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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 33095

Map Reference SJ24SW

Grid Reference SJ2150342086

Unitary (Local) Authority Denbighshire

Old County Denbighshire

Community Llangollen

Type of Site TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period Unknown

Site Description Llangollen is a small town set below Castell Dinas Bran on the banks of the River Dee in the Vale of Llangollen. The area around the town has a history of sheep farming, and weaving has been an important cottage industry in the area for centuries. Several factories were built along the banks of the River Dee where both wool and cotton were processed.

The Llangollen canal, now an important tourist destination, was a working part of the Shropshire Union Canal. The Llangollen Railway which runs along the Dee Valley, is another tourist attraction which was started in 1975.

Llangollen is also famous for the annual Llangollen International Eisteddfod in which people from all over the world take part in musical and dancing competitions.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Collen, probably dates from the sixth or seventh centuries. A new building was erected in the thirteenth century. The church was restored and extended between 1876 and 1883.

RCAHMW, 2009.

Llangollen is a small town in Denbighshire and takes its name from St Collen, who allegedly established a church here on the banks of the river Dee in the sixth-century. The town’s great sixteenth-century stone bridge across the river is one of the ancient Seven Wonders of Wales.

The A5 road through Llangollen developed out of the historical main road through north Wales. In 1815 an Act of Parliament authorised civil engineer Thomas Telford to undertake the modernisation of the road as it formed the chief postal communication route between Ireland, the Welsh harbour town Holyhead and London. For this reason, Telford kept the inclination of the road exceedingly low so that the mail coaches could travel without much delay. The modernisation of the road also meant it was easier and quicker for visitors to reach Llangollen. In 1828, Prince Herman von Pückler-Muskau praised the beauty of the Vale of Llangollen and visited the famous Ladies, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler. A year later, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy despaired over hearing Beethoven’s songs played badly by a harpist at his hotel, before exploring the nearby surroundings, Castell Dinas Bran and Valle Crucis Abbey.

One of the main cultural attractions of Llangollen today is the annual International Eisteddfod, an amicable competition celebrating song and dance from around the world. The festival dates back to 1943 with international visitors travelling to the National Eisteddfod held in Bangor that year. Since 1947, the six-day long International Eisteddfod has been held in Llangollen and draws thousands of singers from around the world into the town.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.

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