Our Heritage

From ancient times to the present day, North East Wales has existed as a borderlands and coastal region, subject to an assortment of cultural influences from within Wales, England and further afield. It is this rich cultural diversity which provides the region’s heritage with its distinctive character.

Notable features include:

  • National and International Significance
    Six of the so-called ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’ are situated in North East Wales. [ more ]
  • Prehistoric Possessions
    The earliest evidence of human existence in Wales comes from a discovery at a cave at Bontnewydd in the Elwy Valley which included teeth, hand axes and butchered animal bones dating to 225,000 BC. [ more ]
  • Castles and Conflict
    Known as Y Berfeddwlad (middle country), throughout medieval times the power and influence of the native Welsh rulers and their Saxon, Norman and English rivals to the east, ebbed and flowed like a pendulum across the region, which long provided a key arena of military, political and cultural turbulence. [ more ]
  • Industrial Innovation
    For centuries the region’s economy was driven by mineral extraction and the manufacturing of goods.  The Romans mined lead at Halkyn and produced tiles, bricks and pottery at their fabrica at Holt.  “Gwespyr Sandstone” was quarried and used for building works across the region, and beyond.  The extraordinarily varied initiatives centred on the Greenfield Valley from the 18th century – ranging in focus from copper to cotton – are justifiably mentioned as an exemplar of the Industrial Revolution. [ more ]
  • Travel and Transport
    The Dee Estuary has for centuries been an artery for travel and trade, linking the North Wales Coast with other parts of the world.  Inland, the Romans constructed roads across the region to link their stronghold at Deva (Chester) to the forts of Canovium (Caerhun) and Segontium (Caernarfon) to the west).  In the medieval period pilgrimage routes were created to sacred places such as St. Winefride’s Well in Holywell. [ more ]
  • Rural Life
    The continuation of so much industrial activity within a predominately rural setting represents one of the defining characteristics of the region. [ more ]
  • Literature, Language and Learning
    The contribution of North East Wales to the cultural and intellectual life of Wales has been immense. In the medieval period this was centred on the activities of the bardic order.  Many of the most renowned Welsh-language poets hailed from the region including Iolo Goch (who addressed poems to Owain Glyndŵr), Dafydd ab Edmwnd, Tudur Aled and Gruffudd Hirathog. [ more ]
  • Religion
    In addition to its medieval stone crosses, sacred wells and local saints, the region boasts of two Cistercian abbeys at Basingwerk and Valle Crucis which played an important role in local life until their dissolution by Henry VIII.  Despite the Bishops of St. Asaph playing a leading role in moves to translate the bible into Welsh as part of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic faith remained stubbornly embedded in the region for some time, as evidenced by the martyrdoms of William Davies (d.1593) and Richard Gwyn (d.1584). [ more ]
  • And finally… Football
    The claim that rugby is the “national sport of Wales” has never really rung true in the North East, where football is much more intertwined into everyday life.  Born in Chirk in 1874, Billy Meredith earnt a reputation as one of the earliest superstars of the game, through his performances at Manchester City and United. [ more ]