The Back Knight. Photo copyright Karen-Linley.

Gwrych Castle Jousting: Crossed Lances Jousting and Banqueting photos by former cast member Karen Linley

Here’s a set six of beautiful images from Karen Linley, from her own photographic archive. Here are some of the members of the Gwrych Castle Jousting company: the Crossed Lances of Abergele’s Gwrych Castle in  the late 1970s. Beneath the photos is an essay by Karen’s daughter about her mother’s involvement in the Crossed Lances.

Gwrych Castle Jousting: the dreaded Black Knight jouster of Gwrych Castle and his sidekick. Copyright Karen Linley.
Gwrych Castle Jousting: the dreaded Black Knight jouster of Gwrych Castle and his assistant. Copyright Karen Linley.
The Back Knight. Photo copyright Karen-Linley.
The Black Knight. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Jousters of Gwrych Castle Abergele. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Jousters of Gwrych Castle Abergele. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Purple Knight of Abergele Gwrych Castle's Crossed Lances jousters. Photo copyright Karen Linley.
The Purple Knight of Abergele Gwrych Castle’s Crossed Lances jousters. Photo copyright Karen Linley.


Karen’s daughter Sara writes:

Casting its shadow over the lands of Abergele is the Castle of Gwrych. It is the place where the Crossed Lances dwell, medieval entertainers who sword fight, joust, perform, sing and dance. They are the knights, damsels and people of the court.

But it is not the time of old it is the 1970s. The ordinary life of the 1970s, like going to the local pub, wearing lycra and denims and dancing to Saturday Night Fever, is balanced with the extraordinary, because these people live in a castle and for part of their days the group become medieval people in manner and dress. They spend their time living in two very different worlds.

Ghostly whispers and sightings in the castle, lead the group to call upon the spirits with an Ouija board to attempt to communicate with the ghosts of Gwrych. The message they receive forewarns them that they dwell near the ‘bloodiest battlefield of the dead,’ and that they ‘must leave or blood mark the hills once more.’ The group discover that the battlefield lies west of the castle and is known as ‘The Field of Corpses.’ When the warning is ignored, mysterious occurrences take place and a death amongst the Crossed Lances follows swiftly.

Did someone push the glass? Did someone murder the victim? Is the suspect of flesh and blood or was the death down to the ghostly beings that are said to wonder the grounds of Gwrych? Determined to find out Karina searches for the truth, but can she discover the reality of the situation before it is too late…or will she become the next target.


Karen’s daughter Sara goes on to say:

The reason for my interest in Gwrych Castle is that my mother was actually a member of the Crossed Lances, she was a damsel, horse groom, a cook, and she and the others all lived in and took care of the castle. The collaboration of the old medieval time and the modern time of the 1970s, the castle’s past and their present is what I feel can make a murder mystery story set there work well.

The Crossed Lances cast Gwrych Castle c1979. Castell Gwrych, Abergele. Copyright Karen Linley.
The Crossed Lances cast Gwrych Castle c1979. Castell Gwrych, Abergele. Copyright Karen Linley.

If you’d like to support the restoration of Gwrych Castle today by the Gwrych Preservation Trust, here’s a link to just one of the fundraising activities going on.

Boxer Randolph Turpin at Gwrych Castle Abergele 1950s

Boxer Randolph Turpin lived at Gwrych Castle Abergele in the early 1950s whilst preparing for his  fight against Sugar Ray Robinson.

Turpin met his second wife Gwyneth (née Price, 1925-1992) the daughter of a Welsh farmer whilst training for the Robinson fight at Gwrych Castle. They married in 1953 and had four daughters, Gwyneth, Annette, Charmaine and Carmen.

Randolph Turpin in 1951
Randolph Turpin in 1951

Here’s a British Movietone 30″ video clip of his triumphant return to north Wales after beating Sugar Ray :

He was born in Leamington in 1928 to a black Guyanan father and white English mother at a time when there were almost no people of mixed race in the country.

When European champion, Turpin won the world title after beating the legendary Robinson, widely regarded as pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in history, on a 15-round decision at Earls Court in July 10, 1951.

Randolph Turpin famously trained at Gwyrch Castle in Abergele in the summer of 1951 when preparing for his contests against the seemingly invincible Sugar Ray Robinson. The training sessions were always attended by hundreds of fans and tourists.

He became an instant celebrity and, for a brief period, spent each day being mobbed by fans at his Abergele training base at Gwrych Castle.

Laater in his career, he bought a pub on the summit of the Great Orme , Llandudno, which today keeps some artefacts from his boxing career. He was the registered licensee of that pub between 1952 – 1961.

According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn’t deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. After being declared bankrupt , Turpin shot himself dead in May 1966.

It was a tragic end for a man linked with Abergele who did so much for British sport, for British Black History, and whose achievements as a boxer will never be forgotten.

Despite his life’s tragic ending, one-time Abergele resident Turpin had briefly been one of the most famous men in Britain and an inspiration for many ethnic minorities.

Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.

Gun and dogs in photo of staff of Gwrych Castle, Abergele, long ago

Here’s a photo of the staff of Gwrych Castle Gate, Abergele, in the building’s very early days from the Dennis Parr Collection. Date unknown.

It’s great that the gamekeeper holds both a gun and a gundog or two. It’s quite a warm pose for the time, with people putting their arms around each other’s shoulders. The top hat on the back row  is a standout too.

Remembering the people of Abergele who took part in WWI

On 11 November 1918, ‘the war to end all wars’ came to an end. Abergele is remembering this on Remembrance Sunday. The poppies and cutout soldiers as you drive into the town have been a thoughtful reminder for the past weeks. This website has published many articles about WWI (keep clicking the Older Posts link at the bottom to see all the biographies and articles)

Photo from @abergelecouncil Twitter account
Photo from @abergelecouncil Twitter account

We thought we’d look back at the Cofia Abergele Remembers project in which worked with local historian Andrew Hesketh and Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan learners to list and record the names in audio of the people of Abergele and surrounds who participated in WWI. Click the triangle at the top-lift of this Soundcloud widget to hear the audio recording.



Here’s a list of students who made the recordings:
Jordan Harwood
Chloe Merrison
Anna Humphreys
Teigan Thompson
Scott Carney
Alice Naylor
Chantalle Cox
Eleanor Lloyd
Iwan Coghlan
Cian Hanna
Mike White
Ben Stone
Sophie Peake
Laurie Wilson
Lara Wagstaff
Abbey Jacklin
Jamie Edwards


We’re grateful to Andrew Hesketh and the Emrys students for this touching tribute. We join with the whole nation, 100 years after its end,  in remembering those who participated and those who died in the First World War.

Father and baby dragged under the wild waters of the River Gele in the 1971 Abergele Floods

Lee Rowland Williams has been in touch with Abergele Post to tell his dramatic story as an 18-month-old baby when he and his father, the landlord (from 1967-72) of the Pen y Bont pub  in Abergele nearly drowned during the Abergele Floods of 1971. Here’s his story in his own words:

“My parents Sheela and Hugh Williams , ran the Pen-y-Bont pub on Market Street,
and the only pub that was built over the River Gele and during the flood , a car became stuck under the bridge , therefore causing massive build up of powerful water to engulf our pub.
“My parents decided enough was way too much and with myself (an 18- month-old baby)  my mum and dad and Brian left the pub. Within leaving the speed at which the river was so forceful, my father had me in his arms, but a broken log hit him waist high, and he was knocked underwater with me , into the black water, he couldn’t see me.
“My mum’s heart stopped for what seemed like years. Our friend Brian reacted so fast and, without a second thought, dived under the water and literally grabbed me and raised me up. It sounds dramatic, but it truly was. I went to hospital, but mum tells me that day she saw her only son and husband almost too close to loss, that it’s truly a miracle and also it’s such a huge part of that flood.

“I, Lee Rowland Williams can’t find any archive story of this major story of the history of Abergele. Please help if you can.”

So now Lee’s story is documented on this site. Thanks to him for sharing it.

Looking north along the River Gele towards the Pen y Bont pub during the 1971 Abergele Floods. Photo copyright John Emrys Williams
Looking north along the River Gele towards the Pen y Bont pub during the 1971 Abergele Floods. Photo copyright John Emrys Williams


Ben Hingeley, the racing driver from Abergele

Ben Hingeley, the racing driver from Abergele, was honoured recently by The Welsh Racing Drivers Association who awarded him the 2017 Welsh Young Driver of the Year.

Rob Allender shares this story with us, and says:

“Ben who is only 20, finished 3rd in the 2017 British Formula 3 Championship. WRDA spokesman Robert Allender said ‘Ben has had a fabulous year, and won 4 races which was more than anybody else, except the champion Enaam Ahmed. However, more than that, although he has matured into a tough racer, who is no soft touch, but he still remains a warm and friendly person, which is great credit to his parents Bonner and Julie Hingeley.

“While considering his next step, Ben will be test a variety of powerful cars over the next couple of weeks and this should give some useful pointers as to Ben’s 2018 plans.”

Hen lun o flaenoriaid Capel Mynydd Seion

Gyda’r diweddar Parchedig Isaac Jones yn y canol, dyma lun o gasgliad Dennis Parr o rai o flaenoriaid ac aelodau hun Capel Mynydd Seion. Debyg mai 1970au i 1980au tynnwyd y llun. Mae’r captiwn yn nodi enway Haydn Thomas, Mr Williams a Mr Hughes a dwi’n adnabod John Griff, Frank a Gwyn y trydanwr. Defnyddiwch y Comments i nodi eraill os gwelwch yn dda.

Here’s a Dennis Parr Collection photo of senior members of Mynydd Seion Chapel, Chapel Street, Abergele.

Abergele scientist John Hepworth awarded 50 year medal

Abergele resident and biomedical scientist John Hepworth has been awarded  with a prestigious 50 year medal  by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Erin Johnson, Communications Officer with the Institute of Biomedical Science shared this story with us:

“John joined the Institute in 1967, and became a Fellow in 1974. His career began by working in the Public Health Laboratory in Wakefield. He continued in the microbiology department at the Algernon Firth Institute at Leeds University, specialising in bacteriology. He gained a Senior MLSO (Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer) post in microbiology at Wythenshaw Hospital in Manchester and was promoted to Chief MLSO in 1984. He earned a reputation as an expert in microbiology, with his work being published in journals such as The Lancet and Thorax.

“For the Institute, John joined the Manchester branch of the IBMS in 1981 and served as branch secretary from 1985-1993. He was the branch representative to the North Region in 1997-1998, and was a founding member of the IBMS North West region in 1994. He also acted as a regional representative to IBMS Council until his retirement in 2002. He was awarded Life membership in 2013.

“Outside the Institute, John is a skilled photographer and regularly wins prizes for his photos of the wild animals at Chester Zoo. He is also known by colleagues for his choice of flamboyant ties.

“In the UK alone, pathologists are involved in over 70% of diagnoses in the NHS. Biomedical scientists like John diagnose disease and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments through the analysis of fluids and tissue samples, handling over 150 million samples every year.

IBMS President Ian Sturdgess said, “Over the course of nearly 50 years of membership, John has been a wonderful supporter of the Institute and the profession. John’s hard work and professionalism have shown him to be an invaluable asset to the IBMS, and it gives me great pleasure to present John with the IBMS 50 Year medal.”

IBMS President Ian Sturdgess (left) and John Hepworth of Abergle (right)
IBMS President Ian Sturdgess (left) and John Hepworth of Abergele (right)