St Giles church in Wrexham

The history of Wrexham

Wrexham is a town in North Wales that has a rich and diverse history. Its origins can be traced back to the Roman era, where it was an important settlement called "Venta Silurum." In the medieval period, it became a market town and a center for the wool trade.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Wrexham became a hub for industry, with coal mining, ironworks, and breweries playing a significant role in the town's economy. Today, Wrexham is a vibrant and thriving town with a mix of traditional and modern architecture and a range of cultural and leisure activities.

Dive into the most important details of the history of the city of Wrexham below. 

20 significant events in the history of Wrexham

From the Roman Era up until today - these are the most important events that made Wrexham the city it is today: 

  1. Roman Era: Wrexham was founded as a Roman settlement called "Venta Silurum" around 48 AD.
  2. Medieval Period: Wrexham became a market town and center for the wool trade in the 12th and 13th centuries.
  3. 1400s: The town was burned down during the Glyndŵr Rising, a Welsh rebellion against English rule.
  4. 1600s: The town's fortunes began to rise again with the introduction of coal mining and ironworks.
  5. 1762: The world's first passenger railway service began operating between Wrexham and nearby villages.
  6. 1800s: The town became a hub for brewing, with several major breweries established.
  7. 1837: The Wrexham Advertiser, one of the UK's oldest newspapers, was founded.
  8. 1864: The Racecourse Ground, one of the oldest football stadiums in the world, was opened in Wrexham.
  9. 1895: Wrexham became the administrative center of the newly formed Denbighshire County Council.
  10. 1911: The Minera Lead Mines, one of the largest lead mines in Europe, closed.
  11. 1939-1945: During World War II, Wrexham played a significant role in manufacturing and military logistics.
  12. 1958: The Wrexham & Shropshire Railway, a passenger rail service between Wrexham and London, was established.
  13. 1960s: The town's traditional industries declined, leading to significant unemployment and economic hardship.
  14. 1970s: The town underwent significant redevelopment, with the construction of several new shopping centers and housing estates.
  15. 1978: Wrexham hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales, a celebration of Welsh culture and language.
  16. 1992: Wrexham gained city status as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebrations.
  17. 2000s: The town experienced significant growth in the service and technology sectors, with the establishment of several new businesses and facilities.
  18. 2011: Wrexham hosted the opening ceremony of the National Eisteddfod of Wales, attended by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
  19. 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the town, with lockdowns and restrictions affecting businesses and residents.
  20. 2021: The Wrexham AFC football club was purchased by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

10 historical buildings in Wrexham

Wrexham has a wealth of great historical buildings all worth a stop if you are taking a tour of the city. These are the ten most significant.

  1. St. Giles' Church: A Grade I listed parish church dating back to the 15th century, with notable features such as a medieval stone carving of the Green Man.
  2. Bersham Ironworks: A former ironworks complex that played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution, now a museum open to the public.
  3. Erddig Hall: A Grade I listed stately home and estate dating back to the 17th century, known for its elaborate gardens and architecture.
  4. Wrexham Guildhall: A Grade II* listed building built in the 1850s that houses the offices of Wrexham County Borough Council.
  5. Wynnstay Hall: A Grade II* listed country house that dates back to the early 18th century, now used as a conference and events center.
  6. Plas Coch: A Grade II* listed country house dating back to the 18th century, known for its distinctive red-brick façade and ornate interior.
  7. Holt Castle: A ruined castle dating back to the 13th century, located just outside of Wrexham in the village of Holt.
  8. Minera Lead Mines: A former lead mining complex that operated from the 1700s until 1911, now a popular heritage site.
  9. The Royal Oak: A historic pub located in the town center that dates back to the 16th century.
  10. The Wynnstay Arms Hotel: A Grade II listed hotel and former coaching inn that dates back to the early 18th century, known for its historic charm and character.

10 significant people born in Wrexham

Wrexham has also been the origin of a few well-known people over the years. Here are 10 of the most noticable: 

  1. Elihu Yale (1649–1721), Welsh-American philanthropist, businessman, and benefactor of Yale University.
  2. John Wilkinson (1728–1808), English industrialist and one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution.
  3. Dorothy Brooke (1883–1955), animal welfare activist and founder of the Brooke Hospital for Animals.
  4. Leslie Hore-Belisha (1893–1957), British politician and Secretary of State for War during World War II.
  5. Idris James (1911–1991), Welsh international footballer who played for Wrexham and Everton.
  6. Michael Sheen (b. 1969), Welsh actor known for his roles in films such as "Frost/Nixon" and "Twilight."
  7. Tim Vincent (b. 1972), Welsh television presenter and actor.
  8. Stephen Jones (b. 1977), Welsh international rugby union player and former captain of the Welsh national team.
  9. Lee Jones (b. 1979), Welsh professional footballer who has played for clubs such as Liverpool and Wrexham.
  10. Sam Ricketts (b. 1981), former Welsh international footballer and current manager of Shrewsbury Town F.C.