November 01, 2021 3 min read

Welsh Town with the Long Name

LLANFAIRPWLL GWYNGYLLGOGERYCH WYRNDROBWLL LLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH?

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.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLL?

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).

Welsh town with the long name - llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

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. 

What is the translation of the Welsh town with the long name?

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".

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products, all available in our yarn store and shop. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Lastly, craft courses on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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Last update 30th December 2021