What’s in a name?
Well, exactly 58 letters, if the name happens to be Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest place name in the United
Kingdom and one of the longest village names in the world.
the island of Anglesey in northwest Wales, the village was first known by the
somewhat shorter Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, but acquired the longer moniker as a
way to draw railway tourists in the 1860s. The 19th-century strategy
has been paying dividends since, as travellers keep journeying to the place for
photo-ops next to the oversized railway station sign.
The sign is
hardly the only draw of Llanfairpwll, or Llanfair PG as locals call it. The
railway station itself was restored to look as it did in its Victorian heyday,
and a James Pringle Weavers shop showcases two Welsh-built steam locomotive
engines as well as Welsh gifts and crafts. On the outskirts of town, The Marquess of Anglesey’s Column stretches 27m high in honour of the
Marquess Henry Paget, who lost a leg in the battle of Waterloo. Both the
Anglesey countryside and the nearby Menai Strait can be seen from the top of
the column’s 115 steps.
Only a few
steps away sits the St Mary’s parish for which Llanfair PG was in part named (the
full name translated from Welsh is “St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white
hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave”).
The eponymous St Tysilio church,
constructed in the 15th Century, sits on Church Island in the Menai
Strait, just off the shore of Anglesey. No
one today can find the red cave, however, and the white hazels at St Mary’s
have long been replaced by oak and elm trees.
village name, made its way onto a Monopoly board in October 2011. The Anglesey edition of the game was released late last year to
capitalize on the newfound attention the island received as a result of Prince
William and Kate making their first home there. William is stationed at the Royal
Air Force base on the island, only 27km northwest of Llanfair PG. While the
game makers were tempted to use the shorter name, the long version won out, even
though it took five lines of space to fit all the letters on the standard