Rhosllanerchrugog (Welsh: Rhosllannerchrugog) is a village in the county borough of Wrexham in north-east Wales. It is often known simply as Rhos. Literally translated the name comes from the Welsh: rhos "moor"; llannerch "glade"; grugog "heathery" hence "Moor of the Heathery Glade." Rhos has a population of approximately 10,000 which makes it one of the largest villages in Wales.
The village was part of the ancient parish of Ruabon and the district was referred to as Moreton Above (i.e. Moreton, or moor town, above Offa's Dyke) or Moreton Wallichorum (the “Welsh Moreton”). In 1844 Moreton Above became part of the newly created parish of Rhosllanerchrugog.
Residents of Rhosllanerchrugog are often referred to as 'Jackos'. The original settlers in the area were believed to be Jacobites, banished from Wrexham town centre.
The development of the village may be largely attributed to the coal seams of north-east Wales that pass beneath the village. A large mining community was established during the 18th century. A symbol of Rhos' coal-mining and labour movement heritage is seen in the "Stiwt", the Miners' Institute of Broad Street. This fine structure was erected and paid for by the miners as a social and cultural centre for the community. It was built during the general strike of 1926.
The Welsh Religious Revival of 1904 left a major impact on Rhosllanerchrugog. The famous bardic line Beibl a Rhaw i Bobl y Rhos (a Bible and a Spade - i.e. the mining implement - for the people of Rhos) reflect the importance of both coal-mining and the chapels on the village's culture and heritage.
The influence of the - predominantly Welsh language - churches and chapels impacted greatly on the linguistic and cultural profile of the area, and until the early 1980s chapel-going was significantly higher in Rhos than in most other parts of Wales or the UK. One result of this is that although only nine miles from the English border and surrounded by English-speaking villages, Welsh is still spoken as a community language in Rhosllanerchrugog.
The village had its own weekly newspaper, the Rhos Herald. The paper was founded by Richard Mills, originally from Llanidloes, who set up his printing business in Hall Street. He produced 3737 issues between 18 August 1894 and 31 December 1966. Since the mid-1970s, a Welsh language community newspaper featuring local news and other features, Nene, has been produced in the village.
Approximately 40% of the village is Welsh Speaking. (2001 Census)
Rhosllanerchrugog hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1945 and 1961 and the Celtic League was founded here in 1961 during the Eisteddfod. The 1961 event was immortalised in the poem and song The Cross Foxes by Harri Webb remembering the night when "In Rhosllanerchrugog we drank the pub dry"!
Notable buildings include:
The Stiwt Theatre. Formerly the "Miner's Institute" (Plas Mwynwyr) which was built in 1926 and dominated the social and cultural life of the village until 1977 when it closed. The local council, which had purchased the building in 1978, decided to demolish the building in 1985, but the building was saved as a result of local campaigning. As a result of local fundraising efforts, the building has been renovated and reopened, and now operates as a community theatre.
Church of St John Evangelist. A grade II listed building, built in 1852. Norman style in coursed and squared sand stone with slate roofs. It has a cruciform plan with nave, transept and chancel and bell tower in angle of south transept and chancel. A good example of a Romanesque Revival Church.
Penuel Chapel (Capel Penuel). Two storey Welsh chapel built in 1856-9 with a brick facade installed during renovations performed 1856-91. The chapel was the starting point site of R.B. Jones's campaign in the village during the religious revival in 1904-1905. One of the chapel's ministers was Lewis Valentine.
Religious Revival 1904-1905
Rhos was one of the centres of the Welsh religious revival of 1904-5. R. B. Jones, a visiting Baptist preacher, held a campaign in Penuel Baptist Chapel, Rhosllanerchrugog in November 1904.
Rhos is also renowned for its rich musical heritage.
Composers from the village include the Welsh composer of hymn-tunes Dr Caradog Roberts, most well known as composer of the hymn tune "Rachie". Arwel Hughes, father of the conductor Owain Arwel Hughes, and composer of the hymn tune "Tydi a Roddaist" also came from the village.
Notable performers from the village include the baritone James Sauvage and pianist Llŷr Williams.
Rhos is also home of several choirs, including the Rhos Male Voice Choir/Côr Meibion Rhosllannerchrugog; the Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir/Côr Orffiws Y Rhos; a Pensioner's Choir, Côr Pensiynwyr Rhosllannerchrugog; a Girl's Choir, Côr Merched Rhosllanerchrugog, a mixed voice choir currently celebrating 25 years in existence, Cantorion Rhos/The Rhos Singers, and formerly a Brass Band, the Rhos Silver Band. Unfortunately, lack of rehearsal facilities saw the Brass Band move to the neighbouring town of Wrexham, under the new name, Wrexham Brass, but they continue to excel at competitions throughout Wales and the United Kingdom consistently. The Male Voice Choirs are known throughout the world, following many tours to many countries, and consistently enjoy success at national, and international level. The choirs have benefitted from exceptional leadership from world-class conductors, the most notable of recent years being John Glyn Williams, John Daniel and Emyr James.
Today the village has its own concert hall at the Stiwt Theatre.
The village has always had a reputation, especially amomgst other Welsh speaking communities, for its' unique dialect of the Welsh language. The main example, is a word that has become synonymous with the village: "Nene", meaning "that". It is so highly associated with the village, that the local, monthly paper is simply titled "Nene". The word "Nene" is pronounced as "nair-nair", and is sometimes used in association with another unique word, "Ene" (air-nair), meaning "there". As in the question: "Be 'di nene ene?" Which translates as: "What's that there?" There are of course, many other examples. However, "nene" and "ene", are probably the most famous of them all.
In September 2006, letters were sent by Rhos Community Council to relatives of people buried in the town's cemetery, where former Miss World Rosmarie Frankland is buried, asking the relative to limit the number of memorials left at gravesites. Relatives, who claimed the issue had been handled "insensitively" collected an 850-signature petition against the council's move to clean up the cemetery. In September 2006, some 60 families turned out to protest the actions of a "power hungry" community council, which threatened to confiscate the graveside tribues left by families. The community council, reportedly planned to lawn the cemetery and feared that too many graveside tributes would breach health and safety rules.
Notable people from Rhosllanerchrugog include:
- John Tudor Davies - composer
- Meredith Edwards - actor
- Rosemarie Frankland - Miss World, 1961
- Isaac Daniel Hooson - poet
- Arwel Hughes - composer
- Stifyn Parri - actor, presenter, producer
- Caradog Roberts - composer
- Llŷr Williams - pianist
- John Glyn Williams OBE - conductor, organist
The village was once linked to the Great Western Railway by a branch line which ran to the village from nearby Wrexham via Rhostyllen and Legacy. The passenger service continued for a short period to halts at Brook Street, Pant and Wynn Hall although goods trains ran through to Pontcysyllte wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal via Plas Bennion and Acrefair. A second line also passed through nearby Ponciau, branching off from Legacy, with halts at Fennant Road, Aberderfyn and Ponkey Crossing, and joining the main line again at Wynnville, Ruabon. Since the closure of regular passenger service on all of these lines by the 1930s, the village has relied on road transport.
The village was also the end of the line of the Wrexham and District Electric Tramway Company. The tram service began operating in 1903 and originally ran from Penybryn in Wrexham to the New Inn in Johnstown but this was soon extended up Gutter Hill to Duke Street in Rhos. The company had its depot and staging area in nearby Johnstown. The trams were eventually and gradually replaced by buses owned by the same company which was renamed The Wrexham & District Transport Company.
Several local companies operated bus services in the village. The red and cream buses of Phillips & Son of Rhostyllen ran from Wrexham to Rhos via Johnstown and, at one time on to Tainant, from 1927 until it was taken over by Crosville in 1979. T. Williams & Sons ran a service from Rhos to Wrexham from the 1920s until 1986. The last surviving independent local company, Wright & Son, ran a service from Penycae to Wrexham via Rhos, and later via Ponciau also. When the bus industry was de-regulated in 1986 there was fierce competition between Wright's and the much larger Crosville. Wrights' ceased operations in 1993 leaving Crosville as the sole service provider in the area. Crosville itself became part of the Arriva group, who still operate a frequent bus service between Rhos and Wrexham town centre.
The nearby A483 road provides links to Liverpool and Manchester to the north and Birmingham, Swansea and Cardiff to the south.