Cefn-y-bedd

SJ  

‘The field which is known as, ‘Ffedog y diawl’, ‘the Devil’s Apron’ lies in that portion of Cymmau township called, ‘Cefn y bedd.’  There can be no doubt that this represents the site of the grave whence Cefn y bed took its name.  Edward Lluyd, writing of Hope parish in 1699, mentions a cernedd (the burial place of Gwrle Gawr) called 'arfedogaed y wrach,’ ‘the hag’s apronful,’ on the common of Cefn-y-bedd, with a cistfaen within two or three stoneshots, and a small carnedd close by.’

 

Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Wales and Monmouthshire (1912) II. County of Flint

 

Cefn-y-bedd is, like many of the smaller settlements close to the larger towns of North East Wales, difficult to now tease out from the sprawling mass of urban expansion that occurred in the 19th century.  Situated between Wrexham and Caergwrle on the A541, Cefn-y-bedd’s modern history is one inseparable from the Industrial Revolution.  Once dominated by the enormous Ffrwd Iron and Coal works [LINK], the people of this village worked the nearby mines, mills and breweries.  In fact, the area opposite the Hollybush Inn (though some locals locate the area closer to the nearby New Inn) is shown on Ordnance Survey Maps to have been known as ‘Little Liverpool’, reflecting the number of workers that had moved to the village to work in the nearby industries.

 

The name of the village translates as, ‘Behind the grave’, which leads one naturally to locate the grave it lies behind.  Unfortunately, evidence of said grave is distinctly lacking, with Ordnance Survey maps, both new and old silent of a barrow, cairn or tumulus in the near vicinity, suggesting that all traces were lost by the 19th century.  However, the 1912 ‘Inventory of Ancient Monuments’ is more forthcoming, and locates the ‘cromlech’ in the field opposite Abermorddu Farm in what it calls a ‘conical field’.  Rather more helpfully, it gives co-ordinates, which would place it opposite what remains of the farm and the housing estate on Wyndham Drive (SJ 308 566).  It describes ‘many big stones, one being 1 foot 7 inches high and over 4 feet wide’, with also many small stones on the north side of the slope.  Curious then that the maps ignore this.  The old name for the field, ‘Ffedog y diawl’ would be consistent with a distant memory of the field as being the location of an ancient burial site, and the superstitious interpretation of this.  In that, it is little different from, ‘Bryn yr Ellyllon’, or ‘Hill of the Goblins’ which was the location of the Mold Gold Cape [LINK], which is said to have had a history of hauntings before the discovery of the Cape in 1833.  It is interesting that Edward Lluyd links the burial site at Cefn-y-bedd with the nearby myth of the giant, Gwrle [LINK], said to have been the first resident of Caergwrle Castle.  Whether this was for a lack of nearby burial sites, or because his correspondent for the area was aware of a tradition, is unknown.

 

Converted Mill

Ffrwd Iron & Coal Works

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