Chirk (Welsh: Y Waun) is a town and local community in the Wrexham County Borough, Wales. Historically in the traditional county of Denbighshire, it is now administered as part of the wider Wrexham County Borough. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 4,468.[1] It is located 10 miles south of Wrexham.

Chirk Castle - - 543919.jpg
Chirk Castle
Chirk is located in Wrexham
Location within Wrexham
Population4,468 (2011)
OS grid referenceSJ295375
  • Chirk
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWREXHAM
Postcode districtLL14
Dialling code01691
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°55′48″N 3°03′00″W / 52.930°N 3.050°W / 52.930; -3.050Coordinates: 52°55′48″N 3°03′00″W / 52.930°N 3.050°W / 52.930; -3.050

It is situated between Wrexham and Oswestry and has been part of the County Borough since 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 heritageEdit

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 operated from here.

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 since the 17th 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 (at Whitehurst) and Chirk. 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 dayEdit

Looking towards Chirk over the Aqueduct and Viaduct
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.

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.

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

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Age by Single Year, 2011 (QS103EW) Area: Chirk (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  2. ^ Mills, A. D. (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198527589.
  3. ^ "Welcome to Chirk and the Ceiriog Valley North Wales". Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The Parish of Chirk".
  5. ^ "Chirk Castle".
  6. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal".
  7. ^ "Kronospan".
  8. ^ "Home – Europe – Mondelēz International, Inc".
  9. ^ Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics – Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings".
  10. ^ a b "My Local School".
  11. ^ "Ysgol Dinas Brân".
  12. ^ “Chirk Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  • G. G. Lerry, "Collieries of Denbighshire", 1968

External linksEdit