Gwespyr

Gwespyr is a village in Flintshire on the north coast of Wales in the community of Llanasa. Gwespyr had a population of 289 people in the 2001 census.[1] It overlooks Point of Ayr on the west side of the River Dee estuary and its sandy beaches with dunes. The hills of the Clwydian Range behind the village form the eastern boundary of the Vale of Clwyd. Gwespyr also looks respectively Welsh but is an alien name. It represents Old English for 'West-bury' which came to be interpreted as the 'west fort' meaning the westernmost fort in Mercia. Originally, it is thought to have been a strategic Mercian lookout which was reduced in importance with the development of a fortified Rhuddlan.[2]

Gwespyr
Gwespyr Village sign.jpg
Gwespyr Village sign
Gwespyr is located in Flintshire
Gwespyr
Gwespyr
Location within Flintshire
OS grid referenceSJ1083
Principal area
CountryWales
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townHOLYWELL
Postcode districtCH8
Dialling code01745
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
AmbulanceWelsh
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
UK
Wales
Flintshire
53°20′08″N 3°20′12″W / 53.335571°N 3.336687°W / 53.335571; -3.336687Coordinates: 53°20′08″N 3°20′12″W / 53.335571°N 3.336687°W / 53.335571; -3.336687

Gwespyr is famed worldwide for its top quality stone quarried in quantity from Roman times and shipped all around the world. "Gwespyr Stone" as it became known had a fine grain and colour also a remarkable quality of cutting and shaping. It was used for many buildings around Gwespyr. It was also used to build the ancient Maen Achwyfan at Whitford, the chapel at St Winefride's Well in Holywell, stone carvings in Rhuddlan Castle and Denbigh Castle, St Asaph Cathedral, The Talacre Arms Public house in Gwespyr and Basingwerk Abbey in Greenfield, Flintshire. Gwespyr stone was also found on sites such as Prestatyn Castle and the Roman bathhouse located in Prestatyn.[3] There is plenty of evidence of the stone industry in Gwespyr prevalent even today, though all but one quarry is disused. The quarry in use today is home to Delyn Metal.[4]

TourismEdit

Gwespyr is home to two caravan parks. "Tree Tops Caravan Park" is located on New Road and is best known for its gardens and stunning sea views.[5] The park has won its category in Wales in Bloom for the past 19 years.[6] "Sea View Caravan Park" is located on Gwespyr Hill and up until the late '90s was owned by the Reynolds family. Since its take over by Talacre Beach Leisure it has undergone extensive regeneration. The site is a "sister park" to Talacre Beach Caravan park located in nearby Talacre and they share leisure and entertainment facilities. The park has views of rolling hills and golden beaches.[7]

ReligionEdit

 
Capel Gwespyr

Gwespyr has been home to at least three Chapels during its history. Only two remain standing today, but they are now private houses.[8] Gwespyr's chapels are listed as Calvinistic Methodist and Wesleyan.[9] "Gwespyr Chapel", located in on Tanrallt Road, was Calvinistic Methodist and built in 1860.[10] It had a congregation averaging 136 people between 1911 - 1960. "Wesley's Memorial Chapel" is also located on Tanrallt Road and was Wesleyan by denomination. The chapel was built in 1841 and was attended by an average of 140 worshipers between 1911 - 1960; services at the chapel where conducted in the Welsh language.[9] Another chapel belonging to the Church in Wales was built during the 1960s in a stunning location perched on the top of Gwespyr Hill opposite the Reservoir. The structure was built out of tin and was nicknamed "The Tin Chapel" by the locals. The church was opened after the closure of its counterparts on Tanrallt Road but closed in the late 1970s and the congregation was moved to nearby Llanasa Parish Church.[9] Church services were also held every other Sunday at Gwespyr Village Hall by the Minister from Llanasa to aid the elderly community who could not make the journey to nearby Llanasa. These services ceased due to falling numbers and changes at the Village Hall in 2001.[11]

Gwespyr Village HallEdit

 
Gwespyr Village Hall

Gwespyr Village Hall was built in 1952. It was used initially by the local people as a meeting place and a variety of clubs where subsequently formed and based at the Hall; Including a Bowls Club, Indoor Shooting range club, Bingo, a Youth club and a Snooker club. The Village Hall could be rented by local residents for parties and events. In the 1980s, two extensions were built, funded by Local government grants. A sub Post office was introduced at that time. The Village Hall was home to Gwespyr Sounds Productions who took on the suite on the left side of the building full-time.[12] Gwespyr Sounds Productions used the building for its bands and music acts to rehearse and as its office. Local bands Utopia, Scramble Joe, The Lampshades and Outback used the facilities from 1998 - 2004. The Village Hall became redundant in 2004. A new committee was formed in June 2010 and registered as a Charitable organization and work began to regenerate the building. New events and openings began in May 2011.[13]

War MemorialEdit

 
Gwespyr War Memorial

Gwespyr War Memorial sits in a small memorial garden near the top of Gwespyr Hill and was designed by R.Bruce Esq of Talacre. It commemorates all of those men who fought in World War I, together with the one soldier who died in action. One soldier killed in World War II is commemorated. The memorial was originally erected by Sir Pyres William Mostyn Baronet to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee 14 August 1897.[14]

LegendEdit

 
Gwespyr Hillside From Talacre

Frank Nicholson, of Gwespyr, the famous Welsh baritone, a National Eisteddfod winner, and a wireless singer, was attacked and killed by a stallion while walking home on a footpath leading from Talacre Abbey (known by the locals as "the park") to Gwespyr on Monday 8 October 1928. Three weeks later a woman was seriously injured by the stallion at the same place.[15]

AmenitiesEdit

Public HousesEdit

 
The Masons Arms

The village is home to two public houses. "The Talacre Arms" is situated midway up Gwespyr Hill. It was popular during the 1960s. The pub was owned by Marston's Brewery until the mid-1990s when it was bought by private owners; it closed in May 2011. "The Masons Arms" is located near the top of Gwespyr Hill and is affectionately named "The Slip" by the locals. The name "The Slip" derived from the old quarry workers who used to "Slip" in for a pint! The pub was owned by Allied Breweries and served Ansells beer until the mid-1990s when the pub was bought by private owners. The pub is still open today and has fantastic views from its Beer garden.[16]

RestaurantsEdit

On the corner of the A548 and Gwespyr Hill sits "The Lodge Inn". The Lodge was a popular live music venue serving mainly the holidaying public. In more recent times The Lodge has been better known for its traditional menu and enjoys passing trade from the A548 coast road. Directly across is "The Totem Pole" which is a small village restaurant with a good reputation. It has an American Indian theme throughout that is based on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.[16]

PlaygroundEdit

There is a play area across from the Masons Arms public house that is maintained by Flintshire County Council. The play area has a top and bottom part. The top is home to typical play equipment white the bottom area is one of many empty quarries - this is now home to a Basketball court.[16]

ShopsEdit

 
Lobitos Garage in 2020

The Village shop was located on Tanrallt Road but closed in the early 1990s and became a private residence. The village shop prior to it closing was very traditional selling groceries. It also served as the Village Post Office and was seen as a major blow for the village some time after its closure. At the bottom of Gwespyr Hill on the A548 coast road is the local Garage 'Lobitos' which serves Esso petrol, fits tyres and exhausts and has a small shop selling groceries, ice cream, sweets and newspapers. Lobitos Garage started life in the 1950s as a general car repair garage, fuel station and cafe serving the locality and holiday traffic along the North Wales coast.[17]

TransportEdit

Bus services are provided by Arriva Buses Wales. There are two bus stops serving the village, one on Tanrallt Road across from the former shop and the other on the A548 coast road next to the old Cam Gas Store.

SportEdit

Gwespyr has had very little in the way of sporting clubs in the last 100 years.

Gwespyr Rangers F.C.Edit

Gwespyr however had a football club 1902–1913. They played in a full green strip. Gwespyr Rangers FC, nicknamed the Quarry-Men, competed in the Prestatyn and District Football League along with Dyserth Park Rangers, Meliden Church Guild, Prestatyn Town F.C., Rhuddlan United and Rhyl Swifts.[18] Gwespyr Rangers most bitter rivals where Prestatyn Town F.C. In 1911 Gwespyr Rangers FC thrashed Prestatyn Town F.C. 3–1 in a friendly fixture at Gwespyr's Quarry Ground.[19] During a league game at Prestatyn's Bastion Gardens in 1912 the game was abandoned at half time with the visitors leading 3–1. This sparked off a controversy that was beyond the realms of farce and surpassed anything today's blazers could conjure up. The Gwespyr secretary, George Wright, alleged that Prestatyn refused to come out for the second half claiming that failing light was making conditions dangerous. The Flintshire side wanted to play on and the matter was eventually referred to the league's management committee who decreed that the unplayed 45 minutes of the game be replayed to a conclusion, again at Prestatyn. Gwespyr's secretary was still bombarding the paper with letters trying to make Prestatyn out as the guilty party for not coming out for the second half of the ill-fated game. Gwespyr's Mr Wright was in such fury that he immediately resigned his club from the league and sparked off a heated exchange of letters in the Weekly papers. Gwespyr Rangers F.C disbanded in 1913.[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Check Browser Settings
  2. ^ BBC - North East Wales Towns - Place names explained
  3. ^ Harry Thomas' Memory Lane - Google Books
  4. ^ Map - Directions | Delyn Metals Ltd | Scrap Metal Merchants, Holywell » Yell.com
  5. ^ Static Caravan Parks In North Wales | | Tree Tops Caravan Park
  6. ^ Features | | Tree Tops Caravan Park
  7. ^ Welcome to Seaview Holiday Home Park | Holiday Parks Wales | Static Caravan Holiday Parks
  8. ^ The Churches of Britain and Ireland
  9. ^ a b c GENUKI : Flintshire, Llanasa, Ss. Asaph & Cyndeyrn
  10. ^ http://www.churches-uk-ireland.org/images/flint/gwespyr_sgn.jpg
  11. ^ LlanasaParishChurch'Regular services
  12. ^ North Wales: G - link2wales.co.uk
  13. ^ The Leader - News from Wrexham & Flintshire - Fears grow for Flintshire village left without support
  14. ^ File:Gwespyr War Memorial.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
  15. ^ Eddies News Extracts - 19281000
  16. ^ a b c Welcome to Gwespyr Village
  17. ^ "Lobitos - Company". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  18. ^ "Pre War - Seasiders Attic". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  19. ^ "Pre War - Seasiders Attic". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Pre War - Seasiders Attic". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.