Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Ruthin, Denbighshire. This is a town that still contrives to keep the sense of its medieval origin, since it stands on a hilt with its houses grouped round the market square. The rise in the centre of the town is 1 in 11, and the Council House and the timbered houses of 16th and 17th century pattern take you back to when Ruthin was of much importance to the woollen trade. This was in the days of the Tudors; a charter was granted to it in 1507, and its grammar school, typical of the educational impulse that played so great a part in Tudor policy, was founded in 1594.
Its history goes back even further, as a rough block of limestone set at the West side of the square close to Exmewe Hall makes plain. This ancient stone is traditionally said to have been the execution block on which, by order of King Arthur, one Huail son of Kaw was beheaded. The tale need not be taken literally; the stone is a relic of the Roman-British society for which “Arthur” was the symbol, and Huail was recorded by later chronicles as being the brother of Gildas, the 6th century British cleric who wrote his famous though biased history in Brittany. The legend is a metaphorical rendering of history. But interest of a more recent date is attached to Ruthin. The uprising of Owain Glyndwr began here when he surprised the town in 1400 and made an attack on the castle. It was then held by a Lord Marcher, Grey of Ruthin, whose family had had the grant of Dyffryn Clwyd in 1282 following the fall of the independent principality of North Wales; between him and Glyndwr there was a personal enmity. The town was burnt, but the castle held out. Glyndwr had better fortune two years later when, in his victory at Vyrnwy, Grey was captured and imprisoned in Dolbadarn Castle. He was, however, later released for a ransom of 10,000 marks: a fitting conclusion on both sides. since the feud began with a treacherous move on Grey's part to acquire Glyndwr's property in the valley of the Dee. The Welshman had been trained as a lawyer at Westminster.
The town of Ruthin is said to get its name from the castle, built of red stone and so having, perhaps, the Welsh name of Rhudd Ddin. It shared the fate of its fellow 13th century Edwardian structures in North Wales during the Civil Wars; held for the King, it was taken by the Parliamentary general Mytton in 1646, and was dismantled by order of the Protectorate. It is now mainly a ruin, but its ground-plan, moat, and Curtain wall defended by five drum-towers can still be seen. St Peter's Church, once a monastic foundation, was made a collegiate church about 1310 by the Grey of Ruthin of the time. Its North roof, intricately carved, was done by order of Henry Tudor, Henry VII of England, when he purchased the Marcher Lordship from the Earl of Kent.
In the Ruthin area are many places of great interest. Llanrhaeadr-yn-Cinmerch has a church whose lych-gate, porch, and elaborate chancel roof are masterpieces of woodwork. It is ancient, but with the double-nave construction to which native Welsh churches turned in their later development. Its Jesse window, dated 1533, is an excellent example of Tudor glass-colouring. During the Civil War it was hidden from the Puritan troopers in a chest, which in turn was buried in the churchyard. Both it and the chest, restored to its due place, are worth examining.
Nearby towns: Corwen, Denbigh, Flint, Llangollen, Mold, Wrexham
Nearby villages: Bettws Gwerfil Goch, Bodfari, Bryneglwys, Cerrigydrudion, Cilcain, Clawdd-Newydd, Clocaenog, Cyffylliog, Derwen, Efenechtyd, Graigfechan, Gwaenynog, Gwyddelwern, Henllan, Llandegla, Llandderfel, Llandyrnog, Llanelidan, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Llanferres, Llangynhafal, Llanrhaiadr, Llanrhydd, Nannerch, Nercwys, Northop, Northop, Rhydymwyn
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation