Llantwit Major Local History Society. Founded in 1967, the Society seeks to preserve and promote the great heritage and 1500 year history of the settlement at Llaniltud Fawr (St Illtud’s great church) and the surrounding area. Llantwit Major Local History Society celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2017.
Our annual lecture programme runs from September to April, lectures are given in the Llantonian Hall on the second Wednesday of each month at 7.30 pm., and an April AGM.
The archives held by the Llantwit Major Local History Society contain some original documents, such as diaries, autobiographical accounts and deeds, as well as photocopied documents from other repositories, transcripts and research notes.
St Illtud’s Church
Llantwit Major (in Welsh Llanilltud Fawr) is named as the site of the main church of Illtud, one of the founding Saints of the monastic settlements of the 5th century AD in Wales.
Illtud came to this sheltered valley of Hodnant in the last decades of the 5th century. On the Ogney Brook, a mile inland from the sea, close to the site of the present church he founded his monastery.
At its height this was a major centre for education and evangelism in the revived western church, its influence reaching through Cornwall and Devon to Brittany and beyond, led by the students and successors of Illtud, Samson of Dol, Gildas the Wise and Paul Aurelian. Of the nearly thirty churches dedicated to Illtud almost half are in Brittany.
One thousand five hundred years later the church and the town which grew up round it remain. All traces of Illtud’s monastery are gone. The present church dates from the period 950 to 1400 AD. Other monastic remains come from the same period, while the earliest secular buildings date from the 15th century.
Before Illtud there were of course the Romans as evidenced by the villa at Caer Mead excavated in 1888. After him and his successors came the Normans.
For almost one thousand years Llantwit was a rural backwater controlled by a small number of wealthy families. They have left behind the principal houses of the town, the Ham, Boverton Place, Old Place (all ruined) and some smaller but inhabited survivals, Great House, Plymouth House, the Court House, and two public houses, the Old White Hart and the Old Swan. These latter flank the main town square, facing the 15th century Town Hall.
Only in the 20th century with the arrival of the RAF at St Athan did the town transform itself from a rural community of a thousand or so into a modern dormitory town some 15 times larger.
In the societies archives and in its publications the people and stories of this long history, from “the Legions to the Luftwaffe“, are to be found.
William Abraham (14 June 1842 – 14 May 1922), universally known by his bardic name, Mabon, was a Welsh trade unionist and Liberal/Labour politician
Major Daniel Hopkin MC (July 1886 – 30 Aug 1951) was a British soldier, barrister and Labour Party politician. He was born in Llantwit Major.
Marie Trevelyan was the pen name of Emma Thomas. She became a well known writer by collecting and recording the folklore and the narrated historical accounts of Llantwit Major.
Theophilus Redwood (9 April 1806 – 5 March 1892) was a Welsh pharmacist who was one of the founding members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. He was born in Boverton.