Denbigh is an ancient market town located in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd, in the county of Denbighshire, North Wales. It is an ideal base for exploring this beautiful part of North Wales whether by car, walking the rolling Clwyd Hills or on the ever more popular mountain bikes. Way marked walks are to be found throughout the county of Denbighshire and the Clwyd Range of mountains to the east. To the west are the Hiraethog uplands and the lakes of Llyn Brenig, Llyn Alwen and Llyn Aled, great walking country and even better mountain bike trails. History buffs are well catered for with an abundance of castles, medieval churches, historic houses, and market towns to explore within the Vale of Clwyd.
The town of Denbigh itself is dominated by the ruins of the 13th century Denbigh Castle, but there is much more than the castle to attract visitors to Denbigh town. It is one of those "lucky towns,” one that has (whether by accident or design) been missed by the "developers" who have destroyed the character of so many Welsh and indeed British towns.
Denbigh town centre boasts narrow streets with nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. Interesting old pubs hidden away in back streets intermingle with quality shops. A pleasant High Street and Market Hall at the top of the hill with good old-fashioned fruit and veg shops and colourful shop-front displays: butchers, bakers and probably candle-stick makers! Optimistic cafe owners with al-fresco seating (it mustn't rain in this corner of Wales). Moreover, it all sits within the glorious countryside of the Vale of Clwyd. But back to Denbigh's main claim to fame it's fascinating history.
Denbigh played an important part in the history of Wales. It was to Denbigh in 1282 that Dafydd ap Llywelyn summoned the Welsh chieftains in an attempt to carry on the struggle against the English invaders after the death of his brother, the Welsh leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales.
Moreover, after the defeat of the Welsh, it was in the strategically important town of Denbigh that Hugh de Lacey, Earl of Lincoln, built the castle for the English King Edward I. The castle and town suffered a turbulent history. It was attacked and occupied by the Welsh in another uprising under Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294 ..before the castle was completed!
On it's eventual return to English control the castle walls were strengthened and it remained a powerful fortress until it played it's final role in the English Civil War. For two years, 1643-1645, the Salisburys held it for the King, and indeed King Charles I of England stayed there briefly in September 1645 after his defeat at Rowton Moor.
A year later and it was one of the last castles to hold out for the King, eventually yielding to a twelve-month siege and surrendering to the Parliamentarians.
In 1661 the castle was slighted and no doubt much of the town houses benefited from the abandoned piles of stone.
The magnificent ruins of Denbigh Castle loom over the town to this day and the Burgess Gate, one of the biggest of its kind in the UK, never fails to impress. The three octagonal towers of the Castle Gatehouse enclose a grand chamber, now open to the sky, and high above the entrance arch there stands a headless statue of the English King Edward 1.
The castle suffers invasions to this day, but of a more friendly nature than of yore, with both English and Welsh tourists marching up to the old castle on the hill.
There is an interesting story concerning the siege of Denbigh Castle and the little village of Llanrhaeadr-yng-Nghinmeirch. (try saying that without your false teeth).
A Royalist officer Captain Wynne was wounded in a skirmish at what is now called Captain's Bridge. He died some time later within the castle walls. Permission was asked of the besiegers to bury the Captain close by at his parish church, the Church of St Dyfnog's, Llanrhaeadr-yng-Nghinmeirch. However, permission was refused.
The Parliamentarians for their part suggested that should the deceased be handed over to them then they would bury the body in the desired place. This was agreed and the dead Royalist was laid to rest in his own churchyard by his enemies the Parliamentarians. Captain Wynne's tombstone can be seen in the churchyard at Llanrhaeadr to this day.
Visit the site of the Captain's tomb at St Dyfnog's Church in Llanrhaeadr-yng-Nghinmeirch.
In 2010 the citizens of Denbigh have become embroiled in controversy concerning one of its most famous sons. Henry Morten Stanley the renowned African explorer was famed for his remark on finding Dr Livingstone - "Doctor Livingstone, I presume Click on the link listed under Attractions or else paste this link into your browser for further information. http://www.walesdirectory.co.uk/Towns_in_Wales/Denbigh_Town_2.htm
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
A hodgepodge of Denbigh stuff imported from our original Denbigh page.
The steep hill of Vale Street Denbigh is lined with a mix of shops and leads to the Market Hall and High Street. Find the Old High Cross in Vale Street Denbigh, it once occupied the Market Square in High Street. The Evan Pierce monument is found in Vale Street on the way up hill to the High Street, Denbigh. There are fine views from the corner of the High Street over the Vale of Clwyd. The Old Market Hall Denbigh, is today the Public Library and Information Centre. Call here to loan the keys for the Castle Walls Walk. There a number of narrow lanes, with pubs (including the White Lion or Y Llew Gwyn), pavement cafes (with al-fresco seating), and small shops in Denbigh. Take the town trail to visit the castle and see the headless medieval statue of Edward Longshanks, King Edward I of England. Take a walk through the castle and see fine views from Denbigh Castle Gatehouse. The remains of Leicester's Church sits close to the castle atop the hill in Denbigh. The tower is all that remains of St Hilary's Chapel that sits on the green in Denbigh Castle grounds. Woolworths in Denbigh is now closed, but why were Woolies stores more acceptable than McDonalds The redundant Denbigh Hospital buildings, once upon a time the North Wales Psychiatric Hospital sit on the outskirts of the town. In days gone by children knew it as Denbigh Loony Bin. Denbigh Welsh Presbytarian Church, a lovely little Chapel, lies in a semi rural situation on the outskirts of Denbigh. Denbigh Parish Church at Whitchurch, the church of St Marcella (Llanfarchell in Welsh), can be seen in the distance from the edge of Market Square. Denbigh Castle Walls can be seen from miles around when walking in the vale of Clwyd.