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Abergele (United Kingdom)

Abergele shown within the United Kingdom
Population 17,574 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SH945775
Principal area Conwy
Ceremonial county Clwyd
Constituent country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ABERGELE
Postcode district LL22
Dialling code 01745
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
European Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Clwyd West
Welsh Assembly Clwyd West
List of places: UKWalesConwy

Coordinates: 53°17'N 3°35'W? / ?53.28, -3.58

Abergele is an old Roman trading town, situated near the north Wales coast between the holiday resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl, in the county borough of Conwy. Its northern suburb of Pensarn lies on the Irish Sea coast and is known for its beach, where it is claimed by some that a ghost ship has been sighted. Abergele and Pensarn railway station serves both resorts. Abergele is generally ignored due to the popularity of nearby Rhyl, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno and Conwy.

The town itself lies on the A55 road and is known for Gwrych Castle. The town is surrounded by wooded hillsides, which contain caves with rare lesser horseshoe bat. The highest hill is Moelfre Isaf (1038 ft) to the south of the town. There are also outstanding views from Cefn-yr-Ogof (669 ft), Tower Hill (587 ft) and Tan-y-Gopa.

Abergele (including Pensarn) has a population of around 18,000 and is part of the Abergele/Rhyl/Prestatyn urban area with a population of 64,026 (2001 census). Approximately 29% of Abergele has a significant knowledge of Welsh. The town also has satellite villages such as Saint George, Betws yn Rhos, Rhyd-y-foel, Belgrano and Llanddulas.

Recent genetic studies [1] on the y-chromosomes of men in Abergele have revealed that there is a substantial percentage of North African DNA in Abergele. Genetic marker e3b was found to average at 38.97% in male y-chromosomes in Abergele. Genetic marker e3b is found at its highest concentrations in North Africa at 75% but at much lower percentages in Northern Europe at less than 5%. The reason for the high levels of e3b in Abergele is most likely due to the heavy Roman presence in Abergele as most of the Romans that came to Britain did not come from Italy rather from other parts of the empire such as North Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe. Above average levels of genetic marker e3b have been found in other towns in Britain that were known to have had a heavy Roman presence.

So called "celtic" areas of the Iberian Peninsula have been found with high percentage of North African genes (highest among the ancestral isolated Pasiegos community in the Cantabrian mountains,46% and along other older chromosomes from Last Ice Age)in contrast to much southern and favourable areas for human habitation, like farming and Culturally rich Andalucia and mediterranean coasts.It is usually assumed that the Roman or Arab occupations left such imprint,but the remote location and reduced genes presence in more mainstream and likewise settled areas turn to indicate an older origin that parallels along the French and British coasts.Neolithic or older.


[edit] History

Sites of historical interest include two Iron Age hill forts. Castell Cawr at Tan-y-Gopa and Fort Dinorben now virtually disappeared owing to limestone quarrying at St George. On Gallt y Felin Wynt, a hill above the town popularly known as Tower Hill or Bryn Twr is a C17th watchtower, partially restored in 1930. There is another iron-age fort at Pen-y-Corddyn mawr hill above Rhyd-y-foel. There is also another watchtower Lady Emilys Tower which is located near Cefn-yr-Ogof.

Gwrych Castle was built between 1819-1825 at the behest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. From 1894 until 1946 it was the residence of the Dundonald family. Gwrych Castle's present owner, Californian businessman Nick Tavaglione, who bought the landmark 17 years ago has put Gwrych up for auction on 2 June 2006 but it failed to sell, The condition of the property is being monitored by the Gwrych Castle Trust. [2] It is undergoing renovation.

The boxers Bruce Woodcock (in the late 1940s) and Randolph Turpin (in 1952) trained at Gwrych Castle and the film Prince Valiant starring Edward Fox and Katherine Heigl, star of Knocked Up, was filmed there in 1996.

A curious undated inscription can be found on a tombstone in St Michael's Church (built on the site of a 'clas' or Celtic monastery). It states 'Here lieth in St Michael's churchyard a man who had his dwelling three miles to the north'. As the sea is little more than half a mile away at this point, this suggests that the sea has made some considerable advance over the centuries[1].

Outside the church is a penitential stone where sinners had to do penance by standing, dressed in white, by the stone and bessech the congregation for mercy as they entered and left the church.

In 1868 the Abergele Train Disaster was, up to that time, the worst railway disaster in Britain. The 33 people who died are buried in a mass grave in the local churchyard.

On 30 June 1969, the evening before the investiture of Prince Charles in Caernarfon, two members of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Welsh Defence Movement), Alwyn Jones and George Taylor, were killed when their bomb - intended for the railway line along which the Royal Train would be passing - exploded prematurely.

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. , Black's Picturesque Guide to North Wales, Adam and Charles Black, 1857 p.30

[edit] Further reading

(Source: Wikipedia)
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