Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll - finally, the truth behind longest name in the world!

This place never fails to amuse visitors. It is a great place to bring visitors as they arrive from Bangor Station or from Manchester Airport because it enables them to address the Welsh language and try a few words for themselves. The original name in 1254 was recorded for a small township as Piwllgunyl later spelled Pwllgwyngyll which means the hollow (pwll) where white (gwyn) hazel (gyll) grows. A church dedicated to St Mary was later built so, in 1536 we have Llan (place of saint) Vair (Mary) y pwll (at the hollow) Gwinghill.
If you are still with us, the appendage gogerychwwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch was deliberately coined to ensure continued prominence for a temporary railway station and freight yard about to become redundant following completion in 1850 of the Brittania Bridge. The fabrication credited to Thomas Hughes of Mennai Bridge (d 1890) is based on features in the immediate landscape-go (somewhat), ger (near), y (the) Chwyrn (wild), trobwll (the whirlpool) of Pwll Ceris in the Mennai Strait. Llantysilio is an allusion to Llandysilio near Mennai Bridge while gogogoch is an echo of Ynys Gorad Goch in the Strait and of nearby Llandysiliogogo Card.
Even though it was all a fabrication, the name has stuck and the freight yard is now a car park and the gift store and cafe thrives now as never before.

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