Clement (perfect?) weather, a significant boost in participants, new venues
and businesses reporting a financial fillip—this September’s Open Doors was
one of our best. Here, we look at some of 2019’s new offerings
State of Distress
Open to the general public for the first time was London House’s cellars,
currently and recently occupied by State of Distress. Theirs are believed to be
one of the oldest red-brick cellars in Wales. State of Distress uses it for
The cellar itself extends under neighbour Bar Llaeth.
Beneath the cellar is a well which it is believed serviced the former public
water pump on St Peter’s Square.
In more recent times, the site was occupied by an off-licence and the last incarnation closed in
January 2017. It was then “under refurbishment” or should we say reefer-bishment. For the cellar
then became the site of a £3m cannabis farm till in June 2017 the police busted it. To this day, there
remains evidence of plant production, thanks to green staining on one cellar wall.
Bells of St Peter’s
Apart from marking the hour, St Peter’s church bells have been largely silent since the 1970s.
The £98,000 project to restore the bells—the biggest single project at that time—only concluded
during the last week of August, when the bells again sounded. A week later, two days before Open
Doors, and the soft furnishings in the bell room were finished.
The Open Doors weekend was therefore the first real test of the newly refurbished bells. Ringing
repeatedly for those who ventured to the bell room, they greatly added to the atmosphere in town.
Tŷ Cerrig, Llanfwrog
Dating from the fifteenth century, this cruck framed house was once home to four families who
worked at Ruthin Castle. It was reportedly used as a laundry for the Castle. It was bought
dilapidated by its current owner and extended in 2013.
Tŷ Cerrig is built on porous limestone. During the height of the flooding
in the early years of the 21st century, parts of the property were
flooded and this included fountains of water under pressure, within the
Visitors were able to see the witch marks on the fireplace. See p11 of
September 2018’s Town and Around for more information on them, at
St Dyfnog’s Well, Llanrhaeadr
Much has been written in the local newspaper and social media on on-
going he work at the well.
The archæological project aimed to identity whether the well had
indeed been of importance during Georgian times, as had been
thought and whether the popularity of the site in mediæval times had
indeed funded the church’s Jesse window. At the time of Open Doors,
this seemed inconclusive.
A number of artefacts were revealed during the dig but other than flint
nothing was especially old.
Never before open to the general public, the hall was situated in the
church cloisters. The entrance was via a stairway with some ornately
At least 400 people took advantage of seeing the Wynnstay. This was
our first opportunity to do so since the pub closed nearly 10 years ago.
We were able to see the refurbishment that began in January this year.
On display were pieces of the Wynnstay frieze believed to be early
17th century, together with other finds such as Ruthin bottles, beam
pins, handmade brick and even a brick with cat paw marks.
Tŷ Coch Barn, Llangynhafal
Another restored cruck framed property, believed to date from c.1430,
this time let as a business. Till the second Open Doors weekend, who
even knew of its existence?
Open Doors ’19
by Robin Hill
Autumn air strikes a morning chill
Prompting to don a coat,
Though days can be quite sunny still,
This is weather that gets my vote.
Such ’twas both weekends for Open
Annual festival of delights,
As historic buildings one explores,
Or feasts eyes on other sights.
St Peter’s bells and registers
On display to hear and see,
Rehung, retuned, fresh spirit stirs
For those seeking past family.
The fine Old Court House on the
Where Owain struck a match,
Undergoing more than just repair
For Ruthin’s community quite a catch.
The Wynnstay—once the Foxes
Sadly now split asunder,
But major work disregarding cost
Has uncovered former wonder.
Tŷ Coch Barn at Moel Famau’s foot
Cruck timbered, again stands proud,
Not just saved, restored to boot,
With new business use endowed.
For fifteen centuries St Saeran’s
At the heart of Clwyd’s Vale,
Has survived its battle to endure
Spiritual pilgrims to regale.
It must be said this annual feast
Is a cultural shot-in-arm,
As awareness of heritage has
Of the wealth of Ruthin’s charm.