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Chirk (Welsh: Y Waun, meaning The Moor) is a small town and local government community in Wales. It is located in the traditional county of Denbighshire, although is currently administered as part of Wrexham County Borough. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 4,468. It is located 10 miles south of Wrexham.
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.
History and heritage
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 Myddelton families. 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, part of a larger World Heritage Site including Pontcysyllte 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. 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 have now closed.
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.
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  is an attraction, as is the World Heritage Site of the Llangollen Canal, 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  and Mondelez UK  maintaining sites in the town. There are small business which support the local communities and its visitors, as well as service industries such as hotels, leisure facilities and restaurants. Despite the presence of these industries, the inhabitants of Chirk enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and professions. 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), Chirk Methodist Church, Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic) and the Community Church. Together, these four churches have a thriving ecumenical community.
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 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.
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.
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). Other secondary schools in the area include Ysgol Rhiwabon, St Martin’s School (Shropshire) and St Joseph’s in Wrexham. The area is 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.
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.
- Stan Davies, Welsh international footballer
- Peter Edwards, artist
- William Egan, Welsh international footballer
- Edwin Hill-Trevor, 1st Baron Trevor, Member of Parliament (estate based in Chirk)
- John Hulme, cricket player
- Di Jones, Welsh international footballer (resident)
- Lot Jones, Welsh international footballer
- Mike Jones, Welsh international footballer (resident since 1989)
- Paul Jones, Welsh international footballer
- Billy Meredith, Welsh international footballer
- Hugh Morris, Welsh international footballer
- Sir Richard Myddelton, 3rd Baronet, Member of Parliament
- Sir Thomas Myddelton, 1st Baronet, Member of Parliament
- Sir Thomas Myddelton, 2nd Baronet, Member of Parliament
- Robert Myddelton Biddulph, Member of Parliament
- Jack Owen, Welsh international footballer
- George Owen, Welsh international footballer
- Robert Roberts, writer
- Stuart Roberts, footballer for Stoke City F.C.
- Neil Thomas, World Champion athlete
- R. S. Thomas, poet
- Sir Edward Trevor, Member of Parliament
- Horace Viner, footballer for Stoke City F.C.
- Frederick West (1767–1852), Member of Parliament
- "Welcome to Chirk and the Ceiriog Valley North Wales". Chirk.com. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Age by Single Year, 2011 (QS103EW) Area: Chirk (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "The Parish of Chirk".
- "Chirk Castle".
- Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal".
- "Home - Europe - Mondelēz International, Inc".
- Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics - Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings".
- "My Local School".
- "Ysgol Dinas Brân".
- “Chirk Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
- G. G. Lerry, "Collieries of Denbighshire", 1968
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chirk.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chirk.|