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Church Street, Chirk - - 2343509.jpg
Church Street, Chirk
Wrexham UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Wrexham
Population4,468 (2011)
OS grid reference SJ295375
  • Chirk
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WREXHAM
Postcode district LL14
Dialling code 01691
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°55′48″N3°03′00″W / 52.930°N 3.050°W / 52.930; -3.050 Coordinates: 52°55′48″N3°03′00″W / 52.930°N 3.050°W / 52.930; -3.050

Chirk (Welsh : Y Waun) is a town and community in Wrexham County Borough, Wales, 10 miles (16 kilometres) south of Wrexham, between it and Oswestry. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 4,468. [1] Historically in the traditional county of Denbighshire, and later Clwyd, it has been part of Wrexham County Borough since a local government reorganisation in 1996. The border with the English county of Shropshire is immediately south of the town, on the other side of the River Ceiriog.


The town is served by Chirk railway station and the A5/A483 roads.


The name of the town in English, Chirk, derives from the name of the River Ceiriog, which itself may mean "the favoured one". The Welsh place name, Y Waun, is literarally "The Moor". [2] [3]

History and heritage

Llwyn-y-cil Lodge, just inside the gates of Chirk Castle and a grade II listed building Llwyn-y-cil Lodge, Chirk.jpg
Llwyn-y-cil Lodge, just inside the gates of Chirk Castle and a grade II listed building

Chirk Castle, a National Trust property, is a medieval castle. Two families are associated with the town and its castle: the Trevor family of Brynkinallt and the Myddelton family. The Hughes of Gwerclas, a family descended from the ancient kings of Powys Fadog, also lived in the area for many years.

Other attractions in the town include a section of Offa's Dyke and the Chirk Aqueduct, part of a larger World Heritage Site including Pontcysyllte aqueduct, on the Llangollen Canal, built in 1801 by Thomas Telford. The Glyn Valley Tramway terminated on the canal near the mainline railway station.

The parish church of St Mary's is a Grade I listed building. [4] The current church building was begun during the 11th century by the Normans, although it is believed that an older llan, dedicated to St Tysilio, had existed on the site. Indeed, the current church was dedicated to St Tysilio until the late 15th or early 16th century, after which it was re-dedicated to St Mary. Today, the church is a member of the Open Church Network and participates in the Sacred Space Project.

Chirk was formerly a coal mining community with coal being worked from the 17th to the 20th century. The two largest collieries were Black Park (one of the oldest in the north of Wales) and Brynkinallt (Welsh : Bryncunallt). These coal mines have now closed.

Chirk was a coaching stop on the old mail coach route along the A5 from London to Holyhead.

The Chester to Ruabon railway had been extended south to Shrewsbury by 1848, with stations at Llangollen Road (Whitehurst Halt, near Pentre) and Chirk; the Castle owners insisted that the railway not be visible to them and that the station be well outside the town lest it encourage the populace to travel. South of the town a railway viaduct was constructed by Henry Robertson to take the line over the Ceiriog Valley.

The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk. The canal crosses the Ceiriog Valley (from England into Wales) along Thomas Telford's aqueduct. Telford's aqueduct runs alongside the railway viaduct before the canal enters the Chirk Tunnel.

Modern day

Looking towards Chirk over the Aqueduct and Viaduct Y Waun AqueductWales.JPG
Looking towards Chirk over the Aqueduct and Viaduct
St Mary's Parish Church Y Waun parish church.jpg
St Mary's Parish Church

Agriculture continues to be of some importance, as does tourism. The National Trust's Chirk Castle [5] is an attraction, as are the World Heritage Site of the Llangollen Canal, [6] and the local scenery of the Ceiriog Valley and Berwyn Mountains. Manufacturing now plays a prominent position within the local industries, with major international firms such as Kronospan [7] and Mondelez UK [8] maintaining sites in the town. There are small business which support the local communities and its visitors, as well as service industries such as hotels, leisure facilities and restaurants. There are a wide range of employment opportunities and professions. [9]

Religion no longer has a prominent position, but there are four churches: St Mary's (Church in Wales), [4] Chirk Methodist Church, Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic) and the Community Church.

Chirk is served by two local primary schools: Ysgol Y Waun and Pentre Church in Wales Controlled School.

Ysgol Y Waun is the main primary school for children in Chirk. It was formed in 2012, by the merger of Chirk Infants School and Ceiriog Junior School. Ysgol Y Waun is a nursery, infant and junior school of mixed gender and lessons are taught through the medium of English. The school has about 335 pupils, with an increasing number of pupils on free school meals: 19.7% in 2014, which is above the Local Authority average but below the Wales average. [10]

Pentre School is a nursery, infant and junior school of mixed gender. There are approximately 86 pupils on roll who are all taught through the medium of English. Welsh is taught as a compulsory part of the school curriculum as a second language. The school is in a relatively affluent area, with only 15.9% of the school population eligible for free school meals, which is substantially below the Local Authority and Wales averages. [10]

Most pupils in the community attend Ysgol Dinas Brân, Llangollen, for their secondary education. Ysgol Dinas Brân is a relatively large, bilingual secondary school catering for pupils from ages 11 – 19 (including Sixth Form). [11] Other secondary schools in the area include Ysgol Rhiwabon, St Martin's School (Shropshire) and St Joseph's in Wrexham. The area is served by independent schools, such as Moreton Hall and Ellesmere College in neighbouring Shropshire.

Although Chirk is a predominantly English-speaking area, some parents choose to educate their children through the medium of Welsh. The nearest Welsh-medium primary schools are in Glyn Ceiriog and Cefn Mawr. Pupils can then transfer to either Ysgol Dinas Brân, Llangollen or Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham for Welsh-medium secondary education.

The Ceiriog Memorial Institute, in the Ceiriog valley, just west of Chirk, is home to a collection of Welsh cultural memorabilia and was founded in the early 1900s to support the Welsh language, culture and heritage for future generations.

In the 2011 census, a total of 3,652 residents (81.7%) have no skills in the Welsh language. [1]


Chirk is home to Chirk AAA F.C., a football team founded in 1876. Currently playing in the Cymru North (the second tier of Welsh football).

Chirk Golf Club was founded in 1991. The club closed in September 2012. [12]

Notable people

Sir Thomas Myddelton, 1st Baronet, painting 1670 British (English) School - Sir Thomas Myddelton III (1624-1663), 1st Bt - 1171110 - National Trust.jpg
Sir Thomas Myddelton, 1st Baronet, painting 1670
Billy Meredith, 1903 Billy meredith city.jpg
Billy Meredith, 1903


See also

Related Research Articles

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