Llandeilo
St Teilo

St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo
Llandeilo is located in Carmarthenshire
Llandeilo
Llandeilo
Location within Carmarthenshire
Population1,795 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSN625225
Community
  • Llandeilo
Principal area
Ceremonial county
CountryWales
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLLANDEILO
Postcode districtSA19
Dialling code01558
PoliceDyfed-Powys
FireMid and West Wales
AmbulanceWelsh
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
UK
Wales
Carmarthenshire
51°53′06″N 3°59′31″W / 51.885°N 3.992°W / 51.885; -3.992Coordinates: 51°53′06″N 3°59′31″W / 51.885°N 3.992°W / 51.885; -3.992

Llandeilo (Welsh pronunciation: [ɬanˈdeilɔ]) is a town and community in Carmarthenshire, Wales, situated at the crossing of the River Towy by the A483 on a 19th-century stone bridge. Its population was 1,795 at the 2011 Census. It is adjacent to the westernmost point of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The town is served by Llandeilo railway station on the Heart of Wales Line.

In 2021, The Sunday Times called the town one of the top six places to live in Wales.[2] The newspaper praised the town as a ‘sophisticated shopping destination and a great showcase for local arts and crafts’.[3]

Early history

Roman soldiers were active in the area around Llandeilo around AD74, as evidenced by the foundations of two castra discovered on the grounds of the Dinefwr estate.[4][5] The fortifications measured 3.85 hectares and 1.54 hectares, respectively. Roman roads linked Llandeilo with Llandovery and Carmarthen. A small civil settlement developed outside the gates of the fort and may have continued in use as the embryonic town after the Romans left in around AD120.[6]

Llandeilo is named after one of the better-known Celtic saints of the 6th century, Saint Teilo. The Welsh word llan signified a monastery or a church. Saint Teilo, who was a contemporary of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, established a clas (a small monastic settlement) on the site of the present-day parish church.[7] There is reasonable evidence to suggest, however, that Saint Teilo was buried in Llandeilo. The parish church of Llandeilo Fawr ("Great Llandeilo") is dedicated to Saint Teilo, and until 1880 its churchyard encompassed his baptistery.

The early Christian settlement that developed around the Saint Teilo's Church prospered, and by the early 9th century it had attained considerable ecclesiastical status as the seat of a Bishop-Abbot. The Church of St Teilo soon became a 'mother church' to the surrounding district, acquiring an extensive estate, and possessing one of Wales' most beautiful and finely illustrated manuscripts – the Gospel Book of Saint Teilo. The discovery of fragments of two large Celtic crosses from this period provides further testimony to Llandeilo's importance and indeed prestige as an early ecclesiastical centre. Towards the end of the 9th century, the importance of Llandeilo as a spiritual centre had started to decline.[8]

Dinefwr Castle (anglicized as Dynevor) overlooks the River Tywi near the town. It lies on a ridge on the northern bank of the Tywi, with a steep drop of about 250 feet (76 m) to the river. Dinefwr was the chief seat of the kingdom of Deheubarth.[9]

Houses along Llandeilo bridge
Houses along Llandeilo bridge

The estate of Golden Grove lies near the town, and further away, the impressive Carreg Cennen Castle, another Welsh stronghold. The remains of Talley Abbey can be seen 6 miles (9.7 km) away to the north of the town. 10 miles (16 km) further north are the remains of the Roman Dolaucothi Gold Mines.

Medieval period

Market Street, Llandeilo
Market Street, Llandeilo

In the centuries that followed the Norman conquest of England, the Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of St David's both claimed Llandeilo for their respective diocese. By the early 12th century, Llandeilo came under the patronage of the Bishopric of St David's, an ecclesiastic borough that became responsible for the affairs of the town including its development as an important medieval market centre to an extensive agricultural hinterland. Until the middle of the 20th century, a fair called St. Teilo's Fair, which had been authorised initially by Edward I of England in 1291, was held annually in the churchyard. Some of the agricultural produce and other goods offered for sale are recorded to have been displayed on the tombstones.[10]

The town was put to the torch during Owain Glyndwr's march through the Tywi Valley in July 1403. Nearby Carreg Cennen Castle was besieged by Yorkist forces in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses and partially demolished.[11]

Early modern period to the present

At the Reformation, the town was at the centre of the parish known as Llandeilo Fawr. It was in the Diocese of St Davids and part of the archdeaconry of Carmarthen. In 1560, the bishop of St Davids recorded the population of Llandeilo Fawr as 620 households (perhaps amounting to 2,790 people), many of whom would have lived in Llandeilo itself.[12]

In the middle of the seventeenth century, Llandeilo was in the area of influence of the royalist general Sir Henry Vaughan. A royalist skirmish took place in the town in April 1648, defeating elements of the New Model Army.[13]

In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Llandeilo as having a population of 1,533. He observed that “the principal trade of the town is in corn and flour; the other industries include woollen cloth mills, timber and saw mills, and tanneries”.[14]

Llandeilo bridges

The railway bridge over the Tywi is currently (2011) under restoration.
The railway bridge over the Tywi is currently (2011) under restoration.

The road and railway bridges over the Tywi are of engineering interest. The single-arched Llandeilo Bridge was completed in 1848 and is Grade II* listed.[15] The railway bridge, opened in 1852, is a rare survival of an early lattice truss bridge.

In the Great Storm of 1987, the floods were so severe that the River Tywi (Towy) overwhelmed the railway bridge crossing the river near Llandeilo. Four people, one of them a boy, were drowned when the 05:27 train from Swansea to Shrewsbury plunged off the damaged Glanrhyd Bridge into the river.[16]

Governance

An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches south from the confines of Llandeilo with a total population of 2,971.[17] The community is bordered by the communities of: Manordeilo and Salem; Dyffryn Cennen; Llanfihangel Aberbythych; and Llangathen, all being in Carmarthenshire.

Sports and recreation

The local rugby union team is Llandeilo RFC, which was one of the founding clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union. The town is also home to Llandeilo Town AFC, an association football club currently playing in the Carmarthenshire League.

In 2008 Llandeilo hosted the World Sheepdog Trials.[18]

The town also hosted a celebrity football event that took place between 2015 and 2017 to help raise funds for Ty Hafan children's hospice. Celebrities who took part in the event included EastEnders actor Matt Lapinskas, Former Blackburn & Scotland defender Colin Hendry, Big Brother runner-up Glyn Wise, former Wales rugby player Mark Taylor, and Everton & Wales legend Neville Southall. The event helped raise over £4,500 for the hospice.[19]

Llandeilo Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1908/9. The club and course disappeared in the late 1960s.[20]

Gallery

Culture

Notable people

See Category:People from Llandeilo

Rachel Barrett was born in Llandeilo in 1874. A teacher by profession, she later became a prominent member of the women's suffrage movement and became editor of The Suffragette, the mouthpiece of the Women's Social and Political Union.[30]

Llandeilo relief road

The amount of traffic coming into the town has caused considerable debate. In 2020, town mayor, Owen James, said “As it stands it’s simply dangerous for people to come into Llandeilo. I know of people who don’t want to come into Llandeilo for that reason. Stand on the main road – you know exactly why we need a bypass.”[31] Work on a bypass road was scheduled to begin in 2019, directing traffic around the town. Commencement of construction work has been delayed.[32] A freeze on construction of new roads in Wales did not include the bypass, which the Welsh Government has estimated to cost £50m.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ Times, The Sunday. "Why Llandeilo and the Tywi valley, Carmarthenshire, is one of the best places to live in 2021". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  3. ^ Gregory, Rhys (26 March 2021). "Six Welsh locations named in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Llandeilo History - Roman Fort". llandeilo.org. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  5. ^ "Dyfed Archaeology" (PDF). Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  6. ^ "LLANDEILO FAWR – Dyfed Archaeological Trust". Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  7. ^ "St Teilo's Church (Priory Church)". Coflein Database Record. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  8. ^ "LLANDEILO FAWR – Dyfed Archaeological Trust". Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  9. ^ "LLANDEILO FAWR – Dyfed Archaeological Trust". Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  10. ^ "Llandeilo History - The Rise and Fall of a Saint's Community". www.llandeilo.org. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Llandeilo History - The Burning of Llandeilo". www.llandeilo.org. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Journal of Welsh religious history | Vol. 5 | 1997 | Welsh Journals - The National Library of Wales". journals.library.wales. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  13. ^ "SIR HENRY VAUGHAN of Derwydd: A Welsh Colonel of the English Civil War". www.a40infobahn.co.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  14. ^ "History of Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire". A vision of Britain. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Llandeilo Bridge (including causeways) (partly in Dyffryn Cennen community), Llandeilo". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Glanrhyd disaster: Memories of train tragedy 30 years on". BBC News. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Past World Trials - World Sheep Dog Trials". www.worldsheepdogtrials.org. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  19. ^ "GALLERY: Celebrities take on locals in Llandeilo charity match". Carmarthen Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  20. ^ “Llandeilo Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  21. ^ "Past locations | National Eisteddfod". eisteddfod.wales. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  22. ^ "The Hurns Beer Company - Tomos Watkin Beer & Brewery". Tomos Watkin. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Llandilo". Penrith City Local History. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  24. ^ "Cernydd Carmel - Special Areas of Conservation". sac.jncc.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  25. ^ "Llandeilo". Llandeilo Twinning. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Llandeilo feels the literary buzz with fifth Literature Festival". South Wales Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  27. ^ "The Llandeilo Festival of Music [Overview]". The Llandeilo Festival of Music 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  28. ^ "About – Llandeilo Festival of Senses". Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  29. ^ "These towns have been named as the best places to live in Wales". Wales Online.
  30. ^ Morrell, Caroline. "Rachel Barrett". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/63825. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  31. ^ "'Excellent news' after Welsh Government says Llandeilo bypass not included in new road freeze". Nation.Cymru. 14 July 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  32. ^ "Llandeilo bypass delayed until 2025 by Welsh Government". BBC News. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  33. ^ Williams, Nino (28 June 2021). "Welsh Government say Llandeilo bypass can go ahead". WalesOnline. Retrieved 21 May 2022.