Llandeilo is named after one of the better-known Celtic saints of the 6th century, Saint Teilo. The Welsh word llan signified a monastery or a church. Saint Teilo, who was a contemporary of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, established a clas (a small monastic settlement) on the site of the present-day parish church.
Although there is very little factual detail about the life of Saint Teilo, it appears that he was highly respected in his lifetime, and revered after his death: there are 45 places dedicated to him, some as far afield as Brittany.
After Saint Teilo’s death, two equally important ecclesiastical centres in Wales, Llandaff Cathedral and St David’s Cathedral, laid claim to his body. There is reasonable evidence to suggest, however, that Saint Teilo was buried in Llandeilo. The parish church of Llandeilo Fawr (“Great Llandeilo”) is dedicated to Saint Teilo, and until 1880 its churchyard encompassed his baptistery.
The early Christian settlement that developed around the Saint Teilo’s Church prospered, and by the early 9th century it had attained considerable ecclesiastical status as the seat of a Bishop-Abbot. The Church of St Teilo soon became a ‘mother church’ to the surrounding district, acquiring an extensive estate, and possessing one of Wales’ most beautiful and finely illustrated manuscripts – the Gospel Book of Saint Teilo. The discovery of fragments of two large Celtic crosses from this period provides further testimony to Llandeilo’s importance and indeed prestige as an early ecclesiastical centre.
Towards the end of the 9th century, the importance of Llandeilo as a spiritual centre had started to decline and the Gospel Book of St Teilo was removed to Lichfield Cathedral, where it became commonly known as the Lichfield Gospels or the Book of Saint Chad. The Bishops of Lichfield still use this manuscript to swear allegiance to the Crown.
Dinefwr Castle (anglicized as Dynevor) is a spectacular Welsh castle overlooking the River Tywi near the town. It lies on a ridge on the northern bank of the Tywi, with a steep drop of about 250 feet (76 m) to the river. Dinefwr was the chief seat of the kingdom of Deheubarth.
The foundations of two castra have been discovered in the grounds of the Dinefwr estate, which is in the custody of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty. The estate of Golden Grove lies near the town, and further away, the impressive Carreg Cennen Castle, another Welsh stronghold. The remains of Talley Abbey can be seen 6 miles (9.7 km) away to the north of the town. 10 miles (16 km) further north are the remains of the Roman Dolaucothi Gold Mines, another National Trust property.
Credit: information source: Wikipedia
Photos: That_Welsh_Git (Me Wolfie)