Chirk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chirk
Welsh: Y Waun
Chirk is located in Wrexham
Chirk
Chirk
 Chirk shown within Wrexham
Population 4,468 
OS grid reference SJ295375
Principal area Wrexham
Ceremonial county Wrexham
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WREXHAM
Postcode district LL14
Dialling code 01691
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Clwyd South
Welsh Assembly Clwyd South
List of places
UK
Wales
Wrexham

Coordinates: 52°55′49″N 3°03′01″W / 52.93026°N 3.05025°W / 52.93026; -3.05025

Chirk (Welsh: Y Waun, meaning The Moor[1]) is a small town and local government community, the lowest tier of local government, part of Wrexham County Borough in Wales. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 4,468.[2]

It is situated between Wrexham and Oswestry and has been part of the County Borough since local government reorganisation in 1996. The border with the English county of Shropshire is immediately south of the town, on the other side of the River Ceiriog.

The town is served by Chirk railway station and the A5/A483 roads.

History and heritage[edit]

Chirk Castle, a National Trust property, is a medieval castle. Two families are associated with the town and its castle, the Trevor family of Brynkinallt and the Myddletons. The Hughes of Gwerclas, a family descended from the ancient kings of Powys, also dwelt in the area for many years.

Attractions in the town apart from Chirk Castle include a section of Offa's Dyke and the Chirk Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal, built in 1801 by Thomas Telford. The Glyn Valley Tramway operated from here.

The Parish Church of St Mary's is a Grade I listed building.[3] The current church building was begun during the 11th Century by the Normans, although it is believed that an older llan, dedicated to St Tysilio, had existed on the site. Indeed, the current church was known by the dedication of St Tysilio until the late 15th or early 16th century, after which it was re-dedicated to St Mary. Today, the church is a member of the Open Church Network and participates in the Sacred Space Project.

Chirk was formerly a coal mining community with coal being worked since the 17th century. The largest of these collieries were Black Park (one of the oldest in the north of Wales) and Brynkinallt (Welsh: Bryncunallt). These coal mines has now also closed.

Chirk was a coaching stop on the old Mail coach route along the A5 from London to Holyhead.

The Chester to Ruabon railway had been extended south to Shrewsbury by 1848 with stations at Llangollen Road (at Whitehurst) and Chirk. South of the town a railway viaduct was constructed by Henry Robertson to take the line over the Ceiriog Valley.

The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk. The canal crosses the Ceiriog Valley (from England into Wales) along Thomas Telford's aqueduct. Telford's aqueduct runs alongside the Robertson' viaduct before the canal enters the Chirk Tunnel.

Modern day[edit]

Looking towards Chirk over the Aqueduct and Viaduct
St Mary's Parish Church

As mentioned previously, the major industry in the town in the early 20th Century was coal mining. Being a rural town, agriculture continues to be of some importance, as does tourism. The tourism industry flourishes thanks to Chirk's enviable location in the Northern Marches. The National Trust's Chirk Castle [4] is a popular attraction for families of all ages, as is the World Heritage Site of the Llangollen Canal,[5] whilst the stunning local scenery of the Ceiriog Valley and Berwyn Mountains provides some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK. Manufacturing now plays a prominent position within the local industries, with major international firms such as Kronospan [6] and Mondelez UK [7] maintaining sites in the town. There are also many small business which support the local communities and its visitors, as well as service industries such as hotels, leisure facilities and restaurants. Despite the precense of these industries, the inhabitants of Chirk enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and professions.[8]

Like so many modern day towns, religion and worship no longer have the once prominent position that they held previously. However, there are four churches within the community:- St Mary's (Church in Wales),[3] Chirk Methodist Church, Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic) and the Community Church . Together, these four churches have a thriving ecumenical community.

As in so many former mining communities, education played an important part in the lives of the inhabitants. Chirk is served by two local primary schools: Ysgol Y Waun and Pentre Church in Wales Controlled School.

Ysgol Y Waun is the main primary school for children in Chirk. It was recently formed in 2012, following the merger of Chirk Infants School and Ceiriog Junior School. Ysgol Y Waun is a nursery, infant and junior school of mixed gender and lessons are taught through the medium of English. This large primary school has approximately 335 pupils on roll with an increasing number of pupils on free school meals – 19.7% in 2014, which is above the Local Authority average but below the Wales average.[9]

Pentre School is a nursery, infant and junior school of mixed gender. There are approximately 86 pupils on roll who are all taught through the medium of English. Welsh is taught as a compulsory part of the school curriculum as a second language. The school is in a relatively affluent area, with only 15.9% of the school population eligible for free school meals which is substantially below the Local Authority and Wales averages.[9]

Most pupils in the community attend Ysgol Dinas Brân, Llangollen, for their secondary education. Ysgol Dinas Brân is a relatively large, bilingual secondary school catering for pupils from ages 11 – 19 (including Sixth Form).[10] The school has given concerts and carol services in St Mary’s Church in Chirk in the past. Other secondary schools in the area include Ysgol Rhiwabon, St Martin’s School (Shropshire) and St Joseph’s in Wrexham. The area is also well served by independent schools, such as Moreton Hall and Ellesmere College.

Although Chirk is a predominantly English-speaking area, some parents choose to educate their children through the medium of Welsh. Where this is the case, the nearest Welsh-medium primary schools are in Glyn Ceiriog and Cefn Mawr. Pupils can then transfer to either Ysgol Dinas Brân, Llangollen or Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham for Welsh-medium secondary education.

The Ceiriog Memorial Institute, in the Ceiriog valley, just west of Chirk, is home to a collection of Welsh cultural memorabilia and was founded in the early 1900s to support the Welsh language, culture and heritage for future generations.

In the 2011 census, a total of 3,652 residents (81.7%) have no skills in the Welsh language.[2]

Sport[edit]

Chirk is home to Chirk AAA F.C., a football team founded in 1876.

Chirk Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1991. The club closed in September 2012.[11]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • G. G. Lerry, "Collieries of Denbighshire", 1968

External links[edit]