"Llantrisant today slumbers through time on its hilltop, but its heart still beats to the martial drum of history."
In 1346, the archers of Llantrisant serving under Edward Prince of Wales rendered invaluable service to the English King in his wars against the French. At the battle of Crecy, it was the superior range of the Welsh longbow which allowed the archers to destroy the French army and a grateful King Edward III then granted a charter to the men of Llantrisant and their descendants giving them the right to graze cattle on Llantrisant Common free of all taxes in perpetuity, a right which still exists today under the watchful eye of the Llantrisant Town Trust.
But for Llantrisant, 1346 is but a landmark in a much longer history, the town being one of the oldest in Wales.
"...a centre for the production, exhibition and sale of crafts..."
The main square is called the Bullring, a partly cobbled area opening off the main road through the town. Until 1827 the Bull Ring was used for bull baiting, and is dominated by the Model House. Originally the Workhouse where inmates were expected to lead a "model life" , the Model House now houses a centre for the production, exhibition and sale of crafts of all kinds, and crafts can also be seen nearby at the Butchers Arms Gallery.
Just below the main entrance to the Model House there is a statue to Dr William Price, the eccentric surgeon and scholar who paved the way for legalised cremation of the dead by the simple method of selling tickets to the cremation ceremony of his deceased infant son.
Fronting onto the Bull Ring itself are several delightful shops, including a traditional general sore, a restorer of dolls and teddy bears and the Bakehouse Pottery Studio. Stroll up the hill beyond the Bull Ring and the streets are lined with charming 18th and early 19th century cottages. The thirteenth century church is dedicated to Saints Gwynno, Illtyd and Tyfodwg who are commemorated in the town's name, which means "Church of Three Saints", whilst the castle was also built in the thirteenth century by Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan. All that remains of the castle is a broken tower and a section of wall, but the Castle Green is a pleasant place to rest, and is also the site of the Guildhall of 1777, now the headquarters of the Town Trust.
"Church of Three Saints", Llantrisant
From every street corner there are wide views out over the rolling country of the Vale of Glamorgan or north to the higher hills of the Rhondda, whilst at the foot of Llantrisant's abrupt escarpment is the modern shopping centre at Talbot Green, the complete antithesis of the ancient town above, for here are the superstores of many major chains, surrounded by acres of car parks.
"...the streets are lined with charming 18th and early 19th century cottages."