Llandysul, also spelt Llandyssul, is a small town and community in the county of Ceredigion, Wales. As a community it consists of the townships of Capel Dewi, Horeb, Pontsian, Pren-gwyn, Tregroes, Rhydowen and the village of Llandysul itself. Llandysul lies in south Ceredigion in the valley of the River Teifi and is visited for its fishing and canoeing. The community had a population of 2732, as of 2011.[2] The village itself has a population of 1484.[3]

View of Llandysul from the south
Llandysul is located in Ceredigion
Location within Ceredigion
Population1,439 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSN4162340646
  • Llandysul
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSA44
Dialling code01559
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°02′28″N 4°18′34″W / 52.04114°N 4.30949°W / 52.04114; -4.30949

Llandysul is also known as the home of Gwasg Gomer, one of the most prominent publishers of Welsh-interest and Welsh language books in Wales. The town is twinned with Plogonnec (Plogoneg) in Brittany, France.[4]

Etymology Edit

The name of the town in Welsh is a combination of llan "church" and the mutated saint's name Tysul to mean "the church of St Tysul".

History Edit

Llandysul bridge

Pencoedfoel is an Iron Age hillfort one mile northeast of Llandysul. An oval banked and ditched enclosure with double ramparts, about 160 metres (525') by 128 metres (420'), is defined by degraded banks and scarps on the summit of an isolated hill. Two halves of a bronze collar were found near here, possibly dating to the late 1st century BC or early 1st century AD.[5]

The oldest building in the town is the church which dates from the 13th century. It as built on the site of the original church from the 6th century. Saint Tysul was the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda (hence the name Ceredigion) and a cousin of St David. Fairs and markets were established by the Kings of England and the Edwardian marcher lords who captured these lands from the native rulers between the 12th and 14th centuries. Owain Glyndŵr is associated with the town. The men of Llandysul supported him in battle in 1400 and afterwards his lands around Llandysul were confiscated by Henry IV.[6]

In 1644, during the English Civil War, the Royalist army was defending Ceredigion against the Parliamentary army. One of the three arches of the bridge at Llandysul was pulled down by the Royalists to prevent the Parliamentarians crossing into Ceredigion.[6] The bridge was later rebuilt with a single arch.

The Teifi Valley around Llandysul was the home of the Welsh woollen industry. Many sheep were reared locally and there were plenty of fast-flowing streams to power machinery so many woollen mills were established in the area in the 19th century. There was also a flannel shirt factory in the town at that time.[6] The mills had nearly all been closed by the end of the 20th century as cheaper textiles became available from the Far East.

The Gomer Press (Welsh: Gwasg Gomer) was founded by John David Lewis (1859–1914). He started by selling books from a corner of his father's grocery store before establishing the press in 1892. It is now a thriving printing company and the largest publishing house in Wales and moved to new premises just outside the town in 2004. It publishes titles for both adults and children, in English and in Welsh. The present managing director, Jonathan Lewis, is the great-grandson of the founder.[7]

Economy Edit

There is little industry in Llandysul today. The woollen mills are closed and used for other purposes; one houses a confectionery distribution business. There was a fortnightly livestock market until 2008 when the site became part of the new Llandysul bypass. Tourism draws people into West Wales but Llandysul largely misses out from this source of income as it has no specific tourist attractions.

Llandyssul was a railway station on the Newcastle Emlyn branch, opened in 1864 and closed to passengers in 1952.

Telynau Teifi Harps is a community business set up with help from Ceredigion County Council and the European Union in 2004 by harp-maker Allan Shiers. It is the only harp-making business in Wales, a country with a traditional association with the instrument. Celtic and folk harps are made here and the entire manufacturing process takes place on the site.[8]

Llandysul Paddlers Canoe Centre was opened in October 1998. It holds courses and provides accommodation for up to 35 visitors.[9] Canoeing brings in visitors who contribute to the local economy.

Culture and community Edit

Children playing in the pool at Calon Tysul overseen by a lifeguard
Capel y Graig, Llandysul, c. 1885

The Memorial Park is a recreation area in a loop of the River Teifi. There is a children's playground, a tennis club, a bowling club and sports pitches. Llandysul Cricket Club and Llandysul Football Club play here. The cricket club fields two sides in the South Wales Cricket Association (Division One and Division Six) and has a thriving youth section. The soccer club likewise fields two teams in Division One and Two of the Ceredigion League and were league champions in 2016–17 as well as winners of the Emrys Morgan Cup.

Tysul Hall was built in 1955 as a memorial to the men lost in two world wars. It can seat 400 people and events and meetings are held there.

Llandysul has a post office, two chemists, a range of other shops, a church, several chapels and a leisure centre with swimming pool. The last of four major banks in Llandysul closed in 2017.[10]

Llandysul Angling Association owns the rights to over 30 miles of fishing on the River Teifi which is a river noted for its salmon, sea trout and trout.

Llandysul Paddlers[9] is a nonprofit making association which works with young people from the community and across the whole of the UK. They deliver sessions on kayaking, whitewater rafting and canoeing; away from the water they deliver sessions about climbing and mountain biking and help local schools in their delivery of the DofE scheme.

The Powerhouse is a community and arts centre designed to host a variety of activities.[11] It is housed in a historic building beside the River Teifi that originally generated power for the local community.

Llandysul and District Local History Society[12] have an exhibition in the upstairs room of Llandysul Library.

Calon Tysul[13] was founded in November 2017. The site is an amalgamation of two previously separate entities; Llandysul Aqua Centre and Llandysul Leisure Centre.

The site includes a 25 metre (82') × 10 metre (33') swimming pool, formerly known as Teifiside Swimming Pool. The pool was built with the help of town residents in 1975 and was later renamed Llandysul Aqua Centre following a restructure. The adjoining Llandysul Leisure Centre was built in 2003 by Ceredigion County Council. The council maintained and operated the centre from 2003–2017.

Following a community asset transfer in 2017, Llandysul Leisure Centre and the land beneath the swimming pool came into the ownership of the trustees of Calon Tysul. As well as the swimming pool, the building also includes a sports hall with space for four badminton courts, a multi-purpose room, fitness suite as well as wet and dry changing facilities.

A board of voluntary trustees is responsible for the governance of the centre. A wide variety of recreational and educational activities take place at the centre, such as swimming, kayaking, children's birthday parties, National Exercise Referral Scheme, fitness classes, gymnastics, badminton, table tennis, climbing, football and more. Several groups such as Llandysul Cubs and Beavers and Llandysul Crafters meet at the centre.

Education Edit

There were two schools in the town; Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi,[14] a bilingual comprehensive school with over 500 pupils, and Ysgol Gynradd Llandysul, a bilingual primary school. Both were closed in 2016 due to the opening of a new super school Ysgol Bro Teifi.[15]

Llandysul Paddlers also works as an education centre delivering sessions to young people and adults and has a number of full-time trained teachers working for them.

Church Edit

St Tysul's Church

The church of St Tysul was founded by Saint Tysul, 462–554, at the meeting place of a number of tracks at a ford over the River Teifi. The present stone structure dates from the 13th century and the roof remained thatched until 1783. The ancient altar with its early Christian inscription was incorporated into the altar of the Lady Chapel. The simple nave is separated from the north and south aisles by plain square pillars. Other ancient carved stones are found in the choir vestry. One of these is the Velvor Stone, a fragment cut from the middle of an inscribed slab.[16]

The tower houses a ring of six bells which are rung regularly.

Calan Hen ("Old New Year's Day") is an interesting custom associated with the church. It dates from 1752, when 11 days were lost in the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. On the old New Year's Day, now 12 January, it was the custom for harvest workers to be given a feast. The rest of the day was spent kicking a ball about. Kickoff was halfway between the two goals, Llanwenog Church porch and Llandysul Church porch. Most of the players were drunk by this time and it was a rough affair. In 1833, the vicar of Llandysul, Reverend Enoch James, substituted a different way of celebrating Calan Hen. It was a gathering in Llandysul Church of the Sunday Schools of the churches within eight miles of Llandysul to answer catechisms, sing anthems and recite scriptures.[17] The custom continues to this day.

Rev. Gareth Reid was appointed priest-in-charge of St Tysul's Church (and other churches in the benefice) in June 2013. Information about church activities can be found on the St Tysul's church website. In October 2014, lightning struck the church tower causing damage to the crenellations in the northeast corner, resulting in chunks of masonry falling on the roof below. The church and graveyard were fenced off for safety reasons until repairs to the church and tower could be completed.[18] The church was reopened six months later.

Notable people Edit

  • Saint Gelert (7th C.) a hermit who lived in a cave near the Holy Well of St Celer near Llandysul.
  • Christmas Evans (1766–1838), preacher
  • David Bevan Jones (1807 in Gellifaharen – 1863), bardic name Dewi Elfed, a Welsh Baptist minister
  • Jenkin Lloyd Jones (1843–1918), a famous American Unitarian preacher.
  • Evan James Williams (1903–45), experimental physicist on sub-atomic particles, born in Cwmsychbant, attended Llandysul school.[19]
  • Hywel Davies OBE (1919–1965), a Welsh radio broadcaster, TV interviewer and writer.
  • Roy Evans CBE FREng (born ca.1945), a Welsh civil engineer and academic.
  • Iolo Ceredig Jones (1947-2021), a Welsh former international chess player born in Llandysul.
  • Menna Elfyn FRSL FLSW (born 1952), poet, playwright, columnist and editor; lives in Llandysul.
  • Sioned James (1974–2016), a Welsh musician and conductor, founded a successful Cardiff-based choir
  • Fflur Dafydd (born 1978), a Welsh novelist, singer-songwriter and musician.

References Edit

  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Llandysul Parish (W04000376)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  3. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Llandysul Built-up area (W37000220)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Twinning database". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Pencoed-Foel, Camp;Pencoed-y-Foel;Pencoed y Foel Hillfort (92243)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  6. ^ a b c "Llandysul & Pont-Tyweli - History". www.llandysul-ponttyweli.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Home". www.gomer.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Harp Making In Wales - About Us". Teifi Harps.
  9. ^ a b "Llandysul Paddlers Club and Canoe Centre". llandysul-paddlers.org.uk.
  10. ^ North, Nic (5 December 2017). "The 'ghost town' with no banks" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Pwerdy-Powerhouse - Canolfan Gymunedol a Chelf ddydau - Community and Arts Centre". www.pwerdypowerhouse.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Llandysul and District Local History Society - Interested in Local History?". www.hanesllandysulhistory.co.uk.
  13. ^ "Calon Tysul - Pwll Nofio a Canolfan Hamdden Gymunedol, Llandysul - Calon Tysul - Swimming Pool and Community Leisure Centre - Hafan - Home". www.calontysul.cymru.
  14. ^ Ysgol Dyffryn Teify Archived 2010-07-11 at the Wayback Machine,
  15. ^ "Ysgol Bro Teifi – Oni Heuir Ni Fedir".
  16. ^ St Tysul's Church, Llandysul. A Short History and Guide by I. T. Hughes and J. R. Jenkins.
  17. ^ St Tysul's Church, Llandysul. A Short History and Guide by I. T. Hughes and J. R. Jenkins, p. 10.
  18. ^ Humfrey, Anwen (19 October 2014). "Lightning blasts hole in church". Tivyside Advertiser. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  19. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 953. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.

External links Edit