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Penley (Welsh: Llannerch Banna) is a village in the County Borough of Wrexham, in Wales close to the border with Shropshire, England, and had a population of 606 as of the 2011 census.[1]

The Dymock Arms public house in Penley
Penley is located in Wrexham
Location within Wrexham
OS grid referenceSJ414399
Principal area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWREXHAM
Postcode districtLL13
Dialling code01948
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
List of places
52°57′11″N 2°52′16″W / 52.953°N 2.871°W / 52.953; -2.871Coordinates: 52°57′11″N 2°52′16″W / 52.953°N 2.871°W / 52.953; -2.871

The village was, until 1974, in an exclave of the ancient county of Flintshire known as Maelor Saesneg.[2] (English: "English-speaking Maelor"), sometimes called "Flintshire Detached", which was administered from Overton-on-Dee. Between 1974 and 1996, Penley was in the short-lived county of Clwyd.

Penley lies on the path of the long-distance walk, the Maelor Way[3]


Penley Polish HospitalEdit

Penley is home to the Penley Polish Hospital, which is still in operation. It is managed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. The hospital was founded following a decree from Sir Winston Churchill after World War II, to care for Polish ex-servicemen who fought alongside the Allies in World War II, as well as their families, who settled in the area.[4] As a result of this influx, the population of Penley increased threefold. Residents at the hospital and camp included the Polish military commander, Wacław Przeździecki. At its peak, in the early 1950s, the hospital housed more than 2,000 patients and staff. By 2002 just 6 patients remained; the original hospital building (which had space for 30 wards but was now only using 1) was demolished and a small, modern facility was opened in 2004, with 8 individual rooms.[5]

Church and parish historyEdit

Penley Church was originally built in 1538. The timber structure was replaced by a brick one in 1793. This was demolished in 1893, and the current church was completed in 1899; it was consecrated in 1902, and dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Penley was originally part of the parish of Ellesmere in neighbouring Shropshire, but it became a separate parish towards the end of the Commonwealth period. In early 1661, it reverted to being part of the parish of Ellesmere, after the Restoration of Charles II. In 1860, it again became a separate parish.

It was then in the English Diocese of Lichfield until 1920, when following the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales, it was transferred to the Welsh Diocese of St Asaph, where it remains.[6]


Penley has one primary school and one secondary school. The primary school, known as the Madras School,[7] was built in 1811 by George Kenyon II, Baron Kenyon of Gredington. Penley's secondary school, The Maelor School, was built in 1957 and serves the rural communities on both sides of the border. It has had excellent GCSE results over the last few years with a high percentage of pupils getting A*s; it was awarded the title of the "most improved secondary school in North Wales" from the Curriculum Authority for Wales in 2006.[8]


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Penley population (1119885324)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ Maelor Saesneg: Penley
  3. ^ Gordon Emery - Guide to the Maelor Way (1991) ISBN 1-872265-98-7
  4. ^ BBC article on the Penley Poles, BBC Online
  5. ^ Polish hospital renews Churchill's vision, Wales Online
  6. ^ Penley Church history
  7. ^ The Madras School
  8. ^ The Maelor School

Further readingEdit

  • Collins, Martin; Collins, Fran (2017). U.S. Army Hospital Center 804: An Account of the U.S. Military Hospitals in the Shropshire/Flintshire Area during World War. Brewin Books. ISBN 978-1-85858-565-9.

External linksEdit