Llanrwst (pronounced|ɬanˈrust, is a small
townand community on the A470 roadand the River Conwyin the county boroughof Conwy, Wales. It takes its name from the 5th centuryto 6th century Saint Grwst, and the original parish churchin Cae Llan was replaced by the 12th-centurychurch.
The growth of the town in the
13th centurywas considerably aided by an edict by Edward I, who built Conwy Castle, prohibiting any Welshman from trading within 10 miles of that town. Llanrwst, located some 13 miles from Conwy, was therefore strategically placed to benefit from this.
The town grew around
wool, and indeed for a long time the price of wool for the whole of Britain was set here. Llanrwst also became renowned for harpmanufacture, but today, lying as it does in Snowdonia, its main industry aside that of being a market townis tourism.
It is served by two
railway stations Llanrwst and North Llanrwst on the Conwy Valley Line(which once terminated here, before being extended to Betws-y-Coedin 1867 and Blaenau Ffestiniogin 1879). It was originally envisaged that the railway would pass closer to the river (on the site of today's Central Garage), and the one-time grand-looking "Victoria Hotel" was therefore built opposite the bridge in anticipation of this. Had the railway line been built on the west shore of the river Conwy, as originally planned (to serve the inland port of Trefriw, located across the river from Llanrwst), it is unlikely that Llanrwst would ever have achieved its present status. Indeed, at one time Llanrwst was the eighth largest town in Wales, its population being greater than that of Cardiff.
A major feature is the narrow three-arch stone bridge, Pont Fawr. It is said to have been designed by
Inigo Jonesand it was built in 1636 by Sir John Wynnof Gwydir Castle. The bridge connects the town with Gwydir, a manor housedating from 1492, the fifteenth-century courthouseknown as Tu Hwnt i'r Bontand also with the road from nearby Trefriw. Originally built to carry horses and carts, the bridge has stood up well to modern traffic, not to mention the regular floods.
Attractions in Llanrwst include the
almshouses, two seventeenth-centurychapels and the parish church, which holds the stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great.
In 1610 Sir John Wynn of Gwydir constructed the historic Llanrwst
Almshouses to house poor people of the parish. The buildings closed in 1976, but were restored in 1996 with the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, reopening as a museum of local history and a community focal point. The museum currently holds a collection of over a hundred items relating largely to the rural Conwy valley, and a number of items are associated with the renowned Llanrwst Bards of the late nineteenth century.
Gwydir Forestlies to the south west of the town, beyond the bridge.
On the hills above the town is the
Moel Maelogan wind farm. The electricity generated by these turbines is sent to the sub-station in the town.
Ysgol Dyffryn Conwyis a bilingual, secondary schoolwith approximately 790 pupils. According to the latest inspection report by Estyn, the school has a GCSEpass rate of 71% (based on 5 GCSEs, grades A-C). This means the school is in equal 24th place in Wales, or just outside the top 10% of secondary schools in Wales. It is also the second best performing secondary school in Conwy, behind Eirias High Schoolin Colwyn Bay.
History and "Independence"
In 1276 Llywelyn ap Gruffudd,
Prince of Wales, also known as Llywelyn the Lastseized the town, declaring it a "free borough" independent from the diocese of Llanelwy. Although the Archbishop went as far as to seek the help of the Popeto overturn this, his attempts failed, Llywelyn pleading a close family tie to the place as a reason for safeguarding it.
After the death of Llywelyn in 1282, every further attempt by the Archbishop of Llanelwy failed, the
Cistercian monks of Aberconwy Abbey(where Llywelyn the Great, Llywelyn's grandfather, had died in 1240) insisted that it be allowed to keep the independence which had belonged to it for 29 years, and ripped down any banners related to the Bishopric or to Edward I. A century later, the monasterywas moved eight miles upriver to Maenan, near Llanrwst. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/vocab/show.pl/cy-en/www.bbc.co.uk/cymru/gogleddorllewin/safle/llanrwst/pages/cymrulloegrllanrwst.shtml]
The town consequently has its own
coat of armsand flag, and this is the origin of the old local motto "Cymru, Lloegr a Llanrwst" (Wales, England and Llanrwst).
In 1947, Llanrwst town council made an unsuccessful submission to the
United Nationsfor a seat on the security council, stating that Llanrwst was an independent state within Wales. The chairman and secretary of the Llanrwst Historical Society have now obtained proof of this from the UN in New York. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northwest/sites/llanrwst/pages/history.shtml] (see also micronation).
The [http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/museum_gfx_en/AM21599.html Llanrwst Almshouses & Museum Trust] recently returned the above-mentioned Llanrwst flag to the community. Dating from the twelfth century, this emblem was central to the town's belief that it was independent of the United Kingdom.
The motto "Cymru, Lloegr a Llanrwst", a testament to this apparent independence, has now become synonymous with the song of that title, by local band
Llanrwst hosted the
National Eisteddfodin 1951 and 1989.
Llanrwst is also home to
Llanrwst United FCwho have two senior teams, the first team play in the Welsh Alliance League and the Reserve team play in the Clwyd League Division 2. The club also have a Junior section "Llanrwst United Juniors" who have 8 teams and play in the Aberconwy and Colwyn League
Llanrwst Rural District
* [http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/blowup1/11523 An aerial photo of the town as it was in 1994]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northwest/sites/llanrwst/pages/guide.shtml Llanrwst history]
* [http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=280150&y=361550&st=7&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf Street map of Llanrwst]
* [http://www.glanyborth.co.uk/ Accommodation in Llanrwst]
* [http://www.llanrwstutd.co.uk/ Llanrwst Utd Football Club]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=3488766 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Llanwrst and surrounding area]
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