Llanrwst is a small town and community on the A470 road and the River Conwy in Conwy County Borough, Wales. It takes its name from the 5th century to 6th century Saint Grwst, and the original parish church in Cae Llan was replaced by the 12th-century church.
The growth of the town in the 13th century was considerably aided by an edict by Edward I of England, who built Conwy Castle, prohibiting any Welshman from trading within of that town. Llanrwst, located some from Conwy, was therefore strategically placed to benefit from this.
The population of the town was 3,037 and 65% of the inhabitants were Welsh speakers according to the 2001 Census.
The town grew around wool, and indeed for a long time the price of wool for the whole of Britain was set here. Llanrwst also became renowned for harp manufacture, but today, lying as it does in Snowdonia, its main industry aside that of being a market town is tourism.
It is served by two railway stations, Llanrwst and North Llanrwst, on the Conwy Valley Line (which once terminated here, before being extended to Betws-y-Coed in 1867 and Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1879). It was originally envisaged that the railway would pass closer to the river (on the site of today's Central Garage), and the one-time grand-looking Victoria Hotel was therefore built opposite the bridge in anticipation of this. Had the railway line been built on the west shore of the river Conwy, as originally planned (to serve the inland port of Trefriw, located across the river from Llanrwst), it is unlikely that Llanrwst would ever have achieved its present status. Indeed, at one time Llanrwst was the eighth largest town in Wales, its population being greater than that of Cardiff.
A major feature is the narrow three-arch stone bridge, Pont Fawr. It is said to have been designed by Inigo Jones and it was built in 1636 by Sir John Wynn of Gwydir Castle. The bridge connects the town with Gwydir, a manor house dating from 1492, the fifteenth-century courthouse known as Tu Hwnt i'r Bont and also with the road from nearby Trefriw. Originally built to carry horses and carts, the bridge has stood up well to modern traffic, not to mention the regular floods.
In 1610 Sir John Wynn of Gwydir constructed the historic Llanrwst Almshouses to house poor people of the parish. The buildings closed in 1976, but were restored in 1996 with the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, reopening as a museum of local history and a community focal point. The museum currently holds a collection of over a hundred items relating largely to the rural Conwy valley, and a number of items are associated with the renowned Llanrwst Bards of the late nineteenth century.
The Gwydir Forest lies to the south west of the town, beyond the bridge.
History & "Independence"