Ruthin


Ruthin

infobox UK place
country= Wales
welsh_name= Rhuthun
constituency_welsh_assembly= Clwyd West
official_name= Ruthin
latitude= 53.11561
longitude= -3.30578
unitary_wales= Denbighshire
lieutenancy_wales= Clwyd
constituency_westminster= Clwyd West
post_town= RUTHIN
postcode_district= LL15
postcode_area= LL
dial_code= 01824
os_grid_reference= SJ127854
population= 5,218
(2001 Census)
Ruthin (Welsh: "Rhuthun"), pronounced RITH-in (IPAEng|ˈrɪθɪn/), is the county town of Denbighshire in north Wales. Located around a hill in the southern part of the Vale of Clwyd - the older part of the town, the castle and Saint Peter's Square are located on top of the hill, while many newer parts of the town are on the floodplain of the River Clwyd (which became apparent on several occasions in the late 1990s -- new flood control works costing £3 million were inaugurated in autumn 2003). [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/wales/1642512.stm |title=Ruthin flood defence plan unveiled |accessdate=2007-06-08 |date=2001-11-07 |publisher=BBC Online]

The name 'Ruthin' comes from the Welsh words "rhudd" (red) and "din" (fort), and refers to the colour of the "new red sandstone" which forms the geologic basis of the area, [cite web |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=M34ystsNDn8C&pg=PA380&lpg=PA380&dq=vale+of+clwyd+geology&source=web&ots=I4IO1PDZah&sig=BpxYMlCde3yGeK3b3P5CutxnEQk#PPA381,M1 |title=Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales |accessdate=2007-10-08 |author=Thomas Nicholas ] and from which the castle was constructed in 1277-1284. The original name of Rhuthun was 'Castell Coch yng Ngwern-fôr' (red castle in the sea-swamps).

Demographics

The population at the 2001 Census was 5,218citeweb|url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=3&b=5939451&c=ruthin&d=14&e=16&g=414279&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1213488100843&enc=1|title=2001 Census: Ruthin|work=Office for National Statistics|accessdate=2008-06-14] of whom 47% were male and 53% female. The average age of the population was 43.0 years and the population is 98.2% "white".

History

There is evidence of Celtic and later Roman settlements in the area. However, little is known of the history of the town before construction of Ruthin Castle started in 1277 by Dafydd, the brother of prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, but he forfeited the castle when he rebelled against King Edward I with his brother; Edward's queen, Eleanor, was in residence in 1281. The Marcher Lord, Reginald de Grey, Justiciar of Chester, was given the "Cantref" (an administrative district) of Deffrencloyt (= Dyffryn Clwyd, the Welsh for "Vale of Clwyd"), and his family ran the area for the next 226 years. The third Baron de Grey's land dispute with Owain Glyndŵr triggered Glyndŵr's rebellion against King Henry IV which began on 16 September) 1400, when Glyndŵr burned Ruthin to the ground, reputedly leaving only the castle and a few other buildings standing. [cite web |url=http://www.castlewales.com/ruthin.html |title=Ruthin castle |accessdate=2007-06-08 |last=Northall |first=John ]

Nantclwyd y Dre, in Castle Street, was built about 1435 by a local merchant Gronw ap Madoc, and is believed to be the oldest surviving town house in Wales. The building was sold to the county council in 1982, restored from 2004, and opened to the public in 2007. It contains seven rooms which have been restored to represent various periods in the buildings' history.

A Ruthin native, Sir Thomas Exmewe was Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1517-18.

The half-timbered Old Court House (built in 1401), now a branch of the NatWest Bank, features the remains of a gibbet last used to execute a Franciscan priest, Charles Meehan. He had the misfortune to be shipwrecked on the Welsh coast when Catholicism was equated with treason — Meehan was hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1679. [cite web |url=http://www.medieval.wales.com/site_01_ruthin.html |title=Enjoy Mediaeval Denbighshire - Ruthin |accessdate=2007-06-08 |authorlink=Denbighshire County Council |coauthors=Welsh European Funding Office ]

In 1574 Dr Gabriel Goodman re-founded Ruthin School which had been originally founded in 1284 and is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom. In 1590, Goodman established "Christ's Hospital" for 12 poor persons around St. Peter's Church on the square, and was Dean of Westminster for 40 years (1561-1601).

During the English Civil War the castle survived an eleven-week siege, after which it was demolished by order of Parliament. The castle was rebuilt in the 19th century as a country house, and is now a luxury hotel, the "Ruthin Castle Hotel".

From 1826 until 1921 the castle was the home of the Cornwallis-West family, members of Victorian and Edwardian high society.

The first House of Correction, or "Bridewell", was built at the bottom of Clwyd Street, next to the river, in 1654, to replace the Old Court House, where able-bodied idlers and the unemployed were sent to work. Following John Howard's investigations into prison conditions the Denbighshire justices resolved to build a new model prison in Ruthin on the site of the old Bridewell. Work began in January 1775. In 1802 the prison had four cells for prisoners and nine rooms for debtors. By 1837 it could hold 37 inmates. The Prisons Act of 1865 set new standards for the design of prisons — as the Ruthin County Gaol did not meet the standards plans were drawn up for a new four-storey wing, and the new prison accommodating up to 100 prisoners, in the style of London's Pentonville Prison was built at a cost of £12,000. On 1 April 1878 the Ruthin County Gaol became HM Prison Ruthin, covering the counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Merionethshire. As far as is known, only one person was ever executed in the prison, William Hughes of Denbigh, aged 42, who was hanged on 17 February 1903 for the murder of his wife, his plea of insanity having failed. Another colourful prison personality was John Jones, known as "Coch Bach y Bala" – who was a kleptomaniac and poacher who had spent more than half his 60 years in all the prisons of north Wales and many in England; he twice escaped from Ruthin Gaol, first on 30 November 1879 when he walked out of prison with three others while the staff were having supper — a £5 reward was offered for his capture, which happened the following 3 January. On 30 September 1913 he tunnelled out of his cell and using a rope made out of his bedding he climbed over the roof of the chapel and kitchen and got over the wall; after seven days living rough on the Nantclwyd Estate several miles away, Jones was shot in the leg by one of his pursuers, 19 year old Reginald Jones-Bateman. Jones died of shock and blood loss, while Jones-Bateman was charged with manslaughter, though the charges were subsequently dropped.

Ruthin Gaol ceased to be a prison in 1916 when the prisoners and guards were transferred to Shrewsbury. The County Council bought the buildings in 1926 and used part of them for offices, the county archives, and the town library. During the Second World War the prison buildings were used as a munitions factory, before being handed back to the County Council, when it was the headquarters of the Denbighshire Library Service. In 2002 the Gaol was extensively renovated and reopened as a museum.

In its' 18th century heyday as a town on drovers' routes from Wales into England, Ruthin was reputed to have "a pub for every week of the year". By 2007, however, there are only eleven pubs in the town.

The first copies of the Welsh national anthem, "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", were printed in what is now the "Siop Nain" tea and gift shop on Well Street.

In 1863 the Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway, which linked in Denbigh with the Vale of Clwyd Railway (subsequently part of the London and North Western Railway, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and British Rail) reached the town — the route ran from Rhyl on the north coast, through Denbigh, and Ruthin to Corwen where the line joined a route from Ruabon through Llangollen, Corwen, and Bala to Barmouth. The railway and Ruthin railway station closed in 1963 as part of the Beeching Axe. The site of the town's railway station is now occupied by a large road roundabout (Brieg Roundabout) and the Ruthin Craft Centre which opened in 1982.

The Craft Centre had 10 studios occupied by craftsmen who could be observed by tourists working at glass blowing, ceramic manufacture, painting, furniture restoration, etc. The Craft Centre was demolished early in 2007, and a new Craft Centre opened in July 2008 in a £4.3 million scheme which contains six craft workshops, larger galleries and an expanded craft retail gallery, two residency studios, an education space and a tourist information centre, as well as a restaurant. [cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/4517136.stm | title=£3.1m for craft centre's renewal | accessdate=2006-11-27 | publisher=BBC | work=BBC North East Wales news ] [cite web | url=http://www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk/ | title=Canolfan Grefft Rhuthun / Ruthin Craft Centre | accessdate=2008-09-17 ]

Sir Henry Haydn Jones MP (1863-1950) politician, slate quarry owner, and owner of the Talyllyn Railway was brought up in the town. He is immortalised for children as "Sir Handel", owner of the Skarloey Railway in Rev. W. Awdry's Railway Series.

On 6 June 1947 Władysław Raczkiewicz, the first president of the Polish government in exile, died in Ruthin. He was buried in the Polish Cemetery in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

The town's principal school is "Ysgol Brynhyfryd" (Brynhyfryd School), a comprehensive school for 11-18 year olds. It was founded in 1898 as "Ruthin County School for Girls" (the town's boys travelling five miles by train to Denbigh High School, and vice versa). The school went co-educational with feeder junior schools up to around six miles away in 1938. The school underwent building work in the 1950s, early 1970s (when the number of pupils increased from 700 to 1000 in a few years, when the minimum school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16), and 2001-2. The school's sports facilities, including the swimming pool are used as the town's Leisure Centre, and it also features a theatre and arts complex, "Theatr John Ambrose", named after the late headmaster of the school in the 1980s and 1990s, which was opened by the actor Rhys Ifans ("Notting Hill", etc.) a former pupil of Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold, but brought up in Ruthin.

Ruthin hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1868 and 1973. The [http://www.urdd.org/eisteddfodau/2006/indexS.asp?canol=/eisteddfodau/2006/PrifS.asp Urdd] National Eisteddfod visited Ruthin in 2006.

On 13 June 1981 Ruthin hosted the Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board, the body which determines the laws of football. [cite web |url=http://www.fifa.com/documents/static/history/IP100_04E_IFAB.pdf |title=InfoPlus: IFAB |accessdate=2007-01-21 |format=pdf |work= ]

Notable recent residents

* Actors Rhys Ifans and his brother Llyr Evans come from Ruthin as does Rhys Meirion the ENO opera singer.
* The poet and chair winner Robin Llwyd ab Owain has lived in Ruthin since 1979; he won the chair of the National Eisteddfod at nearby Mold in 1991.
* Cynthia Lennon, first wife of John Lennon settled in Ruthin and opened the Manor House Restaurant, Well Street. (Julian Lennon attended Ruthin School).
* Footballer and actor Vinnie Jones qualified to play for Wales through his grandfather coming from Ruthin.
* Formula 1 racing driver Tom Pryce was born and raised in Ruthin.
* Elton John's half-brother lives in the town.
* Seren Gibson glamour model

port

The football team is Ruthin Town F.C.

The rugby team is Ruthin/Rhuthun R.F.C - (mini, youth,3rds,2nds,1st,women's)

Twin Town

Ruthin is twinned with Brieg, Brittany. [cite web |url=http://www.rhuthun-brieg.com/ |title=Rhuthun - Briec twin towns |accessdate=2007-08-14 ]

References

External links

* [http://www.rhuthun.info/ Original Ruthin website]
* [http://www.rhuthunweather.co.uk/ Ruthin weather]
* [http://www.ruthin-wales.co.uk/ Town Council site in English]
* [http://www.rhuthun-cymru.co.uk/ Town Council site in Welsh]
* [http://www.ruthingaol.co.uk/ Website of Ruthin gaol]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/sites/ruthin_town/ BBC Wales's Ruthin website]
* [http://www.ruthinshow.org/ Ruthin Show Society website]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=1960516 Ordnance Survey Geograph] - dozens of photos of Ruthin


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