June 19, 2019 4 min read
Llanfairpwllgwyngyll is a village with a long place name in Wales and is situated on Anglesey in north Wales. Written in full, it has 58 characters but in Welsh it has 51 letters (for example, LL is one letter in Welsh but two characters). It is near to the Britannia Bridge which connects mainland Wales to Anglesey. It is often shorted in speech and in writing to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair PG.
It currently has a population of over 3,000 and is predominately a Welsh speaking part of Wales. It is situated near to the bridge, Pont Britannia (Britannia Bridge) which connects mainland Wales to the island of Anglesey over the Menai Strait. Possibly the more famous bridge connecting Wales to Anglesey is the Thomas Telfod suspension bridge.
It is often shorted in speech and in writing (for obvious reasons!) to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair PG. However, in the town itself, the name is often shown in full at, for example the train station and other commercial buildings.
For centuries, Llanfairpwll was a small rural settlement on Ynys Mon. In the sixteenth century there were about 50 inhabitants. By the early nineteenth century, it had grown to about 400 inhabitants in what was becoming to be known as the old town Pentre Uchaf, or Upper Village and the village name became either Llanfairpwll gwyngyllgogerych wyrndrobwll llantysiliogogogoch-isaf (lower town) or
Llanfairpwll gwyngyllgogerych wyrndrobwll llantysiliogogogoch-uchaf (upper town).
The coming of the twentieth century brought major changes following the construction of Thomas Telford's new road in the 1820s and then the arrival of the railway crossing at Britannia Bridge at the beginning of the 1850s. This led to the development of a new part of the village, which became to be be knwon as Pentre Isaf or Lower Village around the railway station.
It is believed that originally, the village was called Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. In the second half of the nineteenth century, at the beginning of the 1850’s when a railway was being built between Chester and Holyhead, the village was renamed.
A group of enterprising local people encouraged the railway builders to build a station at Llanfairpwll to encourage travellers to sop at the village to develop commercial trade. It is believed that the name Llanfairpwll was invented around this time by a cobbler from Menai Bridge who had the idea of combining the name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll with that of neighbouring Llandysiliogogoch to create the longest name in the world. It is very unlikely that he had any idea as to to how successful this name change would be as a tourist marketing plan it would be! Today the town is signposted as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and is known locally as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair. PG.
It means, "Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave".
The long form of the name, with 58 characters has 51 letters in the Welsh language. This because the letters ll and ch are one letter in the Welsh language. It is certainly the longest place name in the UK and Europe.
There is a place with a long place name in the north island of New Zealand called, Taumata Hill (see image below for full name), which currently is the longest known place name in the world. The English translation of this name is "the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'landeater’, played his flute to his loved one." Most people in New Zealand simply call it Taumata Hill.
So, whether Llanfairpwll or maybe Taumata Hill is the longest place name in the world, they are both in the Guinness World Records!
Wherever is the longest place name in the world, in the modern world, the undisputed longest domain name in the world is:
llanfairpwll gwyngyllgogerych wyrndrobwll llantysiliogogogochuchaf.org.uk (all one word). This domain name has 70 characters (63 characters plus the .org.uk). The addition to the name of "uchaf" to Llanfairpwyllgwyngyll is the Welsh for "upper” and refers to the upper (old) part of the village. It can also be found at the domain name, www.longestintheworld.com.
Just outside Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, is one of the three surviving toll house on the A5 road between Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and Holyhead. The last toll charged gere was in 1895 and the road was the last public toll road in Britain, until a congestion charge was introduced for traffic entering Durham in 2002.
Last update 30th December 2021
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