Brick houses and slate roofs lend Llangollen unity
Llangollen shown within Denbighshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Clwyd South|
|Welsh Assembly||Clwyd South|
Llangollen (Welsh pronunciation: [ɬaŋˈɡɔɬɛn]) is a small town and community in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, situated on the River Dee and on the edge of the Berwyn mountains. It has a population of 3,412.
Llangollen takes its name from Saint Collen (from the Welsh llan meaning 'a religious settlement') and Collen, a 6th-century monk who founded a church beside the river. St Collen is said to have arrived in Llangollen by coracle. As there are no other churches in Wales dedicated to St Collen, it is possible that he may have connections in Colan, in Cornwall and Langolen in Brittany.
Situated above the town to the north is Castell Dinas Bran, the stronghold of the Princes of Powys. Beyond the castle is the limestone escarpment known as the Eglwyseg Rocks. The outcrop continues north to World's End in Wrexham. The area nearest the castle is the Panorama Walk, and a monument to poet I.D. Hooson from the village of Rhosllannerchrugog can be found there.
The bridge at Llangollen was built in about 1345 by John Trevor, of Trevor Hall, who became Bishop of St Asaph. It was extended to cross the railway in the 1860s and widened in the early 1960s. The upstream side has new masonry which blends in with the older structure.
The ancient parish of Llangollen was divided into three treanau ("trean" being the Welsh for "third"): Llangollen Traean, Trefor Traean, and Glyn Traean.
- Llangollen Traean contained the townships of Bachau, Cysylltau, Llangollen Abad, Llangollen Fawr, Llangollen Fechan, Feifod, Pengwern and Rhisgog.
- Trefor Traean contained the townships of Cilmediw, Dinbren, Eglwysegl, Trefor Isaf and Trefor Uchaf.
- Glyn Traean contained the townships of Cilcochwyn, Crogeniddon, Crogenwladus, Erwallo, Hafodgynfor, Nantygwryd, Pennant and Talygarth.
The Ellesmere Canal was intended to connect the coal mines and ironworks at Ruabon and Wrexham to the canal network and thence to the sea via the River Mersey and the River Severn. The plans were altered and instead of connecting Trevor northwards to the sea via the River Dee and southwards to the Severn, the canal ran eastwards to join onto the national network at Hurleston Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal near Nantwich. A feeder canal, navigable to Llangollen, was constructed from Trevor to tap water from the River Dee at Llantysilio (at the weir called "Horseshoe Falls"). After company mergers, the canal became part of the Shropshire Union System. Until recently it was properly called the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, though it is now known as the Llangollen Canal.
The canal supplied enough Dee water to supply Crewe and Nantwich, and when commercial carrying failed in the 1940s, it was its function as a water supply which kept it open. The canal is unusual amongst Britain's artificial waterways in having a strong (up to 2 miles per hour) flow. Since the use of canals for leisure took off in the 1970s and 1980s, the route, twisting through beautiful Welsh hills and across the Dee Valley on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, has made it the most famous and busiest in Britain. The canal is an important part of Llangollen's attraction as a holiday destination. A marina, built at the end of the navigable section, allows summer visitors to moor overnight in Llangollen.
The railway was extended from Ruabon, via Acrefair and Trevor, to reach Llangollen by 1865, operating passenger and goods services. Thie Ruabon to Barmouth Line became part of the Great Western Railway. One hundred years later the line closed under the Beeching Axe iof 1964, closing to passengers in early 1965, and to freight in April 1969. The line was lifted in May 1969. However, part of the line was restored and operates as the Llangollen Railway, a tourist attraction. In 2002, the Rainhill locomotive trials were re-staged on the line.
Llangollen was predominantly a farming and agricultural area. Most of the farms in the hills around the town would have been involved in sheep farming and weaving was an important cottage industry in the area for centuries. Several factories were later built along the banks of the River Dee where both wool and cotton were processed.
The water mill opposite Llangollen railway station has been converted into a public house, "The Corn Mill". The building is over 600 years old and was originally used to grind flour for local farmers.
|Climate data for Llangollen|
|Average high °C (°F)||5.8
|Average low °C (°F)||2.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||128.2
In the late 19th century, Llangollen had a weekly newspaper, the Llangollen Advertiser.
Llangollen hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1908. The Gorsedd ceremony was held on the Hermitage Field, next to Plas Newydd, and the circle of stones were later moved into the grounds of the hall. The eisteddfod itself took place on the old Vicarage Field at Fronhyfyd and was visited by David Lloyd George, accompanied by Winston Churchill.
Since 1904, the town has been the home of the Llangollen Silver Band. The Brass Band perform at a wide range of local functions and concerts throughout the year. The band has a 'training' section, and provides free musical instruments and tuition to children and adults, many of whom go on to join the senior band.
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
Llangollen is most famous for the annual Llangollen International Eisteddfod, a week long event, usually starting on the Tuesday, and ending on the Sunday of the same week. During the week people from all over the world take part in musical and dancing competitions.
A parade, led by the Llangollen Silver Band, is usually held on the Tuesday of the Eisteddfod week, in which both the locals and visitors, take part dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments, whilst marching the streets of Llangollen.
Llangollen Fringe Festival
The Llangollen Fringe Festival  is an independent arts festival, usually held in mid July. Initially the festival was held in a tent on a playing field, and later a weaver's shed. It is now held in the Town Hall. The Fringe includes music, comedy, theatre, dance and workshops.
Artists who have taken part in the Llangollen Fringe include Sir Clement Freud, Lesley Garrett, Rhys Ifans, the Damned, Cerys Matthews, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Juan Martín, the Black Seeds, John Cooper Clarke, Will Self and the Race Horses.
Dee Rocks  is a local fundraising music event bringing much needed financial support to the smaller local good causes that tend to get overlooked on a national, or county level. Dee Rocks night is usually held during May when the town hall is transformed into a music venue on an incredible scale. All the organisers, performers, sound engineers, lighting crew, stagehands and many others contribute their time and effort free-of-charge to provide an event that is second-to-none for both entertainment and reward in the locality.
The inaugural Dee Rocks, originally intended to be a one-off event, took place on Saturday 29 May 2004 but, such was the success of the night, demand ensured Dee Rocks would return and, with Dee Rocks VI having taken place on Saturday 22 May 2010, it has now become an annual fixture in the town raising in excess of £12,000 for local good causes.
An integral part of the Dee Rocks experience, is the "Styes in Their Eyes" finale when local characters take to the stage to entertain and dazzle the audience with their party pieces. The flamboyantly dressed singers and novelty acts dive headlong into the spirit of the event as they each perform their chosen song with the live band.
Local artists who have taken part in Dee Rocks include the Swillers, Skeleton Bob, Afterdark, Carnival, Favourite Colour Red, Drink Till Dawn, Tailors of Taboo, Iguana, Petrol Rainbow and Chasing Kim.
Songs and nursery rhymes
- "Llangollen Market", traditional
- "Ladies of Llangollen", Ian Chesterman
- "Pastai Fawr Llangollen" (The Great Llangollen Pie), Arfon Gwilym
- According to an anonymous rhyme, the bridge over the Dee is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
- The nursery rhyme "Mary had a little lamb" is frequently, but incorrectly, linked with Llangollen. Its true origins are in the United States: "This is a lovely folklore story, but sadly Mary Thomas of Llangollen was not the heroine of the nursery rhyme ... The Mary of the rhyme was Mary Sawyer and the school was the Redstone Schoolhouse in Sterling Massachusetts, U.S.A."
Llangollen relies heavily on the tourist industry.
Llangollen on the River Dee hosts white water Slalom canoeing and kayaking, being host to International and UK events. The International Canoe Federation (ICF), the European Canoe Union (ECU) and the British Canoe Union (BCU) all hold events in Llangollen.
Llangollen was the finishing point of the first massed-start cycle race held on British roads, on 7 June 1942. The 59-mile Wolverhampton-Llangollen race was organised by Percy Stallard in defiance of the sport's governing body, the National Cyclists' Union, but with approval from all police chief constables through whose districts the event ran.
- Glyn James, former professional footballer. Played over 400 games for Blackpool during the 1960s and 1970s and represented the Welsh international team on nine occasions.
- The Ladies of Llangollen, Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby.
- Lawton, Paul. Llangollen Station - A History. Chester: W.H. Evans.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Llangollen.|
- Llangollen Enterprise
- Llangollen Fringe Festival
- Llangollen Fringe Festival MySpace
- Dee Rocks
- Llangollen International Eisteddfod
- Llangollen Railway
- Llangollen Museum
- BBC Llangollen
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Llangollen and surrounding area