Coordinates: 53°08′13″N 3°47′42″W / 53.137°N 3.795°W / 53.137; -3.795
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pont Fawr, Llanrwst
Llanrwst is located in Conwy
Location within Conwy
Area5.24 km2 (2.02 sq mi)
Population3,323 [1]
• Density634/km2 (1,640/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSH800615
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLL26
Dialling code01492
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
53°08′13″N 3°47′42″W / 53.137°N 3.795°W / 53.137; -3.795
Llanrwst from the air during December 2015 flooding of the Conwy valley

Llanrwst ('church or parish of Saint Grwst'; Welsh pronunciation: [ɬanˈruːst]) is a market town and community on the A470 road and the River Conwy, in Conwy County Borough, Wales, and the historic county of Denbighshire. It developed round the wool trade and became known also for the making of harps and clocks.[3] Today, less than one mile (two kilometres) from the edge of Snowdonia,[4] its main pursuit is tourism. Notable buildings include almshouses, two 17th-century chapels, and the Parish Church of St Grwst, which holds a stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great. The 2011 census gave it a population of 3,323.


The site of the original church dedicated to St Grwst was Cae Llan in Llanrwst (land now occupied by the Seion Methodist Chapel).[5] The current church of St Grwst is on land which was donated in about 1170 by Rhun ap Nefydd Hardd, a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, specifically to build a new church so dedicated.[6]

Llanrwst developed around the wool trade, and for a long time the price of wool for the whole of Britain was set here.[8] The growth of the village in the 13th century was considerably aided by an edict by Edward I of England (who built Conwy Castle) prohibiting any Welshman from trading within 10 miles (16 km) of the town of Conwy. Llanrwst, located some 13 miles (21 km) from that town, was strategically placed to benefit from this.

In 1276, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, seized the town, declaring it the Free Borough of Llanrwst independent of the diocese of Llanelwy. This the bishop contested, but the borough kept its freedom for the lifetime of Llywelyn and later through efforts by Aberconwy Abbey, which ripped down banners relating to the bishopric or to Edward I of England. A century later, after the monastery moved to Maenan Abbey,[9] the town had its own coat of arms and flag, the origin of the local motto "Cymru, Lloegr a Llanrwst" (Wales, England and Llanrwst). This motto, a testament to this apparent independence, has now become synonymous with the song of that title by a local band, Y Cyrff. When the Llanrwst Almshouses & Museum Trust closed in 2011,[10] it returned to the community the 12th-century Llanrwst flag, as an emblem central to the town's belief in its independence.[11]

In 1610 Sir John Wynn of Gwydir had the historic Llanrwst Almshouses built to house poor people of the parish. These closed in 1976, but were restored in 1996 with the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, reopening as a museum of local history and community focal point. It held a collection of over 100 items relating largely to the rural Conwy valley, and a number associated with the renowned Llanrwst Bards of the late 19th century. It closed as a museum in 2011, but reopened in 2013 as the new council chamber.[10][12][13]

Grade I-listed Pont Fawr, a narrow, three-arched stone bridge said to have been designed by Inigo Jones, was built in 1636 by Sir Richard Wynn (son of Sir John Wynn) of Gwydir Castle.[14] It links the town with Gwydir, a manor house dating from 1492, a 15th-century courthouse known as Tu Hwnt i'r Bont, and a road from nearby Trefriw.[15][16][17] North of the village is the site of a house, Plas Madoc, which was the home of Colonel John Higson. A friend of Henry Pochin of Bodnant, Higson developed a garden at Plas Madoc which may have had input from, or been influenced by Henry Ernest Milner. The house has been demolished but the garden remains and is listed at Grade II on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales.[18]

In 1947, Llanrwst Town Council allegedly sought in vain for a seat on the United Nations Security Council as an independent state within Wales.[11][19] This is not confirmed in the United Nations Security Council minutes available online.[20]

Llanrwst hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1951, 1989 and 2019.[21]

Flag of the Free Borough of Llanrwst


Llanrwst lies between 10 and 50 metres (33 and 160 ft) above sea level on the eastern bank of the River Conwy. The A470 trunk route between North and South Wales runs through the town, joined by the A548 main road from Rhyl, Prestatyn and Chester. To the south-west is Gwydir Forest. On the hills above is Moel Maelogan wind farm; the power generated by its turbines is fed to the town sub-station.

In 1830 local doctor and naturalist John Williams published a work Faunula Grustensis ('Crusty Plants') which described the fauna, geography and pathologies in and around Llanrwst.


There are two tiers of local government covering Llanrwst, at community (town) and county borough level: Llanrwst Town Council and Conwy County Borough Council.

Llanrwst was the name of the electoral ward to Gwynedd County Council between 1973 and 1996, electing one county councillor.[22]

Llanrwst now divides into two such wards, Gower and Crwst, each sending a councillor to Conwy County Borough Council.[23] In 2017, Plaid Cymru's Aaron Wynne was elected to the Crwst ward at the age of 20 years, making him Wales's youngest county councillor and Conwy County Borough Council's youngest ever elected member. The town also elects members to Llanrwst Town Council.[24]

Administrative history[edit]

Llanrwst was an ancient parish in the historic county of Denbighshire.[25] When elected parish and district councils were established in 1894 it was given a parish council and included in the Llanrwst Rural District. In 1897 part of the parish was converted into an urban district.[26] Llanrwst Urban District was abolished in 1974 and its area became a community instead. District-level functions passed to Aberconwy Borough Council, which was in turn replaced in 1996 by Conwy County Borough Council.[27][28]


In the 2011 census the town population was put at 3,323,[1] 61 per cent being Welsh speakers.[29] At one time Llanrwst was the Wales's eighth largest town, with a higher population than Cardiff.[31][32] The change in the town population in the 19th and 20th centuries appears in the chart below.

Llanrwst population graph 1801–2001
Llanrwst population graph 1801–2001


Llanrwst has two railway stations, Llanrwst and North Llanrwst, on the Conwy Valley Line, which terminated here before being extended to Betws-y-Coed in 1867 and Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1879. It was originally envisaged that the railway would pass closer to the river, on the site of today's Central Garage. The Victoria Hotel was built opposite the bridge in anticipation of this. Had the line been built on the west bank of the River Conwy, as originally planned, to serve the inland port of Trefriw across the river from Llanrwst, it is unlikely that Llanrwst would have gained its present status.


Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy, previously Llanrwst Grammar School, is a bilingual secondary school with about 790 pupils. According to the latest inspection report by Estyn, it has a GCSE pass rate of 71 per cent (based on five GCSEs, grades A–C), putting the school in equal 24th place, just outside the top 10 per cent of secondary schools in Wales. It is also the second best-performing secondary school in Conwy, behind Eirias High School in Colwyn Bay.

There is a Christian-based youth club in Seion Chapel called Clwb Cyfeillion.


Llanrwst hosts Llanrwst United FC, with two senior teams. The first plays in the Welsh Alliance League and the reserves in Clwyd League Division 2. The club has a junior section of eight teams, playing in the Aberconwy and Colwyn League. Llanrwst Cricket Club plays in the North Wales Premier Cricket League. Since 2012, there has been an annual half marathon round the town.[33]

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Area: Llanrwst (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Cyngor Llanrwst". Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  3. ^ "snowdoniaantiques.co.uk - Snowdonia Antiques. North Wales Fine Antique Furniture and Clock Specialists". snowdoniaantiques.co.uk.
  4. ^ Snowdonia National Park Authority. "Location Map". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014.
  5. ^ "History of Llanrwst: Saint Grwst the Confessor". Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  6. ^ "History of Llanrwst: Foundation of the Modern Church". Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  7. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1840). A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Vol 1. London: S Lewis. ISBN 9780598739971.
  8. ^ "Llanrwst is the principal mart for this article, and is attended by the English buyers: the price obtained for the wool at this fair is usually the standard for the year."[7]
  9. ^ "BBC – Gogledd Orllewin – hanes". Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  10. ^ a b "Llanrwst Almshouse Museum rent rise blamed for closure". BBC News. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  11. ^ a b Talk of the town BBC News, 28 April 2006.
  12. ^ "Celebrations as town council re-open Llanrwst Almshouses Museum". Daily Post. 28 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Llanrwst Almshouses re-opens and is taken on by village council". Daily Post. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  14. ^ Cadw. "Pont Fawr (Grade I) (16951)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Tu Hwnt Ir Bont Tearooms - Llanrwst Conwy North Wales". www.tuhwntirbont.co.uk.
  16. ^ "Tu Hwnt ir Bont in Wales". Wales Directory.
  17. ^ "Llanrwst" (PDF). Conservation Area Appraisal – Conwy County Borough Council. Conwy County Borough Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2015.
  18. ^ Cadw. "Plas Madoc (PGW(Gd)2(CON))". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  19. ^ Breverton, Terry (2012). Owain Glyndwr: The Story of the Last Prince of Wales. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1445608761.
  20. ^ "Chapter II. Agenda" (PDF). un.org. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  21. ^ "National Eisteddfod". National Eisteddfod. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Gwynedd Council Election Results 1995-2012" (PDF). The Elections Centre (Plymouth University). Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Ward Map". Llanrwst Town Council. 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Llanrwst Town Council, Llanrwst.net. Retrieved 23 March 2018". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Llanrwst Ancient Parish / Civil Parish". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  26. ^ Annual Report of the Local Government Board. 1898. p. 287. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  27. ^ Local Government Act 1972
  28. ^ Local Government (Wales) Act 1994
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Cardiff Glamorgan". Vision of Britain.
  31. ^ "In 1801 the pop. [of Cardiff] was only 1018; in 1841 it was 10,077..."[30]
  32. ^ "Llanrwst CP/AP". Vision of Britain.
  33. ^ "Snowdonia Half Marathon – Run Wales". www.runwales.com.

External links[edit]