Ruthin primary school development

September 30, 2016

A new school year is upon us, and school pupils across the county are adjusting to their new school routines. Next September will see an even bigger change for some, as the pupils and staff of Ysgol Penbarras and Rhos Street School in Ruthin relocate into brand new purpose built school buildings. On 14th September Denbighshire County Council’s planning committee granted planning permission to build replacement school buildings and facilities for on a new shared site in Ruthin. Both schools are currently on the same site, and the buildings have for some years been in desperate need of replacing.

Rhos Street School

Hard evidence of the date of the foundation of the British School in Rhos Street is difficult to find. The Schools in Wales 1500-1900 by Malcolm Seabourne, dates the building as 1846 and names the architect as Richard Cash. However the British school (not the building), predates this by three years. Until then, the school room was provided by Edward Jones of Brynhyfryd, a local solicitor.

It was a large school, even in its early days, with 173 boys in 1846. As with Ruthin National School, the poor of the town were catered for in these schools, In 1847 girls were admitted, then in 1849 children from the workhouse were also admitted.

Log book records began in November 1873 with Hugh Williams as Head teacher of a Mixed Junior and Infants departments. By the 1880s there were still 200 on roll but received glowing praise from HMI. In Aug/Sept 1894 there were alterations to the building to accommodate growing numbers, as by October 1895 there were 289 pupils on roll.

A HMI report of September 1897 criticised the school for lack of teaching staff – the Head teacher was responsible for teaching 67 pupils!

Rhos Street Pupils c.1910 (PPD/90/140)

Rhos Street Pupils c.1910 (PPD/90/140)

1st September 1925 JCJ Ellis Edwards became Head teacher – a well-known, conductor of choirs, he was responsible for opening a school penny bank and introducing a school cap. Girls wore navy blue and the boys green. Each had a badge showing the red dragon and the letters R.C.S. – Ruthin Council School. Known as Ruthin Mixed Council school by January 1930, there were 132 on roll.

The Infants department had separate log books from 1876 when there were 60 plus on roll. The department was officially designated as separate from the Junior Mixed school in April 1901 but suffered also from too many children for one teacher to teach.

The records of Rhos Street School can be found on our online catalogue.

Ysgol Penbarras

The accommodation problems at Rhos Street increased with the opening of the Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Penbarras, on the same site in 1984. Discussions had been taking place about the provision of a Welsh medium primary school in the town since around 1956. The initial intake was 58 pupils, which grew to well over 200 by the end of the century.

Watch a fly through of new buildings here


ED/LB/90/1-4,8 – Log books of Rhos Street School

History of Ruthin- Ruthin History Society

Schools in Wales 1500-1900- Malcolm Seaborne

Ruthin Local History Broadsheet 1985-2003







Cynefin Project extended until March 2017

August 30, 2016

The Cynefin project has been extended until March 2017.

The conservation and digitisation work is nearly complete and every tithe map should be online shortly. The collection of 1,200 tithe maps from the 1840s will cover 95% of Wales.

The volunteering work on the crowdsourcing platform will continue until March. So far over 900 volunteers have participated online. Together they have contributed over 17,000 hours of their time and transcribed over 1.2 million records.  92.5% of the georeferencing and work has been completed, and the mammoth task of transcribing 30,000 pages of apportionment documents is currently 60% complete.

cynefin infographic.png

The project staff would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers for their contribution and dedication. Together, the army of volunteers have completed an outstanding amount of work which will benefit the people of Wales and beyond when the final website launches in the spring of 2017. The final website will make the tithe maps of Wales, and the wealth of information they hold, easily accessible to all through a free online platform. It will be possible to search the data browse the maps using innovative and efficient methods. Through this we hope to shed light on the geographical and social landscape of our nation on the cusp of transformation.

If you’d like to get involved, visit