Introduction

Thanks to John Hainsworth for information in the Llangynog History section.

The village of Llangynog (named after the Celtic Saint Cynog) stands where the Rivers Eirth and Tanat meet, near the head of the Tanat Valley. A quiet place with a population of under 300, it was once a thriving centre for mining and quarrying and home to over 2000 people.

A hundred years ago it was important enough to have its own railway. There were four pubs, five or six shops and three chapels, and like most villages Llangynog had many tradesmen who made it largely self-sufficient.

Today quarrying has ceased and the shops have gone but the village still offers a church, two functioning chapels and two inns as well as a fine Memorial Hall. In a beautiful setting in the heart of the Berwyn it retains much of its distinctive atmosphere and character as well as evidence of its long history.

Welsh was the first language of most Llangynog residents until well into the 20th Century, and it is still widely spoken among local people. With the influx of English speakers there has been some decline, though some have made impressive progress as learners.

Ysgol Pennant and Llanfyllin High School provide a bilingual education and the primary pupils in particular have enjoyed great success at eisteddfod events. Welsh language services are maintained at the chapels, Llangynog residents sing with the well known Penybontfawr Male Voice Choir and frequent cultural events are held at the Memorial Hall.

Prehistory

Llangynog lies in the shadow of Craig Rhiwarth (height 532m.), known locally as Craig y Llan – the Village Rock. On its summit is an iron age hillfort, one of the highest in Wales, defended to the north by a long stone rampart and occupying an area of 24 ha. It contains the remains of many circular stone structures thought to be late prehistoric houses.

Settlement may have begun in the late bronze age in association with copper mining: a bronze axe was found near the village in the 19th century. The hilltop is best approached from Cwm Orog, half a mile up the Bala Road.