Llandudno on the A548 A Gwrych Castle


ABERGELE 10½ miles E of Llandudno on the A548 A Gwrych Castle A Parish Church of St Michael D Cefn-Yr-Ogo F Abergele Train Disaster Along with Pensarn, its neighbour on the coast, Abergele is a resort, which, though more modest than such places as Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay, is justly popular with those looking for a quieter seaside holiday. Outside the town, on Tower Hill, is the mock-Norman Gwrych Castle, built in 1814 and formerly the seat of the Earl of Dundonald

. It is now a holiday centre and among its many attractions are medieval jousts and banquets. The Parish Church of St Michael is medieval in origin, though it was heavily restored in the mid 19th century. Outside the church is a Penitential Stone. This was where people had to do penance for their sins by standing and asking the congregation for mercy as they left the church. Also in the graveyard is the mass grave of those people killed in the Abergele Train Disaster, which took place on 20 August 1868 when the Irish mail train from London was hit by wagons that had rolled down an incline towards it. They were being shunted onto a side line at the time, and their brakes had not been applied. It would have been a simple collision had not two of the wagons contained 50 barrels of paraffin. 

On impact, the wagons exploded, causing the front carriages of the mail train to catch fire. Thirty three people were killed, making it, at that time, the worst rail disaster in British history. On 30 June 1969, two members of the Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Welsh Defence Movement), Alwyn Jones and George Taylor, were killed when a bomb they were planting on the line went off prematurely. The royal train was due to pass on its way to Caernarfon for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales,

 and they wanted to stop it as a protest (see also Caenarfon) Situated on higher ground behind the castle are the natural caverns of Cefn-Yr-Ogo whose summit commands magnificent views of the surrounding coastline

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