[Saturday - 10/29/94] People have been living in Llanfairpwll since the Neolithic period (4,000-2,000BC). Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy for most of that time, and until the present century most of the farmers were tenants of the great estates. In 1844, for example, 92% of the land in Llanfairpwll was owned by just 3 individuals.
For centuries, Llanfairpwll was a small rural settlement. In 1563, there were only 80 people living here, in 16 dwellings. By 1801, however, there were 385 inhabitants and 83 houses, most of them in the old village (Pentre Uchaf, Upper Village).
Major changes came in the last century as a result of the construction of Thomas Telford's new road in the 1820's and the arrival of the railway crossing at Britannia Bridge at the beginning of the 1850's, which led to the development of a new part of the village (Pentre Isaf, Lower Village) around the railway station. As a result, a number of craftsmen, traders and shopkeepers moved into the village, and Llanfairpwll became an important commercial centre, serving the surrounding agricultural areas of Llanedwen and Penmynydd.
This exciting period saw the establishment of a Post Office, two schools, half a dozen pubs, a brewery, a hotel for visitors, and (by 1889) 12 grocers in the village, which now had a population of 961. Around 1894 a livestock mart began to be held, and in the nearby harbour of Pwllfanogl a slate factory was opened.
The period 1850-1914 was therefore a golden age in the economic history of the village. Llanfairpwll was one of the few parishes in Anglesey (and indeed in rural Wales as a whole) which saw an increase in its population. However, the period after 1918 was a difficult one. When the soldiers came home from the Great War, emigration and unemployment were the great problems facing them. There was a drop in population, and no increase occurred again until 1951.
In the 1960's and 1970's, the "new" village began to appear. There was extensive building on various sites, and the population exploded from 1,172 in 1961 to 3,101 in 1991. Llanfairpwll still retains its village atmosphere, even though there are more people living here than in some towns in Wales.
Originally called Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, which means 'The Mary Church by the pool near the White Hazels' the village was renamed in the 19th century.
This was around the time when the railway was built between Chester and Holyhead at the beginning of the 1850's. A local committee was put together to try and encourage trains, travellers and 19th century tourists to stop at the village in order to help develop the village as a commercial and tourist centre. It is believed that the name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch was invented by a cobbler from Menai Bridge, little did he know that he had implemented one of the most successful tourist marketing plans of all time! Today the village is signposted as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and is known to locals as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair. P.G. We kept asking a fine young man outside or lunch cafe how to pronounce the complicated Welsh name. We mastered it, of course (NOT!) Now try and say the name for yourself!
First of all, CLICK HERE to hear how to say the name.
Now we will break the name up into sections and take at look at how each section is pronounced. The sections are listed below and are followed by a detailed description. Then we will take a look at exactly what the name means.
LLAN - FAIR - PWLL - GWYN - GYLL - GO - GER - YCH - WYRN - DROB - WLL - LLAN - TY - SILIO - GO - GO - GOCH
What does it mean?
To help you to understand how we get the translation above, here is a breakdown of the name and a translation of some Welsh words.
LLANFAIR - St. Mary's Church. "Llan" originally meant an "enclosure", now "church" and is usually followed by the name of a saint, in this case St. Mary. There are many places in Wales beginning with this, another example is Llangollen which means "church of St. Collen (hazel tree)".
PWLL - This is the Welsh for "hollow".
GWYN - This is the Welsh for "white".
GYLL - This comes from the Welsh for "hazel" which is "collen".
GER - This is the Welsh "near" or "by".
CHWYRN - This is the Welsh for "rapid".
DROBWLL - This comes from the word "trobwll" which is the Welsh for "whirlpool".
LLANTYSILIO - This comes from the words "llan" meaning "parish" and St. Tysilio.
OGO - This comes from the word "ogof" meaning "cave" in Welsh.
GOCH - "Coch" in Welsh means "red".
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