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Newport Branch

Newport Branch, 2023 April 25

Dean Powell : ‘Llantrisant: Ancient Historic Hilltop Town’

We welcomed back Dean Powell for maybe the fourth time as our speaker. This time he reached outside Gwent to Glamorgan and his home town, Llantrisant. Most of us know this as the home of the Royal Mint but he revealed much more.

It has long been inhabited with evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age remains before the building (or at least full fortification) of Llantrisant Castle by Richard de Clare in about 1246. Hugh Despenser the Younger married into the de Clare family and became the Lord of Glamorgan, the Chamberlain and favourite of King Edward II. A revolt by Llywelyn Bren against Despenser destroyed Llantrisant Castle. Later both Hugh Despenser and his king suffered horrible executions.

In 1346 at the Battle of Crecy long bow archers from Llantrisant (the so called Black Army) won the day for the Black Prince. Recently Llantrisant and the town of Crecy have been twinned. In the same year of 1346 Llantrisant was granted its Charter and subsequently- right up to date, this has been celebrated by the ‘Beating the Bounds’ ceremony every seven years. As a result of the Charter a community of Freemen was created with considerable powers and responsibilities. Even today the community still functions, although in perhaps a more ceremonial fashion.

The Guild Hall near the Castle ruins, has recently been renovated and turned into an Arts Centre and Heritage Centre. The pride of place in the museum goes to the Llantrisant Mace which dates from 1633 and is even older that that of the Houses of Parliament. Since its estimated value is £80,000 only the replica can be on display.

Other points mentioned were the Llantrisant Church (correctly the Church of St Illtyd, St Gwynno and St Dyfodwg- which explains the name of the town Llantrisant (Church of Three Saints). Also we heard about the two most famous Llantrisant men- David Evans (the first Welsh born Mayor of London) and Dr William Price ( the pioneer who introduced the practice of cremation)

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