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Cerrigydrudion (or Cerrig-y-drudion) is a village and its surrounding parish in Conwy county borough, north Wales. Previously it was part of the historic county of Denbighshire (pre 1974) and then Clwyd. The village formerly lay on the A5, but a short by-pass now takes the road along the south-western edge of the village.
Geography and history
Geographically the area is classed as moorland and less favourable grassland. It is on the outskirts of Mynydd Hiraethog. The oldest feature of the village is the parish church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. It is believed to have existed in 440 AD. It is also mentioned in the 'Norwich Taxation' of 1254. The village is the largest in the area known as Uwchaled which also includes Llangwm, Pentrefoelas, Pentre-llyn-cymer, Dinmael, Glasfryn, Cefn Brith, Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr and Cwm Penanner. Llangwm and Pentrefoelas are stand-alone parishes whilst the remainder fall within the parish of Cerrig-y-drudion. However, there are multiple Nonconformist chapels throughout the area of Uwchaled, located in many of the minor villages and hamlets.
The village was mentioned in the writings of several noted travellers including Edward Lhuyd and George Borrow. It attained a certain significance in the 18th century when Thomas Telford built the A5 turnpike Toll road between London and Holyhead. This would be the main route to Ireland. The road passed through the village. In the farmhouse of Ceirnioge Mawr, where the stagecoach and Mail coach horses were changed, there is a plaque marking the fact that Queen Victoria stopped there en route to Ireland.
The current population of the parish stands at 692 residents. The parish remains one of the heartlands of the Welsh language and in the last census in 2001, 80% stated they had some knowledge of the language and over 76% stated that they used spoken Welsh in day-to-day life.
Remnants of human habitation have been found in the area dating back to the Mesolithic era. Many of these were found in the area of Llyn Brenig, a manmade reservoir to the north of the village. The reservoir was built between 1973 and 1976 and was one of the major British engineering projects of that era. Today it is the most important tourist attraction in the area and provides competition class fly fishing facilities for many visitors.
One of the most famous sons of the parish is Jac Glan-y-Gors, who was a leading Radical at the end of the 18th century. His ideas were published in the polemical pamphlets Seren tan Gwmwl ("Star under a Cloud") and Toriad y Dydd ("Break of Day").
Economy and daily life
Apart from the church the village has two active Nonconformist chapels. These are Jerusalem, which is dedicated to the Methodist Calvinist group, and Moriah which follows the Congregational path. A third chapel, Seion, which was part of the Wesleyan tradition, was closed in 2002.
The village has two public houses, The White Lion and The Saracens. The White Lion was owned in the 1970s by the famous Welsh entertainer Ronnie Williams who formed half of the duo Ryan and Ronnie. It once received as a guest the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George when he was unable to return home due to heavy snowfall. Across the road from The White Lion is The Queens Head, which closed in the 1990s.
Nearby is the older Alwen Reservoir, built between 1909 and 1921 to provide drinking water for the English town of Birkenhead. At its conception the engineer who designed the dam, George Deacon, also planned Llyn Brenig, built over half a century later.
One of the most popular social gatherings in the village occurs on the first Saturday in September when the local Agricultural Show takes place. This attracts upwards of 3,000 people and is one of the most successful non-county shows in Wales.