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A History of Gwernymynydd Village, Flintshire

Gwernymynydd (Mountain of Elder Trees) is 2 miles from the market town of Mold - and at its highest point is 1000 feet above sea level. With around 1000 inhabitants it boasts 3 pubs and a vibrant community life centred around the Primary School and Village Centre.

Little remains of its industrial history - the worked-out Cambrian limestone quarry, was once owned by Lever Brothers Ltd of Port Sunlight, manufacturers of VIM. This was a scouring powder made from the silicone sandstone quarried here, which was ideal for the purpose. Lever's took over the Cambrian Works and Quarry in 1905 and stayed for half a century.

Like many villages of the early 20th century, Gwernymynydd had a local benefactor, the Waln family of Fron Hall. Mold Hospital was given by them, some of its modern equipment, including it is thought, an operating table.

Ambrose Waln started a highly successful scout troup for the local boys, providing equipment, kit and premises. The family were generous landlords, and also employed a large household staff, plus agricultural workers.

Following the end of World War 1, the Walns, having lost one of their family in action, were instrumental in having a cenotaph erected in Gwernymynydd, at the site of the old drinking fountain. This was at the roadside between Fron Hall drive and the Twmpath on the Mold-Ruthin road (now the A494). The water for the drinking fountain came from a spring in a field behind it. This water had always been considered pure, long before the days of the fountain. Local people believed that this was not surface water, liable to contamination, but water filtered at its source through the silica rocks above. In order to establish this, quantities of peppermint were put in the mine and sure enough, eventually the spring water tasted of peppermint.

The Village Field, adjacent to the Village Centre, and now administered by the National Playing Fields Association, was a gift to Gwernymynydd residents from the Waln family.

The original village school, also adjacent to the field, was replaced by a new modern building in the 1950's (now the Village Centre). The old school was sensitively converted into an attractive house. Several features were retained by the family who bought it, including the school bell which hangs near the roof. It is used these days on Remembrance Day, when it is struck eleven times at the start of the service at the War Memorial, (now situated in the grounds of the Centre, having been moved a few years ago for safety reasons. A large stone marks the original site on the A494).

Olive Sweetman

More information can be found in  A Photographic History of Gwernymynydd. This is a 64 page document which can be downloaded or viewed here

Page Last Updated - 21/02/2017
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