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St. Asaph / Llanelwy

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"The houses in the principal streets are brick, and in general small, though neatly built; the streets are kept clean. The view of the city from many points around it, is particularly striking; its elevated position on an eminence near the termination of the Vale of Clwyd, crowned on its summit with the Cathedral, and having the parish church at its base, makes it a conspicuous object from every point of view, and the luxuriant grove of trees in which it is deeply embosomed give it a pleasingly romantic appearance. The surrounding scenery, which in every direction abounds with objects of interest and beauty, is seen to great advantage from the eminence on which the city is built, and from the high grounds in the immediate vicinity."
[From Handbook of the Vale of Clwyd , William Davis, 1856]

The ancient parish of St. Asaph consisted of 13 townships. From 1310, responsibility for the "cure of souls" in the parish was shared by the four Vicars-Choral of the Cathedral; and for this purpose, the townships were grouped as follows:

  1. Brynpolyn, Cyrchynan, Gwernglefryd.
  2. Bodelwyddan, Pengwern, Fanol.
  3. Meriadog, Wigfair (or Wickwer) - both in old Denbighshire.
  4. Bodeugan, Cilowen, Gwerneigron, Rhyllon, Talar.

On 3 August 1860, the townships of Bodelwyddan, Pengwern and Fanol were lost to the newly created parish of Bodelwyddan.
In 1865, the townships of Meriadog and Wigfair were lost to the newly created parish of St. Mary's, Cefn (which is in old Denbighshire).

St. Asaph is often claimed to be the smallest city in Wales.

Church History

The Cathedral (Ordnance Survey reference SJ 039743) dominates St. Asaph.
The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the Cathedral.

The parish church (Ordnance Survey reference SJ 040744) lies a short distance to the west of the Cathedral, at the bottom of the High Street. It dates from the thirteenth century, and is dedicated to Saint Kentigern and Saint Asaph. There have been additions and alterations over the years - there was an extensive restoration in 1872.
The Clwyd FHS website has a photograph of the parish church.

Nonconformist Churches

"Welsh Church Commission - County of Flint - The Statistics of the Nonconformist Churches for 1905" lists the following nonconformist places of worship in the Civil parish of St. Asaph :

Name of Chapel Denomination Number of "adherents"
Not named - Welsh Baptist 53
Not named Calvinistic Methodist 381
Bethlehem - Welsh Congregational 70
Not named - Welsh Wesleyan 85
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Church Records

The format of the registers is somewhat confusing :
"The registers date from 1593, and although in chronological, are not in consecutive order, each Vicar having his own pages for his own cure ... "
[From The History of the Diocese of St. Asaph , Ven. D.R. Thomas, 1908-1913]
For a short period, 1704-1726, separate registers were maintained for each of the four groups of townships mentioned above. The registers include some entries for persons who did not live in the parish of St. Asaph.

Parish Registers

Baptisms Marriages Burials
1593 - 1971 1603 - 1983 1594 - 1952

Baptisms Marriages Burials
1593 - 1812 1603 - 1812 1594 - 1812

Bishop's Transcripts

Deposited at the National Library of Wales Microfilmed copies
1667 - 1836 1667 - 1836


Type of Record Years Covered I.G.I. Batch Number
Baptisms 1813 - 1836 C056721
Marriages None -

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Nonconformist Records

Name of Chapel Denomination Type of Record Years Covered I.G.I. Batch Number
Ebeneser, Gemmig Street Calvinistic Methodist Baptisms 1811 - 1837 C101241
Bethlehem Presbyterian / Congregational Baptisms 1810 - 1837 C098501

Name of Chapel Denomination Type of Record Years Covered
Ebeneser, Gemmig Street Calvinistic Methodist Baptisms 1925 - 1938

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Civil Registration

When Civil Registration was introduced (on 1 July 1837), the parish of St. Asaph was assigned to the No. 1 ("St. Asaph") sub-district of the St. Asaph Registration District, which was co-extensive with the St. Asaph poor law Union.

In the GRO indexes to civil registration, entries for St. Asaph are found under:

(GRO index references have no relevance at the local Superintendent Registrar's Office)

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Archdeacon Thomas (1911) gives the area of the parish as 3444 acres.
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Last updated 27 February 2002 - Vic Roberts