Today Meliden appears to be almost a suburb of Prestatyn, being less than 2 miles from the centre of its larger neighbour. However, it is little known that in fact Prestatyn was in years gone by a township within Meliden.
The name of the village comes from the Welsh, ‘Gallt Melyd’ and translates as ‘Hill of Melyd’, a reference no doubt to Graig Fawr and St Melyd, who has traditionally been identified, probably wrongly, as Mellitus, the first Bishop of London. However, the fact that Meliden’s church is dedicated to St Melyd does suggest an early origin, probably 6th century, its curvilinear churchyard and raised position further evidence of a pre-Conquest foundation.
Lying just below the imposing slopes of Graig Fawr, known locally as ‘Meliden Mountain’, the history of the village is intimately connected with mining, exploiting the veins of lead that run beneath it. Indeed, the area is pockmarked with the scars of old shafts and tunnels. Within the Talar Goch lead mine, Romano-British artefacts have been found, suggesting a Roman past. Certainly, lead mined from this area would seem be to found with impressive regularity far and wide. It might well be the reason for the establishment of a sizeable Roman presence in nearby Prestatyn, indicated by the presence there of a bathhouse. Meliden’s population until recently was one made up largely of miners, their 18th and 19th century cottages and homes still visible. The Miners Arms public house is further testimony to the importance of lead to this area.
Despite the long history of mining in Meliden, the population of the village remained small until the 19th century when the Talar Goch mine began to turn a sizeable profit. Today, Meliden is a bustling little village, but it is possible to gain a sense of its past with a wander, especially with a visit to the fascinating St Melyd’s Church.