Pont Fawr, Llanrwst
Llanrwst shown within Conwy
|Area||5.24 km2 (2.02 sq mi)|
|– density||634/km2 (1,640/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Llanrwst (Welsh pronunciation: [ɬanˈruːst]) is a small town and community on the A470 road and the River Conwy in Conwy County Borough, Wales. It takes its name from the 5th- to 6th-century Saint Grwst, "church or parish" llan "of St Grwst".
Llanrwst developed around the wool trade, but also became renowned for harp and clock manufacture. Today, lying as it does on the edge of Snowdonia (Snowdonia starts about 3/4 mile away on the other side of the river Conwy ), its main industry—aside that of being a market town—is tourism.
In the 2011 census the population of the town was 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). The current church is on land which was donated in around 1170 by Rhun ap Nefydd Hardd, a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, specifically to build a new church dedicated to Grwst.
Llanrwst developed around the wool trade, and for a long time the price of wool for the whole of Britain was set here. The growth of the town 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 the Free Borough of Llanrwst independent from the diocese of Llanelwy. Although this was contested by the bishop, the borough retained its status both through the lifetime of Llywelyn and later through the efforts of Aberconwy Abbey who ripped down banners related to the Bishopric or Edward I of England. A century later, after the monastery moved to Maenan Abbey, 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 local band Y Cyrff. The Llanrwst Almshouses & Museum Trust returned the 12th century Llanrwst flag to the community, an emblem central to the town's belief in its independence, when it closed in 2011.
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 held 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 19th century; it closed as a museum in 2011, but reopened in 2013 as the new council chamber.
Pont Fawr, a narrow three-arch stone bridge that is said to have been designed by Inigo Jones, was built in 1636 by Sir Richard Wynn (son of Sir John Wynn) of Gwydir Castle. The bridge connects the town with Gwydir, a manor house dating from 1492, the 15th-century courthouse known as Tu Hwnt i'r Bont and also with the road from nearby Trefriw.
In 1947, allegedly, Llanrwst town council unsuccessfully sought a seat on the United Nations Security Council, as an independent state within Wales. There is no proof of this in the United Nations Security Council minutes available online, but in the early 21st century the chairman and secretary of the Llanrwst Historical Society stated they had obtained proof from the UN in New York.
Llanrwst hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1951 and 1989.
Llanrwst is sited 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, where it is joined by the A548 main road from Rhyl, Prestatyn and Chester. To the southwest of the town is the Gwydir Forest. 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.
In the 2011 census the population of the town was 3,323 and 61 percent of the population are Welsh speakers. At one time Llanrwst was the eighth-largest town in Wales, its population being greater than that of Cardiff. The change in the population of the town in the 19th and 20th centuries is shown in the chart below.
Llanrwst 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-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), and the Victoria Hotel was built opposite the bridge in anticipation of this. Had the railway line been built on the west bank 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.
Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy previously Llanrwst Grammar School, is a bilingual, secondary school with approximately 790 pupils. According to the latest inspection report by Estyn, the school has a GCSE pass 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 School in Colwyn Bay. There is also a Christian-based youth club in Seion Chapel called Clwb Cyfeillion.
Llanrwst is home to Llanrwst United FC, which has 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 has a Junior section, "Llanrwst United Juniors", who have 8 teams and play in the Aberconwy and Colwyn League. Llanrwst Cricket Club plays in the North Wales Premier Cricket League.
- Kai Owen, Welsh actor most notable for his role in Torchwood as Rhys Williams
- Mark Roberts of Catatonia and its predecessor band Y Cyrff known for the song Cymru, Lloegr a Llanrwst.
- The painter Thomas Finchett produced many highly competent and atmospheric views of north Wales between c. 1870-1920. Born in Great Boughton, near Chester in 1858, the son of a Chester grocer. Married Sarah Ann Harrison in Chester in 1882 and they had four children, Mary, John, Rosa and Joseph. Finchett lived for most of his later life in Llanrwst, where he painted extensively in the local area - typically scenes of Snowdonia and especially in the Llanberis Pass etc. Died in Llanrwst in the Summer of 1931.
- "Area: Llanrwst (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Snowdonia National Park Authority. "Location Map".
- "History of Llanrwst: Saint Grwst the Confessor". Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- "History of Llanrwst: Foundation of the Modern Church".
- Lewis, Samuel (1840). A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Vol 1. London: S Lewis.
- "...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."
- BBC - Gogledd Orllewin - hanes
- Talk of the town BBC News, 28 April 2006
- "Llanrwst Almshouse Museum rent rise blamed for closure". BBC Wales. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- "Celebrations as town council re-open Llanrwst Almshouses Museum". Daily Post.
- "Llanrwst Almshouses re-opens and is taken on by town council". Daily Post. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- "Tu Hwnt I'r Bont".
- "Tu Hwnt ir Bont in Wales". Wales Directory.
- "Llanrwst" (PDF). Conservation Area Appraisal - Conwy County Borough Council. Conwy County Borough Council.
- Breverton, Terry (2012). Owain Glyndwr: The Story of the Last Prince of Wales. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 1445608766.
- "Cardiff Glamorgan". Vision of Britain.
- "In 1801 the pop. [of Cardiff] was only 1018; in 1841 it was 10,077..."
- "Llanrwst CP/AP". Vision of Britain.
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