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Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd

This delightful village lies two mites out of Ruthin towards Mold. It is generally known as Llanbedr DC, and, as the name implies, the church is dedicated to St Peter. This very imposing church can be seen at the foot of the hill known as Bwlch Pen Barras, opposite the Griffin. It was dedicated in 1863, after the original mediæval building, which was mentioned in the Norwich Taxations of 1254, was abandoned in 1863. The ruins of the old church can be seen in a field near Llanbedr Hall. The new church has been caIIed “a Victorian exuberance”. It has a spiky spire. A 14th century gravestone in the porch (similar to one found at Valle Crucis near Llangollen), an attractive stained glass window in memory of Mary Eliza Lloyd of Berth, and a stone reredos behind the altar depicting The Last Supper all feature. Isaac Foulkes, known as ‘Llyfrbryf’ (Bookworm) is buried in the churchyard, as are Violet Jones, the ‘Nightingale of Nantclwyd’ and her husband Towyn Roberts, who founded a scholarship in her memory, awarded at the National Eisteddfod every year for the purpose of helping promising young singers. Llanbedr village is largely anglicised and l am told that very few of the original families still live there. Living at Berth in 1881 was a wealthy young man of 23, Edward Owen Vaughan Lloyd; he had a housekeeper, a butler, a cook and two housemaids. The family had been in Berth for generations and were related to the Lloyds of Rhagat near Corwen. Edward became a JP and High Sheriff of Merioneth. Edward could trace his family tree back to Gruffydd ab Adda ap Hywel ap Ieuaf ap Adda of Llys Trevor and his wife Angharad, daughter of Owain ap Gruffydd Lord of Dinmael in the early 14 century. Here in Berth in 1862 was born John Puleston Jones, always known as the blind preacher, after suffering an accident when he was a toddler. He went to Glasgow University and won a scholarship to Balliol College Oxford, where he won a First Class Honours degree in History. The Pulestons trace their family back to Hamo de Pyvelsdon in 1150, a family which came from Normandy in 1087. Llwynedd Chapel used to stand on the sharp bend as you travel towards Mold. On Rhiwsig Farm nearby lived Hugh Hughes, and his large family, which had Quaker connections. Hugh was the great grandson of Richard and Catherine Tudor Hughes of Sarphle, Llanarmon DC, pioneers in the nonconformist movement, and often in trouble for allowing meetings in their garden—under a sycamore tree which is still there. Richard and Catherine had 10 children, each of whom had an average of 12 children! On Richard and Catherine’s gravestone it was noted
that they left 168 living descendants. AlI their children lived until their 90s. Among their descendants were the poet, Ceirog; Hughes and Son, the Wrexham publishers; Sir J Herbert Lewis and J. Herbert Roberts later known as Lord Clwyd. Hugh Hughes of Rhiwsig and two sons emigrated to the United States in 1891, because of the Tithe Wars. His wife Mary was expecting her eleventh child at the time, and soon after Jane Grace was born, she and nine other children sailed to join the father in Oneida County, New York State. What a gutsy lady! People often ask why Llanbedr School is so far out of she village. At one time, it was situated on the corner opposite the church on the road to Llangynhafal. But the innkeeper at the Griffin was tired of all the noise which emanated from there and offered a piece of land to the church authorities, so that they could build a new school—and leave him in peace! We hear a lot these days about ‘missing persons’. Mr Grfffiths of Wern Farm went missing in 1886. He took five cows to the market in Denbigh, and sold three of them. His wife went home on the train, while he walked the remaining two cows—but he vanished and was never seen again! The cows turned up, though—they were found wandering in Llandyrnog! There was a bit of a to-do in the church in 1891. John Jones, the rector, had been ill for a few weeks. His place was taken by the Revd J. Gallagher of Clwyd HaIl, late of St Cuthbert’s Liverpool, who had married the owner of the Hall. Gallagher took ‘Welsh Workmen’ as his subject for one of his sermons (I don't think they are mentioned in the Bible); but he called them ‘jerry workers’, suggesting they were lazy, full of deceit, thinking only of their wages. The choir and the congregation stood up and walked out! There is a lot more to say, but the editor is looking daggers! Then Editor Derek Jones Replied… Hafina, wouldn’t dare! And, as a matter of fact I myself have something to add from one of the articles l wrote for Censorship—a World Encyclopedia, published 2001. It was 1960, the year Penguin Books published unexpurgated Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Following that, Denbighshire County Council removed 300 books from its shelves, and the outraged chief librarian, Eric Luke, encouraged his wife, who was a member of Llanbedr Women’s Institute, to campaign against ‘pornographic’ books. She said, “There are people who would condemn us for trying to set ourselves up as judges, but the public libraries are maintained through the rates and taxes we all pay, and the books they contain should appeal to the majority and not to the sadistically-minded minority. DJ .
An April 2009 profile by HAFINA CLWYD