When one is trained to see beauty rendered in architecture, or perhaps in a view, or even in the simple antiquity of a work, its hard to find it in a calloused hand of a place. In his, ‘Buildings of Wales: Clwyd’, Edward Hubbard describes Ffynnongroyw as, ‘an unlovely village at the extremity of industrial Deeside’. If one looks at the place through Hubbard’s eyes, it’s hard to argue with him. Is Ffynnongroyw pretty? On the surface, no. Crudely etched from the landscape beside the mud and silt of the River Dee, it’s a village of graft. The people of this village worked the Mostyn Docks or dug the coal of the Point of Ayr, seven days a week, year round, attending chapel on the Sunday. And there’s a rough hewn beauty in that, surely. So, any beauty Hubbard sees is contained in those chapels, and in All Saint’s Church, the last by George Edmund Street and completed posthumously.
But before passing through without a pause, think on the name of this village. Despite its industrial carapace, there is a past here beneath the obvious – if one knows where to look. And if one chose to pass behinds the lines of terraced houses facing the waters of the Dee, surprises might be found.