The lordship of Ruthin was created in 1282 by Edward I, who granted it to Reginald de Grey. It stayed in the Grey family until 1507, when it was sold to Henry VII. It was granted to Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick, in 1564, but reverted to the crown by escheat in 1603. In 1634 it was bought by Sir Francis Crane and afterwards passed to the Myddleton family of Chirk in 1677. Subsequently it passed, through a co-heiress, to the (Cornwallis) West family.
The Lord of Ruthin continued to exercise his jurisdiction in debt until the 1820s: this lordship court, held before the steward, was popular in the eighteenth century because of the lowness of costs, but it failed after 1825 following the decision by King's Bench, in Williams v Bagot, against the court's practice of process by attachment.
The lordship court leet was convened at Ruthin twice a year, the Easter leet meeting in April or May and the Michaelmas leet in September or October.
Extent and ownership of the lordship of Ruthin :
The lordship consisted of Ruthin, town and liberties, and the commotes of Dolfeiling (usually rendered 'Dogvoilin' in eighteenth century documents), Llannerch, and Coleion (usually 'Collion' in WALE 15). Dolfeiling embraced the parishes of Llanbedr (Issa), Llandyrnog, Llangwyfan, Llangynhafal, Llanhychan and Llanrhudd, and townships of Aberchwiler [in Bodfari, Flintshire], Maesmynan, Penbedw [in Nannerch, Flintshire], Sbeddyd and Rhydonnen, Llannerch commote embraced the parishes of Llanfair Dyffryn-Clwyd and Llanelidan, including Faenol, Euarth, Garthgynan, Derwen Llannerch, Nantclwyd and Garthyneuadd townships. Coelion commote included the parishes of Derwen (Dyfanner and Ysgeifiog), Clocaenog, Efenechtid, Llanfwrog (including Bodangharad), and the townships of Llanynys, Bryncaredig, Penycoed, Cilygroeslwyd, Maesmancymro, Trefechan and chapelry of Gyffylliog (including Trefor and Treganol).