The delightful village of Gresford boasts a pond (often referred to as a lake due to its size), a church dating back to 1492 that’s one of the Seven Wonders of Wales, and even its own ballad written in memory of the 266 men who lost their lives in a mining disaster.
Gresford is a community council which means it sets policies that look after the social, cultural, welfare and environmental needs of its residents but does not have the power of a local borough council. A team of councillors is voted for by the residents on a voluntary basis from the community. Gresford has three wards – or small geographical areas – in West Gresford, East Gresford and Marford and Hoseley.
The centrepiece of the village is the Grade-1 listed All Saints’ Church. And while the building is a magnificent work of architecture in its own right thanks to its sheer size, interior monuments and grove of Yew trees, its bells are listed in the Seven Wonders of Wales. They are said to have some of the purest peals ever heard when they ring, and can be heard celebrating services and religious ceremonies. Why a church of such scale and majesty was ever built in such a small village remains a mystery to this day.
Water also plays a big part in Gresford. There’s a very large pond on the high street, home to several species of breeding ducks including Mandarins. These brightly coloured birds are thought to be descendants of captive-bred ducks that have escaped and bred. These striking looking ducks are the only species not eaten by us, as their meat apparently tastes awful!
Ducks and other water-dwelling birds also visit the 10-acre Gresford Flash, on the outskirts of the village. Home to Great Crested Grebes, Greylag Geese and White Geese, Coots, Moorhens and an enormous variety of Gulls, the Flash also hosts boating events by Gresford Sailing Club, and is overlooked by the beautiful Pant-yr-Ochain restaurant.
But it’s for tragedy that perhaps Gresford is best known. On 22nd September 1934, 266-men tragically lost their lives after a violent explosion caused a fire at the village colliery. Other local miners joined the emergency services in the rescue efforts, and three of them were killed trying help the trapped men. There were only 6-survivors from the blast, with nearly everyone in the village loosing or knowing someone who’d lost a relative. A memorial was erected in 1982 after its closure in 1973, constructed from the wheel of the old pit-head winding gear. A ballad and hymn have subsequently been written as tributes to the deceased, with the former being recorded by Ewan MacColl.
Modern day Gresford’s rightly proud of its history and heritage. The mine may have closed but many brilliant businesses have taken its place. There’s corporate DVD and film-makers 483 Media Pro, specialist florists Greens N Things, and independent wine merchants Clear Black Wines to name a few, plus lots of restaurants and pubs for eating out.