• Rhydymwyn, a village and an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1865 from the ancient parishes of Cilcain, Halkyn, Mold and Northop,
is situated  three miles northwest from Mold (on the A541 Mold-Denbigh road) and eight miles south of Holywell.
The village is located in the River Alyn valley. Once a district of Mold it was recognised as a separate parish from 1865.

  • The geology of the area consists of a layer of extremely pure, and hence structurally sound, 200ft thick layer of limestone at depths ranging from surface to 900 feet.
The limestone holds other minerals, including lead, nickel and copper deposits making the area ideal for mining
Due to the industrialisation of North West England , and its needs for mineral supplies,
the mineral deposits in the Alyn valley created a population explosion in various villages, including Rhydymwyn.
From the mid-1700s, Rhydymwyn was the site for a range of industries, which included foundries and a waterwheel as well as mine workings.

  • The Mold and Denbigh Junction Railway had a station on the south side of the A541, which opened on 6 September 1869.
With the closure of the line under the Beeching Axe , the station closed to passengers on 30 April 1962 and completely from 4 May 1964.
The former station building is now a private house.

  • There has been a Post Office in the village since 1894 and it was first located on the Nant Alyn road,some 100 yards from the main A541.
Sometime between the years 1912 and 1936, the original post office was re-located further west along the Nant Alyn road, about 50 yards away,
and then closed after a short period, when a new building was opened in 1936.
The present Post Office building is sited on the corner of the Nant Alyn Road and the A541 and was built in 1935
by a Mr Thomas Hughes, a local man who owned several properties and land in the area.
Mrs Mary Pritchard was the first postmistress in 1894 - letters would arrive from Mold,
the nearest money order and telegraph office at 7.50am and dispatched on return at 5.55pm

  • In the autumn of 2000, local rainfall was exceptional in terms of intensity and duration.
Between 28 October and 6 November, 68 homes and 8 businesses flooded in Rhydymwyn because of overflow from the River Alyn.
In 2002 and 2003,DEFRA's internal team in two phases created a flood alarm and protection scheme to protect the whole village and Valley Works,
with a level of protection in excess of a flood with a 1% chance of occurring in any one year.
The total cost for the scheme was £88,000.

There is more to Rhydymwyn and Hendre than first meets the eye.

Although small, the villages have a wealth of history and take a prominent place in our national history. Rhydymwyn (Ford of the
Ore) takes its name from the ford across the River Alyn now replaced by a small iron bridge, while a Hendre is an old
homestead or winter dwelling, contrasting with a Hafod which was a summer dwelling, usually on higher ground.  

Today the villages are quiet places to live with little noise apart from the passing traffic and the occasional distant blasting at
the quarries, but not so long ago, both industry and agriculture thrived alongside each other and steam trains sped along the
Mold to Denbigh line.

Over recent years much publicity has been given to the former
Valley Works, which played a significant and important part
during the Second World War, a role, the extent of which remained secret for many years to come. At its peak, over two
thousand men and women worked there. During the War years, the village was visited by Royalty as well as by many famous
entertainers of the day and the BBC transmitted “Workers’ Playtime” from the Valley Works canteen.

On the same site a hundred years earlier, a significant
iron foundry
would have emitted noise and heat and the Leete,
a remarkable engineering achievement, would have gushed with water.

The iron foundry, the lead mines, the lead smelting works, the Ruby Brick works, the forge and mill at Hendre,
all of which were vitally important to both villages in their day, have come and gone.

The villages were served by four public houses, the Royal Oak Inn and the Glanrafon Inn at Hendre and the Sun Inn and Antelope
(formerly The Gwysaney Arms Hotel) at Rhydymwyn. The villages each had a
Post Office and over the years there were several shops,
including a
butcher, grocers, barbers, cafés and even a chip shop at Rhyd Alyn in Rhydymwyn,
add to these the local traders and door to door deliveries and a busy picture can be imagined.

There were three
chapels, the earliest at Garreg Boeth and two at Hendre. Only one building survives today but it is barely recognisable as it is now a light industrial unit.



                                                                                                                         The old
schools at Rhydymwyn and Nant Alyn are now private houses,
                                                                                                      and the most recent school in Rhydymwyn, closed in 2007.  
                                                                                                
                                                     

                                                                                                          The school log books record the frequent absence of children
                                                                                                                   during harvest-time and chronicles the social history of the villages.



St John’s Church still stands, as proudly in the centre of Rhydymwyn as it did when new in 1876.

Rhydymwyn has always attracted walkers, cyclists and campers. Many came from Liverpool and further to enjoy the tranquillity of the Welsh countryside,
often arriving by train at the village
railway station. Nant Alyn campsite and later caravan park was always popular.
During the 1950s/ 60s the
Antelope Field buzzed with the excitement of the sprint trials and pursuit races of the Wirral 100 Motor Club,
attracting competitors and spectators from far and wide.
The Antelope Hotel and Café was a popular stopping place for coach parties.   

Both villages have seen great social activity over the years with fairs, fetes, shows and sports days, and a wide variety of other community events.
They have both experienced floods, and have both been tested in times of war and disaster. The villages have a fascinating and extensive history.
Today is tomorrow’s history and hopefully the lives of today’s inhabitants will be of equal interest to the generations to come.   

Please email me at webmaster@rhydymwyn-hendre.org/  if you have any ephemera, photographs etc connected with the history of Rhydymwyn or Hendre
that you would like to share (Photographic images can be watermarked if required before insertion into these pages)
All articles and photographs on this website are Copyright © 2008-2013 Rhydymwyn and Hendre Community Group Website-All Rights Reserved
This page last updated 23/03/2013
My thanks go to JohnLes Tomas
of Y Dderwen-The Oak in Hendre
for this article and the photo
accompanying it
The hooter is proudly displayed
in the bar at Y Dderwen-Royal Oak
History of Rhydymwyn and Hendre

The picture on the right shows the hooter from the Olwyn Goch mine in Hendre.

It was given to the Y Dderwen -The Oak to be displayed there by Mr Berwyn Roberts of Caerwys.
Berwyn had worked in quarrying for 27 years with the Pwllheli Granite Company up to 1979
and then with Wimpy’s quarries here in Flintshire until 1993.

The hooter from the Olwyn Goch mine was bought in a job-lot auction at a sale in 1979.
The hooter was used at the mine right up to its closure.
In December of 2001 the hooter was tested on an air line and still found to be working.

Cris Ebbs’ excellent book, The Milwr tunnel, Bagillt to Loggerheads 1897-1987
will give you more details about the mine, the tunnels under Hendre and the surrounding countryside.

When the Milwr Tunnel eventually reached Hendre an old shaft known as The Olwyn Goch [the red wheel] was
enlarged to 12ft by 12ft 6ins. and deepened to 490 ft.- the bottom being 27 feet below tunnel level. During this
work the old shaft was 8ft. out of true at its bottom.
The Olwyn Goch had cages capable of carrying 16 men or two mine cars.
The shaft was chiefly used to raise men and materials to the surface until the 1940’s
when limestone was quarried underground and raised there.
The speed of winding was 710ft. per minute or 8 miles per hour.
At the surface close to the Olwyn Goch shaft offices,changing rooms, bath houses and lamp rooms
sufficient for 500 men were built.

In 1939, Pilkington’s of St. Helens became interested in the limestone for glass making
and began excavating large amounts of stone to the area west of the Olwyn Goch.
This continued until 1969 and created some impressive underground chambers
some up to 80 ft. high and if joined end to end would extend for some 2 miles.

Limestone output was 70-80,000 tons per annum.

No lead was mined from 1958-1964 as work centred on limestone mining at Hendre.

A final jump in ore prices in 1964 kept a few men busy until 1977 but the work force never exceeded 40.

For ten years work revolved around maintenance and tunnel repair until final closure in 1987.

During the second world war, John Bellis was in charge of mining 20 storage chambers underground
these were let to the Ministry of Supply.
Each chamber was some 80 ft. long by 30ft. high and they were scattered throughout
the workings at the Olwyn Goch. The chambers stored enormous amounts of TNT.
Answer from the Webmaster
As far as I know the building that looks like a chapel is actually a bathhouse and the pond
further up the road appears to be the spring that supplies the water to the bath - but of
course if any one has any more information about this building I would be pleased to put it
on this page
When the famous German composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy visited his father’s friend,
John Taylor, (himself a famous mining engineer and entrepreneur)
and his family and stayed at their home at
Coed Du in 1824,
he would undoubtedly have passed the Rhydymwyn
Corn Mill,
which stood opposite
Mill House and the lead smelting works below Coed Du.

While at Coed Du, Mendelssohn wrote several works including “The Rivulet”,
inspired by the beauty of the countryside.

Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies came and walked the Leete
and both his and Mendelssohn’s visits are commemorated by a
plaque in Nant Alyn Road.
I am grateful to Robin Smith (see above) who sent me this answer to the above question
The building you describe is situated on "Bath Hill". There are many springs on the hill and there was at least one at the roadside where people could fill
bottles of water. I remember my Mum mentioning that she recalled a gentleman from the village with TB who collecting the water from there on a regular
basis. I suspect that the bath house dates back to the time when Coed Du Hall was a private house. It was a mental institution and I  understand it was
owned by Denbighshire County Council. As a child I remember the great fetes held there by the Friends of Coed Du Hospital.
and Pat Daley also sent me her views
I was speaking to a friend, who knows the area  well, and he  thought that the building was a bath house, probably used by the ladies of  Coed Du Hall .  
Apparently there is a building at Powys Castle away from the castle and out of the prying eyes of gardeners!!! where the ladies could bathe.
Yet another theory  - could this building possibly be an immersion pool for a local church?
Apparently, in limestone country such pools were often constructed over a spring to ensure a regular supply of water.

I am grateful to  Stefan Fierros  for the following article- of which I have only printed a small part-about Bryn bellan

This hamlet is situated about two miles to the north west of Mold, the road running from the south west of the settlement leading to Gwernaffield
and the road from the northwest leading to Rhydymwyn-
the article below  is a micro history of the area written by Helen Paul for her GCSE studies

Amongst scattered trees and rugged sloping pasture, a typically welsh landscape, situated between Mold and Gwernaffield
lies a tiny community consisting of pre-19th century to late Victorian buildings, the existence of which few are aware.
Bryn bellan eventually became two properties between 1961and 1969-Bryn Bellan and Bellan House

Many houses in the area were built for the convenience of the local miners or for people working on the Rhual estate.
The two Bryn Huw cottages were built in 1947 for Rhual's coachman and bailiff.
Four terraced cottages were built in 1909 and two of them are still owned by the Rhual estate.

To live in an age of such little fear of crime and violence must have been bliss.
One person interviewed remembered having to hike to school in Gwernaffield every day from the age of five with only his brother three years his senior for a companion.
At five his own brother had had to walk alone. During the winter they would sledge to school and back- a picture never witnessed nowadays.

The knowledge of the residents who occupied the property only extends back to just before World War 11
to the early 1930's when it was a single property and owned by  a Miss Gunton-
she was unmarried with no known family so to keep her company she filled her spacious home with literally hundreds of cats.

The next occupant -a Colonel Webber -installed a post box at the end of the lane adjacent to the Gwernaffield road for his own personal use.
He lived alone except for his housekeeper who lived in the top bedroom which is now the current owners attic

Then came the war-Colonel Webber sold Bryn bellan to ICI in 1938 who then occupied the building until five years after the war,
the top secret use of the building is widely known- the scientists residing there worked for the MInistry of Defence at Rhydymwyn.
Several people in the article recall being invited to the ICI run parties as children.
ICI often held massive 'dos' at Bryn bellan to draw together and strengthen the local communiites so naturally became very intimate with them.
The servants quarters were again based in the attic, and the second and third floors were let into flats
Apart from the presence of the Valley Works this area must have been considered reasonably safe as many evacuees were sent to the area from Liverpool.
While ICI were resident in Bryn bellan they made enormous changes to the interior of the building.
As you entered the front archway(which is now the current owners back door) you were confronted with an enormous entrance hall
in which ICI used to hold dances and receptions. A good sized bar was situated to the left of the hall with beer and other alcoholic drinks running on tap.
Every person setting foot in the house was treated as a guest and was always provided for as such. ICI seemed to be extremely generous.

One house in the area next to Bryn Griffith Turnpike gained its name for obvious reasons.
The field behind the cottage was owned by the mine owners as the public footpath running down the hill went directly to the pit at the bottom.
This footpath was also used by hikers who wished to take a direct and easy route to the mountain on the other side-then an extremely popular walk.
The mine decided to be possessive about their path so they installed a toll gate into the field in place of the stile,
forcing people to pay the toll for the privilege of using the route to the mountain.
A cottage was built next to the toll where cigarettes and sweets were sold and the money for the toll was collected.
It was then lived in by the Griffiths family who installed a specially angled mirror inside one of the windows
to enable them to observe clearly the whole stretch of the road to make sure nobody got away with climbing over the hedge and avoiding paying the toll

In the grounds of the garden that now belongs to Bryn Bellan there is a huge redwood tree which is significantly older than the house itself
(Note from webmaster-could this tree be related to the similar tree in our village of Rhydymwyn which was one of three planted to mark the whereabouts of Coed Du Hall)

There were two quarries in the area, one was dug in 1930 and was in use for about 25 years.
The stretch of road between the two quarries was constanly blocked but didn't cause a serious problem due to the comparitively tiny amount of traffic using the road.
However when the gravel pits closed in 1955, tolerance began to wear thin. Huge gaping holes were left unfilled on either side of the road, some over 80 feet deep.
Mold Urban District Council decided to solve the problem by filling the holes with rubbish.
The occupants of Rhual and Bellan opposed the idea and the council agreed that the rubbish must not be piled higher than 1 foot above ground level.
The villagers waited patiently for several years until  the pile had climbed to 10 feet above ground level-and then ordered them to remove the lot.
By then the whole area was crawling with rats, seagulls and other scavengers which must have caused serious health concerns for the local residents

The area is now a peaceful place and people hear less about their neighbours and their concerns and as in many villages these days has become less of a community
Question-I was out walking past Coed Du
Hall towards Nant Alyn and to the side of the
road in amongst the trees was what appeared
to be a small chapel with a half circular
well-What is this building?
In 2008/9 a working party under the umbrella of Friends of Rhydymwyn Valley
secured funding from Cadwyn Clwyd to produce a history book of the two villages.
Residents past and present attended the finale of this two-year project which
ended with a very successful launch of the new book
"Rhydymwyn and Hendre-A Tale of Two Villages"
at The Oak in Hendre and The Antelope in Rhydymwyn
The book looks at the history of the two neighbouring communities,
is written in both English and Welsh, and covers a whole range of subjects
including both modern and ancient history of the villages.