Llandeilo Fawr is a small market town with a population of 2,937 people (2001 census) in Carmarthenshire, Wales located on a promontory on the north bank of the river Tywi. Its origins lie with a small monastic settlement established by Saint Teilo sometime during the sixth century, and hence the name Llandeilo, the "Church of Teilo"; the "Fawr" or Greater being added to distinguish the original foundation from the many other Llandeilos that later sprang up. Since its sixth century foundation Saint Teilo's church has since been rebuilt, the current structures dates to 1850 replacing the previous thirteen century building.
Llandeilo was the seat of a bishopric in the ninth century, but its ecclesiastical importance seems to have declined after that time. The diocese's prized possession, the Gospel Book of Saint Teilo was removed to Lichfield and is know known as the Lichfield Gospels. Both Bishops of Llandaff and St. David's claimed possession of Llandeilo; St. David's won and by the early twelfth century Llandeilo became an ecclesiastic borough, with a charter from Edward I granted in 1290 bestoeing the right to hold an annual fair known as St. Teilo's Fair.
The town was twice burnt and raided by the native Welsh firstly by
Rhys Grug in 1213 and secondly by Owain Glyndwr in 1403, and became an important droving centre during the nineteenth century and once had its own bank that issued its own banknotes distinguished with the emblem of a Black Ox.
Modern Llandeilo remains a thriving market town with attractive narrow streets and old bridge over the river which is claimed to be the largest single span stone bridge in Wales. Nearby attractions include Carreg Cennen Castle, Dinefwr Castle, once the seat of the princes of Deheubarth and the Capability Brown designed Dinefwr Park.
Table of References