An Ancient Town
Records of Denbigh date back to the 11th Century where it was described as a small border town. Denbigh (or ‘Denbych’ in Welsh meaning ‘Little fortress’) grew steadily throughout the next 200 years to become a royal residence for Welsh Princes and a focal point of Welsh power in North Wales.
In 1282 , Edward I conquered the town and fell under English rule. From that time, the medieval town developed as the building of the castle was completed and was protected by the castle town walls.
Town on the Border
Denbigh never really knew peace over the next few centuries, being fiercely contested between the Welsh and English. In 1563 Queen Elizabeth appointed Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, lordship of Denbigh and control of the castle becoming in the process governor-general of North Wales. The next major event was 1643 when Denbigh became a refuge for a Royalist garrison during the Civil War. This ceased with the surrender in 1646 after which the castle and town walls were allowed to fall into ruin.
Throughout these periods the people of Denbigh had long since abandoned their inconvenient fortress-borough and moved to reside outside the town walls. This was now amongst the largest and richest towns in Elizabethan Wales, a powerhouse of Renaissance culture and enterprise, and a vibrant, prosperous market town.