The History of Nannerch
Nannerch can trace its history back to prehistoric times. It is an ancient village, sitting on a bedrock of carboniferous limestone, overlain by glacial boulder clay with glacial hollows. The limestone has been used in the construction of many local buildings. Stone Age flint tools have been found, Bronze Age burial mounds dot the hillsides and three Bronze Age axes were discovered nearby. Iron Age hillforts crown Penycloddiau and Moel Arthur to the west of the village.
The name Nannerch is actually derived from the Welsh Nant Erch, meaning colourful river or stream. It is one of the ancient parishes of Flintshire, made up of the townships of Trellan, Trefechan, Trecwm and Tre Penbedw.
The first documentary references to Nannerch are a tax return and a list of clergy, dated 1254, indicating that a church was in existence at this time. Key figures in Welsh history have been associated with the area, including Llywelyn the Great, who gave Penbedw to his daughter Gwenllian, and Owain Glyndwr who took brief possession of Penbedw during his rebellion.
In 1868, the parish of Nannerch was described as follows: “NANNERCH, a parish in the hundred of Rhuddlan, county Flint, and partly in the county of Denbigh, 6 miles from Mold, its post town, and 3 S. of Holywell. It is situated under Moel-Arther, a strong British post, defended by two ditches of great depth. It contains Cwm, Llan, Trefechan, and Penbedw, formerly a seat of the Mostyns. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the iron and lead mines and limestone quarries. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of St. Asaph, value £292, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, has a monument to Charlotte, wife of R. Mostyn, Esq., of Penbedw. The charities produce about £2 per annum.”
The village itself remained fairly small for many years. Just a dozen or so properties, built of local limestone, clustered around the church and along the tree lined Main Street. The families who owned the nearby Penbedw Estate have influenced village life greatly over the years. They funded the church, school and village hall, and provided employment for many locals. Most villagers worked locally and few travelled far.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, was consecrated on 29 September 1853. It is the third church known to have been built on the site. The curved wall of the graveyard indicates the ancient origins of the churches. The present church was designed by Thomas W. Wyatt, of London, the architect of the neighbouring churches of Brynford and Gorsedd.
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