Explore Llanrhidian Vilage
Llanrhidian village is located on the northern coast of the Gower peninsula overlooking the Loughor estuary and Burry inlet. The village nestles on the side of a limestone escarpment that leads down to the salt marsh and benefits from many spectacular estuary views. The center of the village is a designated conservation area and the surrounding landscape is agricultural in nature. Llanrhidian is the parochial centre of the local area that encompasses a number of hamlets and remote farms. The 2001 census reveals that the parish had 207 households and a population of 537.
Llanrhidian gives its name to the salt marsh that is the most prominent feature of Gower’s north coastline and this unspoiled area is an internationally recognised wildlife and bird habitat.
The area produces several delicacies but two of the best known give a unique interpretation of the Turf and Surf genre. The turf is the salt marsh lamb from the sheep that graze Llanrhidian marsh and the surf are the cockles that are gathered from the beds further out in the estuary, beyond the marsh.
Archiological evidence shows that Lanrhidian was first settled in the prehistoric period and there is documentary evidence that shows a well established Christian settlement during the early medieval period. The first church was established by St Rhidian in the 6th century, and later dedicated to St Illtyd. Part of the present building dates from the 13th century and the chancel and the tower are thought to have been added in the 14th century. The unusual massive construction of the tower, which includes at its top a base for a beacon fire, suggests construction at a time when defence was paramount. During the 19th and early 20th century the knave was rebuilt (1855-185) and the chancel was refurbished (1899-1901).
An ancient carved stone known as the Leper stone can be found inside the church’s porch. It was found near the tower in 1865 and moved to its present location in 1910. There is some conjecture about its origins and some believe that it may be of Viking origin and possibly a "Hog's Back" tomb covering. It dates to the 9th or 10th century and it is most probably a lintel from the original pre Norman church. Set into the church's gate post are two memorial plaques from the lost village of Llanelen which are perhaps best left untouched given their reputation for being cursed. The story goes that in the 17th century the villagers went to the aid of seven surviving sailors stranded when their vessel foundered on Gower coast. Unfortunately the sailors were infected with plague which spread and wiped out the entire village population.
Many of the older buildings in the village can trace their origins back to medieval times. These include the water mills and the Dolphin Inn.
Records show that milling at Nether Mill (rebuilt 1803) was carried out as early as 1323. The woollen mill at Staffel Haegr is thought to have started operating c.1820.
Limestone quarrying and lime production in the village dates to the 17th century. There are two quarry sites, a small one in the hillside behind Hill House and a larger one (almost directly above) on top of Llanrhidian hill.
The coastal footpath, that runs behind Hill House, leads to the fortified Norman manor house known as Weobley castle. It's a 1.6 km (1 mile) walk through the woods and fields between the hill and the salt marsh. Return via Old Walls and visit the Grayhound public house.
- Hill House, Llanrhidian, Swansea, SA3 1ER
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