Posts Tagged ‘denbighshire archives’

Corwen Walking Festival

August 24, 2018

The first weekend in September sees the return of the Corwen Walking Festival. This popular event provides walkers with the opportunity to explore the southern end of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are walks planned around the town, along the River Dee and up to the highest points of the Berwyn Range. There is also an opportunity to improve your navigation skills, with the inclusion of a ‘Map and Compass Skills and Basic Navigation’ lecture on the Saturday evening.

Denbighshire is well blessed with areas that are perfect for walking. In addition to the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley there is also the Clocaenog Forest, and the Denbigh Moors. For those who like to get out into the wilder parts of the county you may be interested to know that Denbighshire Archives holds many items which could enrich your walking experience.

Our historic maps of the county are particularly useful as they provide you with a window into the past. This can give you the opportunity to see if a particular place or feature of the landscape existed at a particular date, and allows you to contrast the modern landscape with how it once looked.

1st Edition OS map for Llandyrnog

The oldest series of maps held at Denbighshire Archives are the Tithe Maps, which represent one of the first large-scale, systematic mapping surveys of England and Wales. They were produced between 1838 and 1850 as a direct result of the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, which replaced the ancient system of payment of tithes in produce with monetary payments. In conjunction with the apportionment, which is the written accompaniment to the map, they contain an abundance of detail as they hold details relating to the land owner, tenants, property or field names, acreage of land and land use. Each map is divided by parish. Ordnance Survey Maps have become the trusted companion for outdoor enthusiasts in this country. Here at the archive we hold the first 3 editions of the County Series, which were produced between the late 1870s, and the 1920s. These are available on request in the search room.

In addition to our historic maps we also have several published books on the shelves in our search room which can also can also provide walkers with valuable information. In particular, ‘The Drovers’ Roads of Wales’, by Fay Godwin and Shirley Toulson. For hundreds of years prior to the introduction of the railways, drovers made a living by driving cows, sheep, pigs and geese from the rural heartlands of Wales to the large markets of England. This fascinating book acts as a modern day guidebook to these historic routes, providing maps and detailed descriptions, allowing you to walk in the footprints of these hardy folk

‘The Drovers’ Roads of Wales’ by Fay Godwin and Shirley Toulson

There were two routes that passed through Denbighshire. One route to north was bound for Wrexham and Chester which passed through Ruthin, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, and Llandegla. The other route travelled through the south of the county, entering Corwen from Bala, going through the Berwyn Mountains en route to Llangollen.

Shirley Toulson highlights the importance of Corwen to the Drovers, illustrating that this was the point where many of the northern droving routes converged as they headed east. The town was also strategically significant to the historic A5 London to Dublin coaching route, which passed through the town as it headed for Holyhead. Evidence of this can be seen in the various Trade Directories available in our search room. The records of Turnpike Roads (QSD/DT), contained within our Quarter Session records, show the development of this and many other roads.


Lunacy Commission Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912

March 12, 2018

Did you know that the Lunacy Patients Admission Registers are available to search on You can use this index, to search for patients who were admitted to The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh between 1846 and 1912.

These registers which provide details of asylum patients in both public and private asylums, were kept by the Lunacy Commission. In 1845, the Lunacy Act and County Asylum Act obligated counties to build county asylums for the poor and criminally insane and established the Lunacy Commission to oversee both private and public asylums.

Under the Mental Deficiencies Act of 1913 the Lunacy Commission were replaced by The Board of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency; in 1948 the Boards functions were then transferred to the Minister of Health, under the National Health Service Act of 1946.

Records relating to the Lunacy Commission can be found within the North Wales Hospital collection; the Commission made annual visits to the hospital, and reports relating to their visits were included in the hospitals Annual Reports.

The admission registers themselves recorded the name and sex of the patient; the name of the hospital, asylum, or licensed house; and the date of admission and of discharge or death of each patient. This index, along with surviving patient records from the hospital, are excellent resources for family history, local history and academic research. Please note however that access to hospital records are closed for 100 years, due to privacy restrictions.

Denbighshire Archives offers free access to, if you would like to visit the office to view the website, or to consult items within the North Wales Hospital collection, please visit our website to book a place.

Details of the ‘Unlocking the Asylum’ project can be found here.