Wales’ longest station name: How it got its name, and what it means
TAKE a deep breath and say it with me: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
No, I didn’t just drop something on the keyboard, that is the actual name of a train station in Anglesey, serving the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.
Some could argue it is one of the greatest marketing campaigns to come out of Wales ever.
At 58 letters long it is the longest place name in the UK and one of the longest in the entire world.
It is the longest town name in Europe — and second only to an 85 letter-long place in New Zealand.
The Welsh village has around 3,100 inhabitants, of which around 70% speak Welsh – which is a good thing considering the tongue twister of a name.
Located on the island of Anglesey in northwest Wales, the village was first known by the somewhat shorter Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, but acquired the longer moniker as a way to draw railway tourists in the 1860s.
The long name was supposedly contrived in 1869 as an early publicity stunt to give the station the longest name of any railway station in Britain.
According to Sir John Morris-Jones the name was created by a local tailor, whose name he did not confide, letting the secret die with him.
The 19th-century strategy has been paying dividends since, as travellers keep journeying to the place for photo-ops next to the oversized railway station sign.
So what does it mean?
Well, it’s quite literal: Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.
When broken down: Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch).
The town had a brief moment of fame in 2015 when Channel 4 weatherman Liam Dutton nailed the pronunciation during one of his broadcasts, leading to a viral clip that went around the world via the internet.
However, the history of the area dates back up to 4000 years since the Neolithic era, with subsistence agriculture and fishing the most common occupations for much of its early history.
The island of Anglesey was at that point reachable only by boat across the Menai Strait. A largely destroyed, collapsed dolmen can be found from this period in the parish, located at Ty Mawr north of the present-day church; early Ordnance Survey maps show a long cairn on the site.
The area was briefly invaded and captured by the Romans under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, temporarily abandoned in order to consolidate forces against Boudicca, then held until the end of Roman Britain.
In 1826, Anglesey was connected to the rest of Wales by the construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge by Thomas Telford, and connected with London in 1850 with the building of the Britannia Bridge and the busy North Wales Coast railway line, which connected the rest of Great Britain to the ferry port of Holyhead.
The old village, known as Pentre Uchaf (“upper village”) was joined by new development around the railway station, which became known as Pentre Isaf, the “lower village”.
The first meeting of the Women’s Institute took place in Llanfairpwll in 1915, and the movement (which began in Canada) then spread through the rest of the British Isles.
A few thousand local residents welcome about 200,000 visitors per year on average. The most popular attraction is the Llanfairpwll railway station that features the plate with the full name of the village.
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has hit the train station hard and since July 6th 2020 trains have not called there.
Transport for Wales stated that the short platform and the inability to maintain social distancing between passengers and the guard when opening the train door is the reason
Passengers were left with no choice but to travel to Bangor Railway Station by bus or taxi, which is 5 miles away from Llanfairpwll: there are no rail replacement services serving the station unless engineering works are taking place.
- Welsh Government relaxes self-isolation for fully-vaccinated adults by Jon Coles
- Welsh councils plunged into housing crisis chaos by Jon Coles
- Top ten famous Welsh people by Elfed Jones
- Prif lwybr i filiwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg mewn perygl o ddirywiad terfynol, meddai’r Ceidwadwyr by Carli Newell
- Main route to one million Welsh speakers in danger of terminal decline, says Conservative by Carli Newell
- Llangolman: Police refuse to release info by Andy Chandler
- Plato’s Theory of Empathy by Jon Coles
- The Scoveston Murders: Following the tracks by Andy Chandler