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Ruthin, Denbighshire

Historical Description

Ruthin, a market and assize town, a municipal and contributory parliamentary borough, the head of a poor-law union, petty sessional division, and county court district, and a parish in Denbighshire. The town stands on rising ground, on the right bank of the river Clwyd, 8 miles SW by S of Denbigh, 201 by road and 211 by railway from London. It has a station on the Denbigh, Ruthin, and Corwen branch of the L. & N.W.R., and a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) The name Ruthin probably stands for Rhudd-ddin, "a red fort;" anciently called "Castell Coch, yng Ngwernfor," " the red castle in the great marsh." This castle is mentioned as being given in 1282 by Edward I. to Reginald de Grey, the first Lord Grey de Ruthin, though the town and castle date no doubt from times long prior to that. Ruthin was attacked and burnt in 1400 by Owen Glendower; was given by Henry VIII. to his son the Duke of Richmond, and by Elizabeth to the Earl of Warwick; suffered capture and dismantling of its castle in 1646 by General Mytton; gave the title of Baroness to Barbara Yelverton of Efford; and was the birthplace of Dean Goodman, and Bishops Godfrey Goodman and Parry. Ruthin was made a borough by Henry VII., and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. It unites with Denbigh, Holt, and Wrexham in sending a member to Parliament. It is a seat of assizes, sessions, and county courts, and consists chiefly of one long street. The site of the castle is now occupied by a mansion called Ruthin Castle, the seat of the Cornwallis-West family, built in 1826 and enlarged in 1851. The town-hall was built in 1863, contains an assembly room, and has a commodious market-hall attached. The county court-house and the county Jail are modern. There are two banks. The church (St Peter's) was originally the church of a White friary; was made collegiate for seven priests in 1310 by John de Grey; underwent restoration in 1859; has a lofty spire in the style of the 14th century, and a north aisle with a magnificent carved oak roof constructed by Henry VII. and ornamented with nearly 500 different devices, legends, &c.; contains a marble bust of Dean Goodman, and adjoins buildings which were formerly the residence of the canons, and are now the residence of the warden of Ruthin, and called " The Cloisters." A mill of the old white friary, of the time of Edward I., is on the bank of the river, underneath the walls of the castle, and has some lancet windows and a gable cross in red stone. The grammar school was founded in 1595 by Dean Goodman, and liad for pupils Archbishop Williams, Bishop Wynne, Deans Tucker and Cotton, Lord Kenyon, Barons Richards and Perryn, and the Welsh lexicographer Davies. Dean Goodman also founded twelve almshouses, called Christ's Hospital, whose warden is the Vicar of Ruthin. There are Calvinistic Methodist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels. A weekly market is held on Monday, and fairs are held on the first Tuesday of every month. The borough has the same limits municipally as parliamentarily, and includes all Ruthin parish and parts of Llanfwrog, Llanrhydd, Llanynys, and Llanfair-Dyffryn-Clwyd. Population, 2760.

Ruthin parish comprises 736 acres; population, 987; Llanrhydd parish, joined for ecclesiastical purposes, 1335 acres; population, 799. The living is a vicarage or wardenship, united with Llanrhydd, in the diocese of St Asaph; net value, £400 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Registration districtRuthin1837 - 1974

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Denbighshire is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: