Talk of Ewloe to a historian and they will tell you of the 13th century Welsh built castle with its distinctive D-shaped keep. They will perhaps tell you of the Battle of Coleshill of July 1157, in which the forces of Owain Gwynedd ambushed and largely destroyed the forces of the invading Henry II, near to where the castle was later built. Yet Ewloe itself is a curious place, since to all intent and purpose, it exists largely as a township in Hawarden Parish. Even today it lacks a parish church. Recorded as, ‘Ewlawe’ in 1281, which combines the Old English words, ‘aewell’ and ‘hlaw’, this would suggest a meaning of, ‘hill at the source of the stream,’ and perhaps refers to the promontory upon which the castle resides.
Ewloe Green, an area of what was once common land, was possibly in existence in the Middle Ages, but this is in no way certain. Homes had certainly been built there by the 18th century, but earlier settlement is speculative. Indeed, despite the presence of the castle, Ewloe seems to have remained isolated, possibly due to the fact that during Edward I’s conquest of Wales at the end of the 13th century, the castle was virtually ignored, sited to far from his favoured coastal supply routes.
Having said this, there remains a tradition of a small English colony at the castle, perhaps to exploit the iron that was certainly being mined by 1295, along with the area’s coal reserves. Evidence, however, is vague at best. A medieval pottery kiln was discovered in 1975, near to Ewloe Hall, and this has been dated through historical references to 1435/6. Perhaps we have evidence here of small, isolated industries, working separate to established settlements.
In 1675, John Ogilby included ‘Yowley’ and ‘Yowley Castle’ in Map 24 of his ‘Britannia’, on the route between Chester and Holyhead. The map shows a few houses sited on the road, and while this suggests some kind of settlement at the end of the 17th century, it cannot be taken as reliable evidence. It was not until the 19th century that any kind of sizeable settlement in the area began, and that largely along the road to Hawarden. During the 20th century, the settlement accelerated tremendously until today, Ewloe is a thriving little place of housing estates and businesses.