St Martin's, Shropshire

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St Martin's Parish Church
The Llangollen Canal at St. Martin's Moor
The First World War Memorial at St. Martin's

The border village and civil parish of St Martin's (Welsh: Llanfarthin) is in Shropshire, England, just north of Oswestry and east of Chirk.


The ancient Parish of St Martin's was made up of the townships of Ifton, Wiggington, Bronygarth and Weston Rhyn. Each of these townships bordered Wales, with the River Ceiriog and the River Dee forming the border. However, in 1870, the townships of Weston Rhyn and Bronygarth were formed into the new Parish of Weston Rhyn.

The church at St Martin's is dedicated to St Martin of Tours and the parish was part of the Welsh Diocese of St Asaph until 1922 when it was transferred to the English Diocese of Lichfield.

The area was, for centuries, under the influence of nearby Chirk Castle and, later, the Trevor family of Brynkinallt (Welsh: Bryncunallt) in Chirk.

Community groups[edit]

Ifton Band - Although the precise origins of the band are historically unknown, records start around 1915 when coal miners were coming into the region from existing mines in Staffordshire to operate the 'Gertrude Mine', which was named after the mine manager's wife. The mine was renamed Ifton Colliery, which was an off-shoot of Black Park Colliery. There was a tradition that collieries had their own brass band, and a few enthusiastic Ifton miners got together to form themselves into a brass band for entertainment.


Around the 16th century, a bridge was built across the River Ceiriog at Pontfaen as part of the Chester to Cardiff highway. Later the A5, the London-Shrewsbury-Holyhead trunk road was constructed by Thomas Telford through the parish of St Martin's, crossing into Wales via the bridge at Chirk Bank.

The Glyn Valley Tramway ran from Chirk through Pontfaen into the Ceiriog Valley.

In the 19th century a canal was constructed through St Martin's Moor by Thomas Telford linking the industrial areas around Ruabon to the canal network. This now forms part of the Llangollen Canal.

By 1848 the Chester to Ruabon railway line had been extended south to Shrewsbury, but only one station, Preesgweene (Welsh: Preesgwyn) (later known as Weston Rhyn), was built in St Martin's parish. Later however, branch lines were built to link the collieries in the area to the main rail network.


Although predominantly an agricultural area, coal was mined in St Martin's for several centuries. The collieries at Ifton, Chirk Bank, Quinta, Trehowell, Moreton Hall and Preesgweene were, geologically, an extension of the Denbighshire coalfield. Coal production ceased in the area with the closure of the last remaining colliery in the area at Ifton in 1968. Ifton was the largest colliery in Shropshire and its workings crossed the border into Wales, linking up to the coal seams of the former collieries at Brynkinallt and Black Park.

There could potentially be a new, fairly large industrial estate built at St Martin's. [1]


St Martin's School is a primary and secondary school located in St Martin's.

Notable people[edit]

Francis Williams, Editor of the Daily Herald and Governor of the BBC, (later life peer Baron Francis-Williams) born at St Martin's.


  • G. G. Lerry, "Collieries of Denbighshire", 1968
  • C. Neville Hurdsman, "A History of the Parishes of St. Martin's & Weston Rhyn" 2003

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°55′02″N 3°00′46″W / 52.91710°N 3.01275°W / 52.91710; -3.01275