Whilst Old Colwyn, with its strong local community, began its rapid growth in the late 19th century its origins go back much further.
The “vill” or township of “Coloyne” is mentioned in a survey commanded by Edward III in 1334. However 1685 records show a total of only 20 men, women and children in “Colwun”, and as late as 1772 the recorded population was a mere 29. The first Census, in 1801, showed the whole of Colwyn and Eirias to be only 150, comprising 12 farms and 23 cottages. Also recorded in the Census were a mill and two inns, Colwyn Fawr (Beach Road) and Morfa Inn on the beach (Station Road). The population grew rapidly in the last 150 years and in 2011 stood at 8,113.
“Old” Colwyn acquired its designation in the 19th century to differentiate it from the new resort being developed to its west, termed for a brief while “New” Colwyn (now Colwyn Bay).
Communication routes across North Wales have played a key role in the village’s development. Seventeenth century documents refer to a road passing through the area (Old Highway). The first Mold to Conwy mail coach passed through Colwyn in 1785, and Abergele Road, turnpiked in 1812, subsequently became an important mail coach road. Following the construction of Colwyn Bridge in 1815 a village began to appear, along with a series of coaching inns.