Hawarden (the w is silent) is a town in the county of Flintshire, Wales which lies six miles to the east of Mold and six miles to the west of Chester which lies just across the border in England.
Known to the Welsh as Penarlag, from "pen" for ‘head’ and "gardd" for ‘garden’, or enclosure the origins of the town probably date back into the Dark Ages as the local church is said to have been founded by Saint Deiniol, a sixth century monk from Bangor-is-y-coed. This might explain why the parish church once became a peculiar that was exempt from the jurisdiction of any bishop. Peculiars were abolished in 1849 and the parish church now answers to the Bishop of St Asaph.
The settlement appears in the Domesday Book as Haordine (which is an English translation of the Welsh name) when it was held by Hugh of Avranches who built a castle here. The castle was later rebuilt in stone by Edward I but was largely destroyed by the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. It then came into the possession of the Glynne family who in 1752 built a mansion home in the castle grounds which they also called Hawarden Castle. New Hawarden Castle remained in the Glynne family until 1874 when the last baronet died and left it to his brother-in-law, William Gladstone, four times British Prime Minister. The remains of old Hawarden Castle survive in the grounds of the new, but neither is currently open to the public.
Gladstone was responsible for establishing St. Deiniol's Hostel for theological students and bequeathed the college his library, now known as St. Deiniol's Library, often regarded as being Britain's finest residential library. The town is also home to the Hawarden Country School founded in 1606 by a local resident named George Ledsham, who bequeathed £300 to establish a grammar school. The school's most famous old boy is the footballer Michael Owen, who despite being from the area, was born at Chester (the location of the most convenient maternity hospital) and so qualified to play for England.
Hawarden also has its own airport at nearby Broughton but the existence of Hawarden Airport has less to do with local demand and more to with the presence of the aersopace companies Airbus UK and Raytheon based near the aiport. The Airbus UK works football team known as "The Wingmakers" plays in the Welsh Premier League.
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