Many place names on Anglesey begin with a prefix "Llan". LLan means an encosed area or parish. Generally speaking, Welsh places are named after churches and the churches are named after local saints. The term saints was applied loosely to individuals who had lived an exemplary life or perhaps founded a church.
Anglesey is an island which is rich in history and folklore. Our sewing patterns are named after local landmarks, saints and folklore characters.
The river Alaw rises at Llanerch-y-medd and flows northwards into the reservoir of Llyn Alaw. Below the dam it then flows south west to the west coast of the island. It is said that Branwen (from the Maginogion) died from grief at the mouth of the river Alaw.
Branwen the daughter of Llyr is a major character in the second branch of the Mabinogion. She was married to Matholwch, the King of Ireland but the warring between the Welsh and the Irish results in her loosing her family and she dies from her grief shortly after her rescue to bring her home.
The river Cefni is one of the major rivers on the island. The river starts at Llyn Cefni and flows south west to Malltraeth and out into the Irish sea.
Dwynwen (5th century)
Dwynwen is believed to have been a daughter of King Brychan Brycheinog. She fell in love with Maelyn who rejected her advances. An angel provided Dwynwen with a potion which Maelyn drank and was turned into ice. Dwynwen prayed to God for Maelyn to be released and for God to look after all true lovers. Dwynwen retreated to the solitude of Ynys Llanddwyn of the west coast of Anglesey and became a hermit. January the 25th is celebrated in Wales as St Dwynwen's day as she is the patron saint of lovers.
Eilian (6th century)
Eilian was sent to the island by the pope as a missionary. The Prince of Gwynedd stole Eilian's cattle and in retaliation, Eilian struck the prince blind. The prince showed some remorse and in return for his sight, would give Eilian the amount of land that his deer could cover before being brought down by the prince's hounds. Eilian restored the prince's sight and released his deer who sped across the fields. The dogs kept chase but the deer was able to leap across a large gorge. This resulted in Eilian gaining a large amount of land and he became known as a healer of eye ailments. The gorge near Amlwch is still known in Welsh as 'Llam y carw' (Deer's Leap).
The Menai straits or Afon Menai (Menai river) as it is known locally, is a sea channel that separates Anglesey from mainland Wales.
Mona is a small hamlet on the Isle of Anglesey. It is also the name given to the Isle of Anglesey by the Romans.
Tegfan (6th century)
Tegfan was born in Wales to refugee parents. His father was from the north of the British isles and his mother was from Brittany. Tegfan established a cell in the villiage that is now named after him; Llandegfan. The church at Llandegfan was recorded in 1254.