Song lyrics mentioning Abergele

A 1980s Liverpool band called The Pale Fountains had a song called  “Abergele Next Time”

Abergele’s still not bad
still not bad this time of year”

..But are there any other songs that mention Abergele?

Feel free to add your suggestions in the Comments.


Posted in fun, gems | 2 Comments

St Davids Day – let’s party like it’s 1909

I’m a fan of the National Library of Wales’s Welsh Newspapers Online site. Here’s a clipping from the Weekly News, 5 March 1909, describing St David’s Day celebrations at the Bee Hotel, Abergele, in that year.

copyright National Library of Wales reprinted under their open license

Copyright National Library of Wales. Reprinted under their open license

ABERGELE. St. David’s Day was celebrated in Abergele with a dinner at the Bee Hotel, and a coffee supper, followed by a concert, at the spacious Wesleyan schoolroom, the latter being held by members of the Ship Cafe.

Both events went off splendidly. The meeting at the Wesleyan schoolroom was presided over by Mr. J. R. Ellis, I when the programme was sustained by Mr. G. T. Morgan, Mir. T. Derbyshire Roberts, Misses Harrison, Miss Katie Jones, M’aster Harold Cybi Williams, Miss Lizzie Davies, Master John Millward, and Mr. Ben Cybi Williams.

The only toast submitted to the meeting was “Dewi Sant,” proposed by Mr. J. R. Ellis, and elaborated upon by the Rev. Morgan’ Davies., who was in grand form. He declared that St. David. ‘kindled such a fire of patriotism in Wales that time can never extinguish. (Applause!.)

On the motion of Mr. J. Williams, M.A., seconded by Mr. Edward Ellis, the thanks of the meeting was accorded ‘o all those who had contributed towards the success of the gathering. Mr. R. E. Needham enlivened the proceedings with several, gramaphone selections.

AT THE BEE HOTEL. St. David’s Day has been. celebrated at the Bee Hotel for many years. As usual, there was a large and distinguished company present at this year’s function. The catering of Mr. and Mrs. Featherstone was Ai. ‘Mr. G. H. Judson bad the honour of being president, whilst Mr. S. B. Rogers occupied the vice-chair. Amongst others present we’re Messrs’. E. A. Crabbe. T. Hannah, J.P., J. Gill, E. W. Brtdley, Kinmel; J. Calvert, W. Jones, Chapel Street; W. Chesters, D. W., J. Williams, Harp Hotel; D. Williams, Kinmel Arms; Humphrey Williams, Valentine Hotel, Llanddulas; W. J. Parry, London House; J. Pierce, Victoria House; Richard Jones, Pentre Ucha’ E. Wo’n'a.ll, Cambrian Hotel; G. Perkins, Elias Evans, Pensarn; E. W. Harrop, J. Edwa.rd=, T’anyfron; D. Wil- liama, Ty lgwyn,; W. BTiothetrtoQ, E. W. Parry, Rihyl; and F. Hajdon, Rhyl. The toast list was as foHow.s:—”The King,” by the President; The Queen, the Prince and PfTMicesa of Wales, and the Rest of the Royal Family,” by the Ptresident; The Navy, Army, and Territorial Forces,” proposed by Mr. CraLbe, and responded to by Mr. J. Gill; To the Im- mortal Memory of St. David,” proposed by M’r. S. B. Rogers; The Town and Trade of Abergele,” proposed by Mr. J. Edwards, Tanyfron; The Farming Industry,” proposed by Mr. J. Pierce, and responded to by Mr. D. Williams, Ty Gwyn; “The Host and Hostess,” proposed by Mr. G. Perkins, Mr. Featherstone responding.

Songs were sung by Mir. Bradley, Messrs. Johnson and Foye, Manchester, Mr. Hanlo.n, Rhyl, and Mr. D. W.;ghan. Mir. Crabbe said the British Navy waa every .ready to, respond tOl the call of duty. The Army,, though at the present moment in a transient stae, was ready for every emergency if necessity arose. Aided by the Daily Mail,” the Terri- torital Force in London had attained its required strength, and he sincerely trusted that the other parts of the country would follow the example set before, them by the capital of the Empire. If the Territorial Force failed, then there would only be one, alternative—namely, conscription, and that would mean a national calamity.

In responding, Mr. Gill said the Territorial scheme was the last effort—the last kic’k—to avoid that deplorable system of conscription. .Even now, the Territorial Force was three times the value of the old Volunteers. Mr. ludson. in resDondin? to’ the toast of his health, said that since he had been a member of the Council he had done his best for all con- canned.

Something had been said about his fo.rthcorning marriage. (Applause.) Well, he might as well let the, secret out by saying that he was to. be married on the grd of June. (Loud .applause.)’ Mr. Perkins, in pro.po.sing the health of the host and hostess, said everyone present would feel sorry at My. Featherstone’s departure from Abergele. ..Mr., in responding, said he was sorry to, leave Abergels, but he was saddled with a house at Colwyn, Bay. The meeting broke up with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and God Save the King.” SEARCHLIGHT.


Back to today now: as you can see, the optical character recognition isn’t perfect, but it’s quite good. So you’ll notice the typos above.

Interesting to note the military discussions which foreshadowed the beginning of WWI.



Posted in fun, gems, history, people, traditions | Leave a comment

Three charming vintage Kinmel Camp postcards

Thanks to Colin Watt for his comment: “My Grandfather was at Kinmel Park camp in the first world war. He was pvt 6033 J.E.Bayley in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was wounded at Ypres on the 30th Sept 1917 and admitted to the St Johns Ambulance brigade hospital at Etapler France with severe leg wound. I have two post cards from Kinmel Park and, if you are interested, will forward copies. One is called “A Soldier’s Letter To His Sweetheart”, and the other is “A Soldiers Dream Of Home”, both were sent to my Grandmother during training.”

Kinmel Camp postcard from Colin Watt

Kinmel Camp postcard from Colin Watt

Kinmel Camp postcard from Colin Watt

Click on these images from Colin Watt’s collection to see them full-sized.

Posted in Kinmel Camp, postcards | Leave a comment

If you’d like to make a local site like this…

I’ve heard three pieces of news this month which will be of interest if you think you may like to make a local website like

1. Starting in April 2014, Cardiff University is offering a free five-week Community Journalism online course. It’s called a MOOC, which stands for massive open online course. Cardiff University’s is the first ever community journalism MOOC. It’s led by Richard Sambrook who was editor of BBC News Online at the time when I worked as a content producer with BBC Cymru Wales Online. You can sign up for this course via the provider Future Learn, which is the Open University’s MOOC brand. I first heard of MOOCs though my interest in digital storytelling. The #ds106 course was a pioneer in this field. I’ve signed up for a computational linguistics MOOC by the University of Lancaster which begins next week.

2. Existing to help local organisations with communications, the Local360Network offers training and support to get local news sites and other local websites to get publishing regularly. I heard of this from Andy Smith, a former BBC colleague who trained me to use BBC News’s content management system many moons ago. He’d like to see more local journalism being published around the UK, and says:

“Local360 Network (is) a UK-wide community of citizen journalists, community reporters and local storytellers, providing the tools, skills and connections to get more from local news.”

Andy wants to “expand the existing network and to try and find local groups that may benefit from the opportunity of joining the Local360 Network.  I was wondering if you had any local groups or organisations you were in contact with that may benefit from getting involved.”

Feel free to contact the Local360Network directly if you’d like to find out more.

3. #DoSomethingBrilliant is a project I’m going to be learning more about soon following an invitation from a third former BBC colleague and experienced radio broadcaster Steve Lloyd. It’s a collaboration between the Media Trust and Community Channel, funded by Big Lottery Fund.

You can find out more about these three exciting projects by following the links above.

And remember, we always welcome contributions to; do get in touch if you’ve got a story to share.


Posted in appeals, hyperlocal | Leave a comment

Abergele Funky Stars Morris Dancers seek home

Russ Foames of the Abergele Funky Stars Morris Dancers group – which has been making an impression since the 2012 Carnival – has been in touch with an appeal for AP readers:

“We are currently looking for a new hall to hire once a week to practice and would like to know if you know of any places you could recommend i.e local church room, etc. I can’t seem to find any info and if you could help I would very much appreciate this.”

Feel free to use the comments section at the bottom of this page if you can help Russ and his wife and their dance group.

Posted in appeals, fun, traditions | 2 Comments

Song about Moelfre

Moelfre Isaf, o Bryn Twr

Moelfre Isaf through the south door of the tower of Tower Hill. Photo copyright Huw Waters.

Musician John Meed has been in touch with us to tell the story of his song Moelfre Hill. John wrote the song shortly after playing a concert at Mynydd Seion chapel in Abergele. You can read John’s story as you listen to his song:



John Meed writes:

“In July 2011 I was invited to join the French choir Ensemble pour Boala in a concert in the Mynydd Seion Chapel in Abergele in North Wales. The concert also featured local choir Coastal voices.
We got together to rehearse over the days preceding the concert in a farmhouse in the hills a few miles inland from Abergele. Isabelle and I stayed nearby in a little hut half way up Moelfre Hill – there was no water or electricity, plenty of night-time visitors, and it took a half mile walk to get there, but the view out across the valley in the morning was remarkable.

“I knew vaguely that there was some connection between the family of my best friend, Dave, and the area, so I had mentioned the concert to his widow and sister who came over and brought his mother to the concert. The following morning, as rain hurtled down, we met them for breakfast in a café on Abergele high street. Dave’s sister asked me to show her on the map exactly where we had been staying.

“It turned out that their family had been tenant sheep farmers of the land around our hut for generations. What is more, a white farmhouse that we could see from our hillside vantage point was the place where they had spent their summer holidays as children. And when I had phoned to give them final details of the concert, I had been leaning on a gate looking towards this farmhouse, on the fifth anniversary of his death.

“On the way home down the M6 we stopped at a service station and I jotted down the beginnings of what was to become the song, Moelfre Hill. The recording features Cliff Ward from The Willows on violin, and Brian Harvey on bass.”

Posted in gems, people, topography | Leave a comment

Gwrych Castle – old postcard

Gwrych Castle, Abergele

Posted in history, postcards | Leave a comment

Avro Anson Morfa Rhuddlan WWII crash landing

Have you ever heard of the WWII plane Avro Anson Mk1 N5130?


Avro Anson 652A MkI photo from Wikipedia

Avro Anson 652A MkI photo from Wikipedia

In the summer of 1941, an Avro Anson made a forced landing at Morfa Farm between Abergele and Kinmel Bay.

Researching this is Gwyn Hughes of the GRŴP HANES DEGANWY HISTORY GROUP. Gwyn is an authority on aircraft crashes along the north Wales coast.

He wrote to AbergelePost on 19 September 2013 asking for our readers’ help:
“I am researching an accident on this aircraft during Feb 1944 at Marl Farm in Llandudno Junction with five fatalities ….and have found more information on this same aircraft of an earlier accident . The first crash was a forced landing at Abergele at Morfa Farm between Abergele and Kinmel bay on the 27th July 1941. The  landing resulted with its undercarriage being torn off when it ran into a ditch at the end of a field .
“I wonder if any of your readers can recall this incident or know any eyewitnesses who may have seen it. … I have checked out all local newspapers – Abergele Visitor, Rhyl Journal, Rhyl Leader – with no reports on this aircraft.”

AbergelePost contributing journalist Nigel Hilton read Gwyn’s comment and said:
“I’ve trawled through my collection of books on aircraft crashes but, apart from Terence R. Hill’s 2 Volumes titled ‘Down in Wales’, most mainly cover those in the Snowdonia area. Volume 1 of Edward Doylerush’s book ‘No Landing Place’ makes mention of Anson N5130′s last flight in the Appendix. As Gwyn probably knows through his role as webmaster for and with his greater access to archive material, the aircraft was from 8(O)AFU (Observers/Advanced Flying Unit) at RAF Mona on Anglesey on a Navigational Exercise. On 15 February 1944 the ‘plane disintegrated in the air near Marl Farm, Llandudno Junction’, possibly as a result of a detached aileron. There were no survivors unfortunately. So far I’ve been unable to find anything on the earlier incident on the 27 July 1941.”

Here’s the latest news from Gwyn:
“I spoke to a farmer at Gors Farm and he gave me a lead to talk to his relative now living in Llangernyw, who was living at Gors Farm during the war years …fingers crossed !!”

You can read the full discussion in the comments section here; we’ll keep you posted regarding any developments. Feel free to let us know if you have any information about the 1941 incident which we can pass on to Gwyn.

Posted in appeals | 3 Comments

Abergele Grammar School old photographs

Does anyone have any group photographs, or know the whereabouts of any, taken during the period 1963-1969 of staff and pupils of the Old Abergele Grammar School please? My recollections of my school years are fast fading and I’m hoping that access to such photos might just jog my memory. Many thanks.

Posted in appeals | 10 Comments

The Old Pubs, Inns and Taverns of Abergele in the 1800′s

In replying to a query posed by Gareth regarding the Sun Inn (see Market Street topic), he suggested that I start a new post on the subject of the old pubs in the town, so here goes.

We are fortunate in that Charles Jones (1843-1916) kept detailed diaries between 1861-1914 which has allowed us to follow those changes which took place in the town during that period. Ellis Wynne Williams (EWW) in his book ‘Abergele, the Story of a Parish’ makes use of those diaries and other sources, so it is thanks to them that we have the following information:

EWW makes reference to the Rate Book of 1859 which lists 14 taverns etc., whilst an 1862 Plan of Abergele (see below) shows 16 Hotels & Inns. Those in the Rate Book (annual rental shown in brackets) were The Gwindy (£15), Ship (£16), Mona Vaults (£12), Bull (£20), George & Dragon (£7), Royal Oak (£16), Cross Keys (£16), Harp (£18), Swan (£14), Kings Head (£10), Crown (£18), Nelson (£34), Castle (£18) and lastly, The Bee (£184). The last two are the Penybont and the Bodelwyddan Arms (Hesketh) which I will deal with first.

Abergele Town Plan 1862

The Penybont was originally the name of the house which adjoined a low, narrow tavern which ran alongside the river Gele and to which it was later joined to form the present-day building. Similarly, the Bodelwyddan Arms, as it was known in 1861, was also joined to the next-door house, forming the Hesketh of later years. The Castle was the last of only three pubs in the town to be joined to the house next door in the 1860-1900 period. The Castle, then as now, is situated at the northern end of the junction between Pleasant Place and Dundonald Avenue. Around that time there was a clamour to close or pull down the small taverns. The Compensation Act, which had recently been passed at that time, might have been all the incentive required in some cases. But I digress.

From the 1860′s onwards Abergele saw much change, which included the disappearance of many of its taverns. Of the few left from the 1859/1862 period, only the Gwindy, the Bull (Hotel), a larger and much improved George & Dragon, the Harp (whose frontage didn’t alter at all between 1861 & 1911), Castle, Bee and Penybont survived. The Hesketh is still there on Bridge Street, almost opposite St. George Road, but under a new guise. Although the name ‘the Ship’ survives to modern days, it is not the same Ship Inn as mentioned in the listings however (see below). The Bee Hotel, two doors up from Church Street’s junction with Market Street, still occupies its original site. But what of the others?

That part of the modern day Peter Large’s property closest to the Harp is where the Cross Keys once stood. Described as ‘quite a good house with its two front rooms, one a shop, the other a tavern’ it was run by one Huw Jones in 1861, a joiner and zealous Baptist according to the diaries. Directly across the road, where Reeds Rains is nowadays, was The Swan. The original building was demolished to be replaced by a chemist’s shop in later years. The Crown is where Gwalia House, a modern day butcher’s shop, now stands. It was a butcher’s shop even in the late 1800′s, as well as a tavern, kept by a prominent Wesleyan, Edward Roberts. Behind the Swan and the Crown stood the Kings Head. The Royal Oak occupied one of the five small ‘two-up, two-down’ houses between Liverpool House (the bridal shop) and the Harp, probably where the barber’s shop is today. Interestingly, in 1891, the Post Office (formerly at Bowden House in Chapel Street) moved to one of those houses where it remained until moving to the present location in 1909. The George & Dragon was known as the Royal George in the early 1860′s. Originally described as ‘a low, old thatched house with no loft to it’ one can perhaps understand why the annual rent only increased from £7 in 1859 to £18 by 1890. For comparison The Harp, Crown & Castle were all rented at £18 p.a. in 1859, others somewhat more.

Charles Jones’ diaries take us on a clockwise tour of the town so we will pick up his descriptions in Water Street. Where the present day Tannery Court now is a cluster of half a dozen properties once stood, one of which was the White Horse tavern. For some reason, Ellis Wynne Williams’ book doesn’t show this on the 1862 Plan, nor does he mention it being in the 1859 Rate Book. He does, however, mention Nelson Vaults, part of Nelson House where Prys Jones & Booth carry on their business today. Jones’ diaries describes it as ‘quite a large property where much business was transacted’.

Across the road from Nelson House were three shops and the ruins (in 1861) of the old Lock Up. ‘In this block was the first North & South Wales Bank, the building next to it in the main street being for many years a tavern by the name of Bank Vaults’. This is another tavern which doesn’t make it into the lists in EWW’s book. ‘Next was the Red Lion, an important tavern which did much business’, sited where the current opticians is. The Penybont and Hesketh have already been discussed above so, bypassing them, our tour continues further along Bridge Street. Where Plas Newydd Buildings twin terraces now stand ‘there were many old thatched houses. Beyond them was an old long and low thatched house facing the road called New Inn. It had been a tavern long before 1861′ and is yet another not shown in the listings. It was situated roughly where Slaters have their Service building next to Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan these days.

We now about-face and head back towards the bridge over the river Gele which, ‘in 1861 was a stone arch, considerably higher and narrower than it is now’ an improvement which occurred around 1906. The first building on the corner of Glanrafon and Market Street (the Mobility shop) was a butchers for many years prior to becoming the Crown Bach (not to be confused with the Crown/Gwalia House at the other end of town). Proceeding onwards we arrive at ‘the Gwindy which remained unaltered between 1861 and 1911 and did a great trade’. Next came Cumberland house with a watchmaker’s shop, Glyn Luce, being built in the later part of the 1800′s on the site of the former tavern by the name of Mona Vaults.

Though off topic, it is interesting to list the remaining properties from Glyn Luce/the Mona Vaults if only to show their diversity. ‘Then came Bryn House and then a private house with a milliner’s shop built about 1862 next to it. Also about 1861 a Watchmaker’s shop called Grenwich house was built next to the milliner’s. Then came a farm called Ty Newydd, … next was a shop in which Edwards y Caws sold cheese’. I have mentioned those because the next property was ‘the Ship Inn, a free house with two quite sizeable rooms at the front’. This should NOT be confused with the later Ship Temperance Cafe on the corner of Market Street/Chapel Street, which didn’t open until 1907. But, to continue our description – ‘between the Ship Inn and the corner of the Llanfair Road were two shops, a milliner’s and a grocer’s. Shortly before 1861, the grocer’s shop was a tavern called the Bull and when the present Bull Hotel was built, about 1860, it became known as the Bull Bach (Little Bull) because only one of its rooms was used as a tavern at the beginning, the other being used as a shop’. What later became the Ship Temperance Cafe, a Youth Club in my time and currently a Herbal Medicine Practice, was built partly on the site of the old Bull (Bach) Inn. The story behind the origins of the Ship Temperance Cafe is interesting in its own right but not for this page.

Our perambulation of Abergele’s old taverns is almost complete with the exception of the northern side of Market Street. In 1861, the space where the Town Hall was later built in 1867 was just an open space. To the rear of this space the Market Vaults were built and served as a tavern between 1867 and 1910. The houses (demolished in 1966) in Market Place were also built about 1867 and called Local Lane. By walking westwards along Market Street, we eventually arrive at the former sites of the Crown, King’s Head and Swan to complete our circuit.

For the purists, Pensarn underwent much development in the 1850′s following the arrival of the railway in 1845, then remained largely unchanged from 1861-1911 apart from the disappearance of the White Horse Inn and the Glyn Vaults (their old locations unknown). This only left two remaining public houses to survive to the present day, The Railway (currently The Yacht) and the Cambrian (now The Park) both on the seaward side of the A548/Marine Road.

The railway appears to have been the catalyst which brought about much of the change mentioned above. Gone were most of the old taverns, which had probably been little more than a couple of planks laid across trestles in someone’s front room and with a barrel or two of ale upon them anyway. A far cry from today’s public houses with their modern image, plying their trade in buildings which have survived for over a century and a half in some instances.

Posted in gems, history, Pensarn, people, topography | Leave a comment