Llandegla or Llandegla-yn-Iâl is a village in the county of Denbighshire, Wales.
Llandegla is located 253m above sea level to the north-west of the Llandegla Forest, just off the A525 road between Ruthin and Wrexham.
The village was located on one of the main drovers' roads from the north-west coast of Wales to the markets of England, and the cattle trade was central to the economy of Llandegla.
In bygone days there were several inns in the village to cater for the drovers and the cattle-dealers.
George Borrow, in his travelogue Wild Wales, recorded meeting a hog-dealer on the road above Eglwyseg taking a large herd of pigs across the mountain from "Llandeglo" towards Wrexham.
As the droving trade tailed off in the later 19th century, many of Llandegla's residents worked in quarrying, and the 21st century has brought employment in the form of tourism – notably the Mountain Bike Centre in the Llandegla Forest.
The Welsh version of the village name - Llandegla-yn-Iâl – conceals its association with the benefactor of one of the United States most famous universities – Yale.
Elihu Yale was born in Chester and his ancestry can be traced back to the family estate at Plas yn Iâl (Yale) near the village of Llandegla. His grave can be found in the churchyard of Saint Giles' Church Wrexham (below the church tower).
Myths and Legends
The Reverend Elias Owen, a noted folklorist, recorded a tale about a "wicked Ghost" which haunted the rectory at Llandegla, which was eventually exorcised by a man named Griffiths from Graianrhyd.
Night after night, the Spirit appeared in various forms, until at last it came to the wise man in the form of a fly, which Griffiths immediately captured and placed in a small box.
He buried the box under a large stone in the River Alyn close to Llandegla's bridge, and there the Spirit is to remain until a certain tree, which grows by the bridge, reaches the height of the parapet. When this takes place, the Spirit shall have power to regain his liberty. To prevent this tree from growing, the school children, even to this day, nip the upper branches and thus limit its upward growth.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
There is an abundance of walking opportunities in Llandegla, indeed one of Wales' National Trails, the Offa's Dyke Path passes through the village en-route from Chepstow in the south to Prestatyn in the north.
A myriad of trails and rights of way criss-cross the hillsides and the Clwydian Way, another of Wales' long distance walks, cuts through the village.
Those who prefer two wheels to walking are also well catered for in Llandegla, with the Coed Llandegla Forest Mountain Bike Centre located on the edge of the village in the Llandegla Forest.
Coed Llandegla Forest provides a range of mountain bike routes suitable for cyclists of all abilities and fitness levels, ranging from easy 3 mile trails to the more challenging 13 mile trails.
The Church of Saint Tecla lies at the northern end of Llandegla village.
St Tecla's church is likely to have been an early-mediaeval foundation, and by the 13th Century was recorded as a chapelry of Valle Crucis Abbey. The fabric of the building was, however, heavily rebuilt in 1866, probably to a design by John Gibson.
The church retains a medieval font, a plank chest and, most remarkably, a late medieval chandelier – said to come from Vale Crucis Abbey at Llangollen.
The Church still plays a big part in the life of the community.
St Tecla's Well is situated downhill from Llandegla. A signpost indicates the way across a field on the left hand side.
Pennant recorded an odd tradition connected with St Tecla's Well. Sufferers of what were known as Clwyf Tecla, "St Tecla's disease", performed a complex ritual which included bathing in the well and making an offering of four pence to the well. Then walking round it three times carrying a chicken whilst reciting the Lord's Prayer.
Having walked around the church three times, again reciting the Lord's Prayer the sufferer eventually enters the church and slept under the church altar (with the fowl) using a Bible as a pillow (the altar replacing a cromlech). In the morning the sufferer would make an offering to the church of sixpence and leave. If the bird died then the cure was deemed effective having been transferred to the fowl overnight. Though condemned by the church authorities, these rites were allegedly often successful, continuing until at least 1813.