infobox UK place
country = Wales
constituency_welsh_assembly= Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
constituency_westminster= Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
postcode_district = SA19
Llandeilo (or Llandilo) is a
townin Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales, situated at the crossing of the River Tywiby the A483 on an elegant stone bridge.
The town is served by
Llandeilo railway stationon the Heart of Wales Line.
Llandeilo is named after one of the better known Celtic
saints of the 6th century, Saint Teilo. The Welsh word 'llan' signified a religious enclosure, normally one dedicated to a particular saint (thus corresponds, today, to 'church of'). Saint Teilo, who was a contemporary of Saint Davidthe patron Saintof Wales, established a small monastic settlement or 'clas' on the site of the present-day church.
The early history of Llandeilo is therefore closely related to the establishment of
Christianityin the local arena. Although there is very little factual detail about the life of Saint Teilo, the fact that he was highly respected in his lifetime and revered after his death is shown by the forty-five places dedicated to him, some as far afield as Brittany.
After Saint Teilo's death, two equally important ecclesiastical centres in Wales, namely Llandaff and St David's, laid claim to his body. There is reasonable evidence to suggest however, that Saint Teilo was buried in Llandeilo, where "he spent a solitary life gloriously". The
parish churchof Llandeilo Fawr (Great Llandeilo) is dedicated to Saint Teilo, and until 1880 its churchyard encompassed his baptistry.
The early Christian settlement that developed around the Church of Saint Teilo prospered and by the early 9th century it had attained considerable ecclesiastical status as the seat of a Bishop-Abbot. The Church of St Teilo soon became a 'mother church' to the surrounding district, acquiring an extensive estate and possessing one of the principality's most beautiful and finely illustrated manuscripts - the Gospel Book of Saint Teilo. The discovery of fragments of two large
Celtic crosses from this period provide further testimony to Llandeilo's importance and indeed prestige as an early ecclesiastical centre.
Towards the end of the ninth century, the importance of Llandeilo as a spiritual centre had started to decline and the Gospel Book of St Teilo was removed to Lichfield where it became commonly known as the Lichfield Gospels and Book of Saint Chad. The Bishops of Lichfield still use this manuscript to swear allegiance to the Crown.
Dinefwr Castle(anglicized as Dynevor) is a spectacular Welsh castle overlooking the River Tywi near the town. It lies on a ridge on the northern bank of the Tywi, with a steep drop of several hundred feet to the river. Dinefwr was the chief seat of the kingdom of Deheubarthand the seat of Rhys ap Gruffydd, one of the early kings of Wales. The foundations of two Roman forts have been discovered in the grounds of the Dinefwr estate, which is in the custody of the National Trust. The estate of Golden Grovelies near the town, and further away, the impressive Carreg Cennen castle, another Welsh stronghold. The remains of Talley Abbeycan be seen six miles away to the north of the town.
In the centuries that followed the
Norman Conquest, the Bishop of Llandaffand Bishop of St David'sboth claimed Llandeilo for their respective diocese. By the early 12th century Llandeilo came under the patronage of the Bishopric of St David's, an ecclesiastic borough which became responsible for the affairs of the town including its development as an important medievalmarket centre to an extensive agricultural hinterland. Until the middle of the 20th century, a fair called St Teilo's Fair which had been authorised initially by Edward I in 1290 was held annually in the churchyard. Some of the agricultural produce and other goods offered for sale are recorded to have been displayed on the tombstones. Today the fair has been replaced by a small farmers' market, held fortnightly in the same place.
1987 rail disaster
Great Storm of 1987, the floods were so severe that the River Tywi (Towy) overwhelmed the railway bridge crossing the river near Llandeilo. A schoolboy and 3 other people were drowned when the 05:27 train from Swanseato Shrewsburycrashed while crossing the bridge and the bridge collapsed dropping the train into the river.
*Llandeilo hosted the
National Eisteddfodin 1996.
*Llandeilo also hosted the 2008
World Sheepdog Trials.
*Near Llandeilo, at Pant-y-llyn, is
Great Britain's only known turlough (or ephemeral lake).
*Llandeilo is twinned with
Le Conquetin Brittany.
Llandeilo RFCwas one of the founding clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union.
*Llandeilo AFC are a
football (soccer)club currently playing in the Carmarthenshire League
*Llandeilo is the birthplace of Stefan Cush - vocalist and guitarist of
folk punkband The Men They Couldn't Hang.
*Llandeilo was the birthplace of the
*At one time Llandeilo produced its own 'Llandeilo Style' banknotes, and this is recorded on a blue plaque on the wall of the building which used to house the
Bank of the Black Ox.
* [http://www.llandeilo.org/ Comprehensive history of Llandeilo]
* [http://www.llandeilo.gov.uk/ Llandeilo town council]
* [http://www.llandeilo.net/ Virtual Llandeilo]
* [http://www.llandeilo-info.co.uk/ Llandeilo info]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=2675898 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Llandeilo and surrounding area]
List of National Trust properties in Wales
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