Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Llanfairpwll, Places, Towns

[Llanfairpwll Railway Station]

 
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a large village and community on the island of Anglesey in Wales, situated on the Menai Strait next to the Britannia Bridge and across the strait from Bangor. It has the longest place name in Europe and one of the longest place names in the world. The short form of the name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. It is commonly known as Llanfair PG or Llanfairpwll. The long name cannot be considered an authentic Welsh-language toponym. It was artificially contrived in the 1860s to bestow upon the station the honour of having the longest name of any railway station in Britain, an early example of a publicity stunt. The village’s web site credits the name to a cobbler from the local village of Menai Bridge. According to Sir John Morris-Jones the name was created by a local tailor, whose name he did not confide, letting the secret die with him.

At the 2001 census the population of the community was 3,040, 76% of whom speak Welsh fluently; the highest percentage of speakers is in the 10–14 age group, where 97.1% speak Welsh. It is the sixth largest settlement on the island by population.

Visitors stop at the railway station to be photographed next to the station sign, visit the nearby Visitors’ Centre, or have ‘passports’ stamped at a local shop. Another tourist attraction is the nearby Marquess of Anglesey’s Column, which at a height of 27 metres (89 ft) offers views over Anglesey and the Menai Strait. Designed by Thomas Harrison, the monument celebrates the heroism of Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey at the Battle of Waterloo.

A settlement has existed on the site of the village since the Neolithic era, with subsistence agriculture and fishing the most common occupations for much of its early history. The island of Anglesey was at that point reachable only by boat across the Menai Strait. The area was briefly invaded and captured by the Romans under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, temporarily abandoned in order to consolidate forces against Boudicca, then held until the end of Roman Britain.

With the withdrawal of the Roman forces, the area fell under the control of the early mediaeval Kingdom of Gwynedd. Under this feudal system, the residents worked small farms for the king. The rural nature of the settlement meant that the village had a population of only around 80. With the introduction of estates in the 16th century, much of the land was absorbed into the Earldom of Uxbridge, then under the Marquess of Anglesey; the inhabitants became tenant farmers on enclosures. The population of the village boomed, with a population of 385 in the 1801 census.

In 1826, Anglesey was connected to the rest of Wales by the construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge by Thomas Telford, and connected with London in 1850 with the building of the Britannia Bridge and the busy North Wales Coast railway line, which connected London to the ferry port of Holyhead. The village decentralised, splitting into Upper Village (Pentre Uchaf), which was made up mainly of the older houses and farms, and the new Lower Village (Pentre Isaf), built around the railway station and consisting mostly of shops and workshops. The village became a hub of commerce, as the railways and road network brought traders and customers from across north Wales. The first ever meeting of the Women’s Institute took place in Llanfairpwll in 1915 and the movement (which began in Canada) then spread through the rest of the British Isles.

 

All images & text reproduced under Creative Commons licence

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