence in 1281. The Marcher Lord, Reginald de Grey
The title of Baron Grey de Ruthyn was created in the Peerage of England by writ of summons in 1324 for Roger Grey, a son of John Grey, 2nd Baron Grey of Wilton. It has been abeyant since 1963...
, Justiciar of Chester, was given the Cantref
(an administrative district) of Deffrencloyt (= Dyffryn Clwyd, the Welsh for Vale of Clwyd
), and his family ran the area for the next 226 years. The third Baron de Grey's land dispute with Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...
triggered Glyndŵr's rebellion against King Henry IV
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...
which began on 16 September 1400, when Glyndŵr burned Ruthin to the ground, reputedly leaving only the castle and a few other buildings standing.
The Lord de Grey established a fine Collegiate Church in 1310. Now, the Collegiate and Parish Church of St Peter, it dominates the Ruthin skyline. The double naved church boasts 2 fine medieval carved roofs. The church is known for its excellent musical tradition, it has a large choir of children and adults and a fine 4 manual Wadsworth-Willis Organ. Behind the church can be seen the old college buildings, school and Christ's hospital that form a charming precinct befitting a significant establishment.
A Ruthin native, Sir Thomas Exmewe
Sir Thomas Exmewe was born in Ruthin, Denbighshire c. 1454 and was elected Sheriff of London in 1509 and Lord Mayor of London in 1517. He became the first Lord Mayor of London whose portrait is known to have been painted. The portrait is now in the collection of the Guildhall Art Gallery and has...
was Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1517-18.
The half-timbered Old Court House (built in 1401), now a branch of the NatWest Bank, features the remains of a gibbet last used to execute a Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....
priest, Charles Meehan. He had the misfortune to be shipwrecked on the Welsh coast when Catholicism was equated with treason — Meehan was hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1679.
During the English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...
the castle survived an eleven-week siege, after which it was demolished by order of Parliament. The castle was rebuilt in the 19th century as a country house, and is now a luxury hotel, the Ruthin Castle Hotel
From 1826 until 1921 the castle was the home of the Cornwallis-West family, members of Victorian and Edwardian high society.
In its 18th century heyday as a town on drovers' routes from Wales into England, Ruthin was reputed to have "a pub for every week of the year". By 2007, however, there are only eleven pubs in the town.
The first copies of the Welsh national anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...
, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the national anthem of Wales. The title – taken from the first words of the song – means "Old Land of My Fathers", usually rendered in English as simply "Land of My Fathers". The words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son, James James, both residents...
, were printed in what is now the Siop Nain
tea and gift shop on Well Street.
In 1863 the Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway
, which linked in Denbigh with the Vale of Clwyd Railway
The Vale of Clwyd Railway was a line which connected the towns of Rhyl and Denbigh via St. Asaph.At Rhyl the line connected with the North Wales Coast Line....
(subsequently part of the London and North Western Railway
The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway...
, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway
The London Midland and Scottish Railway was a British railway company. It was formed on 1 January 1923 under the Railways Act of 1921, which required the grouping of over 120 separate railway companies into just four...
, and British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...
) reached the town. The route ran from Rhyl
Rhyl is a seaside resort town and community situated on the north east coast of Wales, in the county of Denbighshire , at the mouth of the River Clwyd . To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay, with the resort of Towyn further west, Prestatyn to the east and Rhuddlan to the south...
on the north coast, through Denbigh and Ruthin to Corwen. Thereafter the line joined a route from Ruabon
Ruabon is a village and community in the county borough of Wrexham in Wales.More than 80% of the population of 2,400 were born in Wales with 13.6% speaking Welsh....
Llangollen is a small town and community in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, situated on the River Dee and on the edge of the Berwyn mountains. It has a population of 3,412.-History:...
, Corwen and Bala
Bala is a market town and community in Gwynedd, Wales, and formerly an urban district of the historic county of Merionethshire. It lies at the north end of Bala Lake , 17 miles north-east of Dolgellau, with a population of 1,980...
Barmouth ; Y Bermo ) is a town in the county of Gwynedd, north-western Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Cardigan Bay.The town is served by Barmouth railway station.- History :...
. The railway and Ruthin railway station
Ruthin Railway Station served the town of Ruthin in Wales, between the years of 1862 and 1962. It was the main headquarters of the Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway. It had two platforms, a bay siding and a goods shed that opened into a second bay platform...
closed in 1963 as part of the Beeching Axe
The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard...
. The site of the town's railway station is now occupied by a large road roundabout (Brieg
Briec , is a commune in the Finistère department in the region of Brittany in north-western France.-Sights:*Saint-Pierre parish church, 15th century*Chapelle de la Madeleine, 16th century...
Roundabout) and the Ruthin Craft Centre which originally opened in 1982 but was rebuilt and reopened in 2008 http://www.wai.org.uk/index.cfm?UUID=1198892C-65BF-7E43-3802ACEB3BABD04D
Sir Henry Haydn Jones MP
Sir Henry Haydn Jones was a Welsh Liberal Party politician.- Upbringing :Henry Haydn Jones was born in Ruthin, Wales. He was the son of Joseph David Jones , a schoolmaster in the town and a respected Welsh musician and composer...
(1863–1950) politician, slate quarry owner, and owner of the Talyllyn Railway
The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge preserved railway in Wales running for from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn. The line was opened in 1866 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn, and was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain...
was brought up in the town. He is immortalised for children as Sir Handel
, owner of the Skarloey Railway in Rev. W. Awdry's
Wilbert Vere Awdry, OBE , was an English clergyman, railway enthusiast and children's author, better known as the Reverend W. Awdry and creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, who starred in Awdry's acclaimed Railway Series.-Life:Awdry was born at Ampfield vicarage near Romsey, Hampshire in 1911...
The Railway Series is a set of story books about a railway system located on the fictional Island of Sodor. There are 42 books in the series, the first being published in 1945. Twenty-six were written by the Rev. W. Awdry, up to 1972. A further 16 were written by his son, Christopher Awdry; 14...
On 6 June 1947 Władysław Raczkiewicz, the first president of the Polish government in exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...
, died in Ruthin. He was buried in the Polish Cemetery in Newark
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1 , and the East Coast Main Line railway. The origins of the town are possibly Roman as it lies on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way...
Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west...
Ruthin hosted the National Eisteddfod
The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the most important of several eisteddfodau that are held annually, mostly in Wales.- Organisation :...
in 1868 and 1973. The Urdd
dde|200px|thumb|The Urdd logoUrdd Gobaith Cymru, literally, the Welsh League of Hope, but normally translated as the Welsh League of Youth, or merely referred to as the Urdd, is a Welsh-medium youth movement with over 1,500 branches and over 50,000 members...
National Eisteddfod visited Ruthin in 1992 and 2006.
The town's principal school is Ysgol Brynhyfryd
Ysgol Brynhyfryd is a bilingual co-educational comprehensive school in the town of Ruthin in Denbighshire, North Wales. The school serves the community of Ruthin and the many surrounding villages including the rural districts of Corwen, Carrog and Gwyddelwern...
(Brynhyfryd School), a comprehensive school for 11-18 year olds. It was founded in 1898 as Ruthin County School for Girls
(the town's boys travelling five miles by train to Denbigh High School, and vice versa). The school went co-educational with feeder junior schools up to around six miles away in 1938. The school underwent building work in the 1950s, early 1970s (when the number of pupils increased from 700 to 1000 in a few years, when the minimum school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16), and 2001-2. The school's sports facilities, including the swimming pool are used as the town's Leisure Centre, and it also features a theatre and arts complex, Theatr John Ambrose
, named after the late headmaster of the school in the 1980s and 1990s, which was opened by the actor Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans is a Welsh actor and musician. He is known for his portrayal of characters such as Spike in Notting Hill and Jed Parry in Enduring Love and as a member of the Welsh rock groups Super Furry Animals and The Peth. Ifans also appeared as Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly...
, etc.) a former pupil of Ysgol Pentrecelyn and Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold, but brought up in Ruthin.
In 1574 Dr Gabriel Goodman
Gabriel Goodman was the Dean of Westminster and the re-founder of Ruthin School, in Ruthin, Denbighshire.-Early years:...
re-founded Ruthin School
Ruthin School is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom. Located on the outskirts of Ruthin, the county town of Denbighshire in North Wales, the school is over seven hundred years old and has been co-educational since 1990.- Beginnings :...
which had been originally founded in 1284 and is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom. In 1590, Goodman established Christ's Hospital
for 12 poor persons around St. Peter's Church on the square, and was Dean of Westminster
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...
for 40 years (1561–1601).
The football team is Ruthin Town F.C.
Ruthin Town Football Club are a Welsh football club, based at the Memorial Playing Fields in Ruthin, Denbighshire, and are one of the most popular football clubs in North Wales with long history of providing sport to all ages to the local communuity...
The rugby team is Ruthin/Rhuthun R.F.C
Ruthin Rugby Football Club is a rugby union team from the town of Ruthin, North Wales. Ruthin RFC presently play in the Welsh Rugby Union Division Four North League and is a feeder club for the Llanelli Scarlets..-Club history:...
- (Teams: Minis, Youth, 3rd XV, 2nd XV, 1st XV & Women's XV http://www.rygbirhuthun.com/ http://www.ruthinjuniorrugby.co.uk/
Ruthin Badminton club at Brynhyfryd leisure centre.
The 17th century Crown House, on Well Street, houses the head office of The Broadcasting Company, Europe's largest radio sports agency.
On 13 June 1981 Ruthin hosted the Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board
The International Football Association Board is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football.-Operations:...
, the body which determines the laws of football.
Ruthin Gaol ceased to be a prison in 1916 when the prisoners and guards were transferred to Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...
. The County Council bought the buildings in 1926 and used part of them for offices, the county archives, and the town library. During the Second World War the prison buildings were used as a munitions factory, before being handed back to the County Council, when it was the headquarters of the Denbighshire Library Service. In 2002 the Gaol was extensively renovated and reopened as a museum.
The first House of Correction, or Bridewell
, was built at the bottom of Clwyd Street, next to the river, in 1654, to replace the Old Court House, where able-bodied idlers and the unemployed were sent to work. Following John Howard
John Howard was a philanthropist and the first English prison reformer.-Birth and early life:Howard was born in Lower Clapton, London. His father, also John, was a wealthy upholsterer at Smithfield Market in the city...
's investigations into prison conditions the Denbighshire justices resolved to build a new model prison in Ruthin on the site of the old Bridewell. Work began in January 1775. In 1802 the prison had four cells for prisoners and nine rooms for debtors. By 1837 it could hold 37 inmates. The Prisons Act of 1865 set new standards for the design of prisons — as the Ruthin County Gaol did not meet the standards plans were drawn up for a new four-storey wing, and the new prison accommodating up to 100 prisoners, in the style of London's Pentonville Prison
HM Prison Pentonville is a Category B/C men's prison, operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service. Pentonville Prison is not actually within Pentonville itself, but is located further north, on the Caledonian Road in the Barnsbury area of the London Borough of Islington, in inner-North London,...
was built at a cost of £12,000. On 1 April 1878 the Ruthin County Gaol became HM Prison Ruthin, covering the counties of Denbighshire
Denbighshire is a county in north-east Wales. It is named after the historic county of Denbighshire, but has substantially different borders. Denbighshire has the distinction of being the oldest inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd Palaeolithic site has remains of Neanderthals from 225,000 years...
Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...
, and Merionethshire
Merionethshire is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.The administrative county of Merioneth, created under the Local Government Act 1888, was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 on April 1, 1974...
. As far as is known, only one person was ever executed in the prison, William Hughes of Denbigh, aged 42, who was hanged on 17 February 1903 for the murder of his wife, his plea of insanity having failed. Another colourful prison personality was John Jones, known as Coch Bach y Bala
– who was a kleptomaniac and poacher who had spent more than half his 60 years in all the prisons of north Wales and many in England; he twice escaped from Ruthin Gaol, first on 30 November 1879 when he walked out of prison with three others while the staff were having supper — a £5 reward was offered for his capture, which happened the following 3 January. On 30 September 1913 he tunnelled out of his cell and using a rope made out of his bedding he climbed over the roof of the chapel and kitchen and got over the wall; after seven days living rough on the Nantclwyd Estate several miles away, Jones was shot in the leg by one of his pursuers, 19 year old Reginald Jones-Bateman. Jones died of shock and blood loss, while Jones-Bateman was charged with manslaughter, though the charges were subsequently dropped.