History of The Parish

The History of The Williams Family of Hendrerwydd, in The Parish Of Llangynhafal, Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire


Early Last Century

Llangynhafal in the early 20th-century looked very different to today’s parish. Many of the houses were thatched and there were, of course, no cars in those days, instead horses provided transportation. Miss Dilys Davies and Mrs Ada Jones remember the options available: Mr Evan Roberts had a wagonette, which held ten passengers and left the Golden Lion for Ruthin every Wednesday at 11am, returning at 5pm. It was especially popular during the fruit season when folk sold their produce in town (damsons were 1d or 1/2d per pound). A pony and trap at Pen Stryt and Pen Rhos ran to and from Rhewl station and at Rhos Place Mr and Mrs Griffiths had a donkey and cart, which would take two or three passengers to Ruthin for 2d a head.

To read more about Llangynhafal's history please click here.


There are several stories around the origins of the name Llangynhafal. The most fanciful suggests it is
a corruption of ‘can’ and ‘afal’, i.e. the parish of the hundred apples, and refers to an ecclesiastic who sent the bishop a hundred apples, each containing a gold coin in order to secure a job at the parish. Given that 100 gold coins was a hefty sum and the parish relatively poor, this seems extremely unlikely. A more plausible explanation is that it is named after the 7th-century missionary, Saint Cynhafal, the son of St Elgud ap Cadfarch ap Caradog Freichfras. The parish still celebrates his Saints Day on October 5th.

The name Gellifor has a clear derivation: ‘gelli’ meaning hazel grove and ‘fawr’ meaning big. As late as 1836 the Tithe Map shows a five-acre wooded area, known as Copi Wood, in a field behind Gellifor Farm. It is believed the wood was felled for timber during the Second World War.

The township of Hendrerwydd was given in 1533 or 1538 as Hendre yr Owithe and by a natural development, took its present form: the hendre of the yew trees.
Plas Isaf

Clywd House