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Llanfairpwllgwyngyll: A Mindless Tongue Twister or a Place in UK?

BY Tanveer Khan October 9, 2018

Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch railway station sign. (G1MFG / Wikimedia Commons)

Did you know that there exists a place in Wales in the United Kingdom, which has such an unusually long name that it is as good as a tongue twister? Commonly known as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, this quaint Welsh village, in fact, goes by the name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is shortened to Llanfairpwll or simply known as Llanfair PG. Colloquially pronounced “Llan-vire-pooll”, there is an interesting story that is associated with the naming of the village.

With a total of fifty-eight characters in one name itself, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll ranks second in the list of long-named places in the world after New Zealand’s Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. The Welsh word Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, in English translates to ‘Saint Mary’s Church in a hollow of white hazel near the rapid whirlpool of the church of Saint Tysilio with a red cave’. This translation, in a way, roughly gives away the village’s exact location to newcomers. Not many people, except locals, knew of this place until a weatherman pronounced it right on live television in 2015, grabbing eyeballs from all across the globe. The long name got people interested and (started) talking about a sleepy settlement that is now connected to some of the major cities in the country.

The story behind Llanfairpwllgwyngyll

Locals on the island of Anglesey in Wales believe that an unknown cobbler could have been the person, to give the village its unique name way back in the 1800s. And a tailor corroborated the fact. Llanfairpwllgwyngyll was one of the villages in the United Kingdom, where development first started to spread its wings. Cities were getting connected by railways and roadways and Llanfairpwll was the place where craftsmen moved in to stay and work. During the 1850’s, when railroads were being built across the country to facilitate travel, a committee was put together to help bring in more visitors to the village. These people would in turn, encourage travellers to halt at this place so that it gave a major impetus to their tourism and brought in more revenue. A publicity gimmick worked in favour of the village and the name became its identity.

A railway crossing at Britannia Bridge and the agricultural lands near Llanedwen and Penmynydd made Llanfairpwll a major commercial centre. This quick growth in development brought in more and more settlers to this village back in the day. It was then that the forgotten shoemaker invented the complex name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which stuck around to this day.

Popularity in modern times

A total of approximately 3,100 citizens living in the village are of the opinion that their village should retain its original name, for their Welsh language is slowly dying out. The retaining of the name would give others a chance to learn their tongue, which easily stands out with its too many syllables and consonants. Although people’s efforts to add the name into the Guinness Book of World Records did not bear fruits, the word has somehow found a place in the prestigious book. In 2002, Llanfairpwll was listed in the Guinness Book of Records and was awarded for being the longest valid domain name in the world.

Other than being a part of pop culture, with celebrities spending a part of their childhood in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, the Welsh village also boasts of a square on the popular board game of Monopoly. With the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, the island of Anglesey became a more popular destination as the couple moved into their home in the islands. As a result, the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll in Anglesey soon started to appear on tourist maps and on Welsh board games too. Also, the train station retains the long form of Llanfairpwll, which makes it the longest named railway station in the whole of UK.

With a rare name that is fifty-eight characters long, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is surely quite a mouthful.

Enjoyed this article? Also, check out “Las Lajas Sanctuary: A Church with a Mysterious Mural Nobody Can Explain“.

Recommended Visit:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyll | Wales, United Kingdom

Fact Analysis:
STSTW Media strives to deliver accurate information through careful research. However, things can go wrong. If you find the above article inaccurate or biased, please let us know at [email protected]


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