Walk 31: Llantrisant Town Walk: It’s a real ‘Mint’

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2 miles (3.22km)

Time to walk: About 1 hour at a leisurely pace – this is a compact short walk

Difficulty: All on road. A steep hill at the start, but then easy

Parking: We parked in the Gwaun Ruperra car park

Public toilets: None seen, but there’s a coffee shop & pubs

Map of the route: @Rhondda Cynon Taf Heritage Trails

map

Llantrisant (“Parish of the Three Saints”) lies in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales. The three saints of the town’s name are Illtyd, Gwynno, and Dyfodwg.

The old part is a hilltop settlement with magnificent views over the surrounding valleys. The Freemen of Llantrisant have a motto which is ‘A city that us set on a hill cannot be hid”

motto

People have been living in & around Llantrisant for a very long time as evidenced by nearby Bronze Age burial mounds & an Iron Age hill fort.  A settlement has existed on this site from at least the beginning of the 6th century & it was seized around 1246 by Richard de Clare who built Llantrisant Castle

In 1346, Llantrisant was granted a Royal Charter months before the archers from the town helped Edward, the Black Prince, win a victory against the French army at the Battle of Crecy. The Llantrisant longbow men were pivotal in the adoption of the English longbow as the missile weapon of choice for the English crown during the Middle Ages.

It is believed that another tradition, still continued every 7 years, started when the Royal Charter was granted. Called ‘Beating the Bounds’, local children are bounced by elders on the boundary stones of the old borough. The ritual is intended to remind each generation of the importance of the borough boundaries. The children are held under their arms & legs, & their backside is bounced on each of the stones of the old borough. This tradition last took place in June 2010 & is now seen as purely historic

The town is also famous for being home to the Royal Mint

We did this walk on a beautiful late February afternoon &, although time was short, it doesn’t take too long. There’s lots of history here so…

Let’s Walk!

1. The walk starts from Gwaun Ruperra car park where it’s worth spending a few minutes reading the excellent information board which gives a timeline of Llantrisant’s history

Turning left out of the car park we head up the hill towards the centre of the town…

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This is a very narrow & quite busy road so we’d suggest using the steps on the right, although be careful as some of these are quite steep (especially on the way back down)…

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2. We’ve already said that the town’s sat on top of a hill so it’s worth turning round to admire the view back down…

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Llantrisant’s centre is full of colourful shops & pubs…

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3. If you fancy an early stop, on the left’s The Butcher’s Arms Gallery & Coffee Shop & also the first of several pubs, The Bear

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Everywhere was decked out ready for the Six Nations game between Wales & France the following weekend

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4. The area we’ve now arrived at is called The Bull Ring which is the focal point of this town & there’s more information boards with interesting facts

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We're not going down this way, but it's not a bad view!

We’re not going down this way, but it’s not a bad view!

The Bull Ring was the focal point of the town & is named because it was where dogs were set upon a tethered bull for sport. Luckily the practice was eventually banned here in 1827….unfortunately not because of the cruelty to animals, but because of the unruly behaviour of the local watching crowds

5. It’s not that big but there’s lots of history & tradition around here, the focal point is a statue…

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This is Dr William Price who was one of the town’s best known residents. He was an eccentric surgeon, chartist, scholar & druid who pioneered the legislation of cremation in the UK. It all evolved around a court case concerning his baby son, ‘Iesu Grist’

When the man himself died at the ripe old age of 94 over 20,000 people came to witness his cremation

We told you this place had history…

6. The Bull Ring’s a really interesting place with some eclectic shops…

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7. To the rear of the Bull Ring is its most prominent building…The Model House

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The first workhouse in Glamorgan opened in Llantrisant in May 1784

The Union Workhouse was built in 1884 on the Bull Ring & became known as The Model House, in the rather optimistic belief that its inmates would lead a life of model Christianity. Two pubs, a shop and a cottage were demolished to make way for the expansion of the workhouse

The building closed as a workhouse in the early 1900s & first became a boarding house, then an inn & later a general store, called County Stores. The site was bought in the 1950s by ‘Planet Gloves’, who manufactured gloves there until the late 1960 & the building then stood empty for many years before being bought by the local authority to convert into a craft & design centre

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In 1989 the Model House re-opened as a craft and design centre, but then closed in December 2009 after the company which ran it, Model House Ltd, went into liquidation

The management of the building was taken over by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, who after tackling structural problems with the roof and outer walls reopened the centre in mid 2010

8. To continue this walk head up George Street on the left side of The Model House towards the house on the left with the blue plaque…

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There it is…

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There was a weighing house or Pwysty on this site since medieval times which ensured that the goods weighed at the market were true. The town scales were also kept here

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The building was once know as The Angel Inn…this town has, or did have, its fair share of drinking establishments…

9. After having a look at the plaque take a few steps back & head up the left side of this building through the gate below…

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This is an area with lots of history, containing The Guildhall & the remnants of the Castle…

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10. The Heritage Trail tells us that The Guildhall was used for the ‘Hundred Court’ from which local justice was handed out & disputes settled. The building dates from 1773…

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11. This place is known as Castle Green – the stocks are still here…

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…as, on the right, is the Memorial Stone…

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This is the memorial to the Longbowmen we mentioned earlier

12. Ahead of us now are the remnants of Llantrisant Castle

IMG_8348Only one wall of the raven tower remains. Although initially as a wooden fortification, it was rebuilt as a stone structure around 1246 by Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan

It was famously used as an overnight prison for King Edward II in 1326

In 1294 the castle was damaged during the uprising against the Norman overlords, led by Madog ap Llywelyn, & again in 1316 by Llywelyn Bren. It is believed that the castle was destroyed in 1404 by Owain Glyndŵr though there is no written proof of the event. John Leland reported the castle as ruined in his writings in 1536

You can get a really good view about how high we are by the steps down the side…

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13. Exit through the gate on the right near the Memorial Stone…

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…to arrive at the oldest street in the town, cobbles ‘n’ all, Yr Allt. Have a look to the left & take in the fantastic view over the valley…

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14. Our path though lies straight across & through another gate to the Church…

Note the cobbles

Note the cobbles

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15. The Church is dedicated to the 3 Saints we mentioned earlier & dates back to 11th century. It’s worth spending some time looking around the Church & amazing, very old, graveyard…

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16. To leave the Church head for the gate in the corner…

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The chapel above is interesting &, if you go through the gate on the left there’s another graveyard…

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17. Coming back out of the gate over the road’s 4 cottages in Swan Street were used as the Parish Workhouse from 1784…

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Apparently these workhouses treated their people better as they were funded from parish funds

18. We now turn right along Swan Street to head back towards the Bull Ring…

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…& that looks like a pretty good butchers shop on the left…

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19. Next door to the butchers is a car park with fine views over the other side of the valleys…

IMG_8392On the wall are gravestones from a Wesleyan Chapel that was once located here…

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20. Continue along Swan Street past the Llantrisant Working Mens Club…

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Bet The Rev's been here...

Bet The Rev’s been here…

…& we’re soon entering the Bull Ring again…

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More pubs!

More pubs!

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21. All we have to do now is turn right back down the hill to where we left the car, enjoying the magnificent view…

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So that’s the end of a very short, but interesting walk around the centre of a traditional Welsh valley town

There’s a lot of history here so it’s really worth doing some research before visiting, otherwise you’ll be round in 15 minutes!

It’s a lovely little place so…

Go Walk!

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