The Hope and Caergwrle Heritage and Conservation Society have received £9,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project to raise the profile of the heritage of the Flintshire village of Caergwrle. Caergwrle, or more appropriately, Abermorddu, was the site of the discovery of the Bronze Age ‘bowl’ which takes pride of place as an iconic exhibit in the ‘Origins of Wales’ gallery of National Museum, Cardiff. A replica of the Bowl, carved by the late Charles Harston, can be seen in Abermorddu County Primary School. Although the exact location of the find is subject to discussion the Abermorddu housing estate of Maes Cibyn (‘Field of the Cup’) was named after the discovery.
The village possesses a medieval castle, which played a generally unacknowledged but critical role in Anglo-Welsh relations in the thirteenth century. It was initially built by the Welsh Prince, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, who became the first person in British history to be hung, drawn and quartered for the crime of High Treason. Dafydd knocked down his own Castle to slow down the armies of Edward I. It is documented that during the period of the Edwardian rebuild one shilling was paid for each of 27 Welshmen’s heads that were brought to the Castle.
The village also has one of the finest examples of a packhorse bridge in Wales and several distinctive buildings which are significant in the history of the local community. The Packhorse Bridge was recently used to launch the ducks for the Carnival Duck Race.The funding will support several facets of a ‘Caergwrle Sense of Place Project’. Volunteers will work with Flintshire Record Office and the newly-established Friends of Hope Community Library to establish a heritage archive of materials, including those relating to the history of Caergwrle, in Hope Community Library when it is transferred as a community asset, from Flintshire County Council, to Castell Alun High School and the group of Friends.
The project will be officially launched at an event in Caergwrle Presbyterian Church Hall, High Street on Saturday 30th April. The event will include an exhibition of the heritage of the village and a number of speakers.
Future planned events include a ‘Memories Session’ at the Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday 25th June. Local residents will be invited to bring old photographs with their memories to a planned session which will help to produce a published ‘Ramble Round the Historic Village of Caergwrle’, linking memories to existing features and buildings.
It is hoped that the profile of Caergwrle’s medieval castle will be raised by events which will include an element of re-enactment and also that volunteers will be encouraged to give guided tours of the village and castle.
Commenting on the award Dave Healey, chair of Hope and Caergwrle Heritage and Conservation Society, said:
“It is great news that HLF have agreed to support this ambitious project. We aim to make the most of the opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the village and encourage aspects of its heritage to be managed with greater care. The Project is part of a vision to support Caergwrle as a vibrant, inclusive, attractive and sustainable community where residents can live healthy and enriched lives and also as a desirable place for others to visit.”
Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the Hope and Caergwrle Heritage and Conservation Society can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the policy of Flintshire County Council. Readers are welcome to contact the author with any news or views on the local heritage at DHealey204@aol.com or by telephoning 01978 761 523.