Pen-y-ffordd and Penymynydd barely existed until 200 years ago and the coming of the industrial revolution. Prior to that you would have passed through on the road to Mold or Corwen. Much of Lower Mountain Road is an old Roman Road.
The woods beyond St John's Church are believed to have been the location of a Mediaeval battle between Henry III and the son of Owain Glyndwr. Plas Teg was visited by Royalist troops on their way to Chester in the Civil War. Wats Dyke passes through the village close to the train station and is thought to denote the border between England and Wales in the dark ages. The longer Offas Dyke passes the other side of Hope Mountain - though Wats Dyke and Offas Dyke were often confused, which is why we have a farm, house and street named after Offas Dyke in the village. Pen-y-ffordd/Penymynydd lie on the English side of both of these ancient earthworks.
Penymynydd was a small settlement, similar in size to Dobshill today, until the 1960s. Penymynydd was split with some houses, shops and pubs on the ‘top road’ (Penymynydd Road) and some on the bottom road (Hawarden Road). Pen-y-ffordd and Rhos-y-brwyner were not much larger, with houses dotted along the roads.
There have been two major road changes in the last 150 years:
Originally the main road was Chester Road and it ran through the village past the original school and out onto Corwen Road / Rhos Road. The first change was the addition of the turnpike, which linked Hawarden to Hope - today it is the main road through the village - Hawarden Road / Vounog Hill / Wrexham Road. The second was the 1986 opening of the Pen-y-ffordd by-pass.
The original change of the village from fields and farms to housing and industry came with the industrial revolution. Coal and other minerals are all around us and coal mines were extracted around Bannel lane. The clay in the ground was particularly suited to brickworks. While finer pottery was made in Buckley, more course bricks were produced in Pen-y-ordd - there were brickworks on a site beyond the Millstone play area and at the top of Chester Road - close to Mold Road. Clay was quarried in the woods and fields around the north of the village. Workers moved into the area for work. Many Buckley workers came from the Potteries because of their skills. Housing was built to accommodate them.
Terrace lane originally had a row of terraced houses for railway workers, hence its name - the houses had gone before 1899.
There were originally two train lines in the village. The Borderlands line we still enjoy today and previously the Chester - Mold line. That was lost to us in 1962, not as part of Beecham's cuts, but because the new diesel locomotives couldn't get up the hill from Higher Kinnerton! As a matter of interest, the Queen slept in the Royal train in the sidings at Pen-y-ordd station in the 1970's when she visited Wrexham and opened Theatre Clwyd in Mold.
There were all the shops and services needed to support the growing community.
There was the White Lion pub, the Red Lion, the Horse & Jockey, the Millstone and the Royal Oak. There was a smithy, a grocers, a mechanics etc.
During the World War II there was a hidden aircraft factory in Dobshill.
Bombs were discarded in the local fields from German bombers departing from raids on Liverpool. Evacuees arrived from the cities, mainly Liverpool,and some still live in the village today. More workers lived in the village and commuted to work at the huge Shotton Steelworks (today TATA) or the aircraft factory in Broughton - what was Vickers, later Hawker Siddeley, BAe and now Airbus. There they built the Wellington Bomber, the Chipmunk, Hawker business jets and later wings for Airbus. There was a defence squadron of Spitfire fighters stationed there during the war and the whole site and surrounding fields were used to store RAF aircraft no longer needed at the end of hostilities.
The village lost many during WW1 and 2 and the Institute was built in 1922 to honour their loss and contains plaques in their memory.
There were some larger houses in the village too, the most notable was 'The Towers' on Rhos Road, the owners of which were the first owners of a car in the village. Today a housing development.
Some of the farms around the village have been here for centuries and there are notable medieval strip fields o Old Hope Road.
Rapid housing development during the 1960's and 70's brought Penymynydd to Pen-y-ffordd, joining the two settlements forever. In times past they were very dierent places to live. Pen-y-ordd was in the Hope diocese and the land was owned by Lord Derby (from Knowsley - of horse racing fame) - he never visited. Hope church was paid for by Margaret Montford, the mother of Henry VII. Penymynydd was in the Hawarden diocese on land owned by the Glynnes (originally from Caernarfon but then Hawarden Castle), their land passed to Gladstone - one of Queen Victoria's prime ministers - who paid for St John's church and school to be built in 1842.
When the fields were first divided in the late 1700s it was very controversial and the people of Pen-y-ordd were among those rioting and broke down the fences. In Penymynydd, where the landowner was local, there was no trouble at all. Penymynydd always been connected with Hawarden and
Pen-y-ffordd connected to Hope. That continues today in a number of ways including with a split in telephone numbers - the Pen-y-ordd end of the village having Wrexham numbers (01978) and the Penymynydd end having Chester numbers (01244).
There has always been a great community spirit with annual picnics and dances in the past. Today there is the popular annual Carnival (originally called the Fete) which has been held in June every year since 1922, apart from 1939-45. The bonfire is held annually and attracts people from outsidethe community. There are annual Carol concerts at the village institute and at the local churches.