Wrexham (Welsh: Wrecsam) is an industrial town in north-east Wales, close to the English border with Cheshire. Wrexham is the largest town in the whole of North Wales. The County Borough has a total population of 130,200 (based on 2004 mid-year population estimates).
Wrexham ranks as the third largest retail centre in Wales after Cardiff and Swansea.
Often described as the capital of North Wales, Wrexham is the natural hub for the surrounding area. It has retained its market town atmosphere, despite the fact that its pedestrianised shopping centre offers a mixture of national and local shops. The catchment area extends far beyond the boundaries of the Borough, attracting shoppers from the border areas of Cheshire and Shropshire and from Mid and North Wales.
The first mention of it comes in 1161 by which time there was a Norman motte and bailey castle at 'Wristlesham', however, being well to the east of Offa's Dyke, there has probably been a settlement there since Saxon times.
However Wrexham was no more than a village until the late 14th century when it became a small town. In the year 1391 Wrexham was given the right to hold a market and a fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year. People would come from all over Clwyd and Cheshire to buy and sell at a Wrexham fair.
In the 1990s evidence was discovered of a small Roman settlement at Wrexham. However the modern town grew up in the Middle Ages. Wrexham was first mentioned in writing in the 12th century. At the beginning of the 13th century the Lord of the Manor gave some of the land in the village to an abbey. After that Wrexham was split into 2 parts. One part was Wrexham Abbot (which lives on in the name Abbot Street). The other part was Wrexham Regis (of the king).
The population of Wrexham in the late Middle Ages is not known but it was probably only several hundred. Wrexham would seem tiny to us but settlements were very small in those days.
The parish church of St Giles was built in 1492. Its famous steeple was completed in 1506.
Elihu Yale gave his name to one of the world's most famous universities in the U.S. and Wrexham's own Yale College, he was born 05 Apr 1649 Massachusetts, USA (ancestors from Wrexham) Returned to Britain in 1699 Yale divided his time between Plas Grono and London, Elihu Yale died in London on July 8th 1721, and was buried in Saint Giles' Church, Wrexham.