Denbighshire (historic)

Until 1974, Denbighshire (Welsh: Sir Ddinbych), or the County of Denbigh, was an administrative county in the north of Wales, later classed as one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales. It was a maritime county, that was bounded to the north by the Irish Sea, to the east by Flintshire, Cheshire and Shropshire, to the south by Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire, and to the west by Caernarfonshire.

Sir Ddinbych (Welsh)
Denbighshire shown within Wales
Denbighshire shown within England and Wales
Denbighshire shown within the United Kingdom

 • 1831386,052 acres (1,562.30 km2)
 • 1911426,084 acres (1,724.30 km2)[1]
 • 1961427,978 acres (1,731.97 km2)[1]
 • 183183,629[2]
 • 1911144,783[1]
 • 1961174,151[1]
 • 18310.2/acre
 • 19110.3/acre
 • 19610.4/acre
Chapman codeDEN
GovernmentDenbighshire County Council (1889–1974)
 • HQDenbigh and Ruthin

Under the Local Government Act 1972, the use of Denbighshire for local government and ceremonial purposes ended on 1 April 1974, with the creation of the new county of Clwyd. A different county of the same name was created on 1 April 1996, for modern local government purposes, covering a substantially different area from the historic county.



Denbighshire was created by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 from areas previously in the Marches. It was formed from Cantrefi taken as follows;

From the Lordship of Denbigh:

From Powys Fadog:



In the south and west of what was Denbighshire, the mountains of the Clwydian Range rose from 1000 to 2,500 ft (760 m) high. The east was hilly. There was some level ground along the coastal strip. The highest points were Moel Sych and Cader Berwyn at 2,728 feet (831 m). Pistyll-y-Rhaeader, a 240 feet (73 m) waterfall, was located in the county. The chief rivers were the Clwyd and the Dee. The River Conwy ran north along its western boundary.

The main towns in the county were Rhyl, Abergele, Mochdre, Denbigh, Kinmel Bay, Llangollen, Llanrwst, Wrexham, Colwyn Bay and Ruthin. Villages such as Glan Conwy, Eglwysbach, and Llansannan had also come under Denbighshire. The most important industries were agriculture and tourism.

Places of special interest


Municipal reform

County Hall

An administrative county of Denbighshire was created in 1889 by the Local Government Act 1888. The county was governed by an elected county council, who took over the functions of the Quarter Sessions courts. The county council was based at County Hall in Ruthin, a building which was designed by Walter Douglas Wiles and completed in March 1909.[3]

The administrative county was subdivided into municipal boroughs and urban and rural districts.

Two civil parishes: Llaneilian yn Rhos and Llansanffraid Glan Conway were administered as part of Conwy Rural District in the neighbouring county of Caernarfonshire. This area was sometimes called Glan Conway Rural District.

In 1935 the rural districts were reorganised by a County Review Order, and reduced to five in number: Aled, Ceiriog, Hiraethog, Ruthin and Wrexham.

The administrative county was abolished in 1974, with most of its territory becoming part of the new districts of Colwyn, Wrexham Maelor and Glyndŵr in Clwyd. The urban district of Llanrwst and five rural parishes were included in Gwynedd.

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Vision of Britain - Denbighshire population (area and density)
  2. ^ Vision of Britain - 1831 Census
  3. ^ "The architects". Save our Heritage. Retrieved 5 October 2021.