The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany has been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain, it is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km². Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC. Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany.
The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire region. At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71 % lived in the region of Brittany. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes and Brest. Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic; the word Brittany, along with its French and Gallo equivalents Bretagne and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin Britannia, which means "Britons' land". This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain, more the Roman province of Britain; this word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη or Βρεττανίαι, used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands around 320 BC.
The Greek word itself comes from the common Brythonic ethnonym reconstructed as *Pritanī, itself from Proto-Celtic *kʷritanoi. The Romans called Brittany Armorica, together with a quite indefinite region that extended along the English Channel coast from the Seine estuary to the Loire estuary, according to several sources, maybe along the Atlantic coast to the Garonne estuary; this term comes from a Gallic word, which means "close to the sea". Another name, was used until the 12th century, it means "wide and flat" or "to expand" and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany: Llydaw. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many Britons settled in western Armorica, the region started to be called Britannia, although this name only replaced Armorica in the sixth century or by the end of the fifth. Authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia minor and Britannia major to distinguish Brittany from Britain. Breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin.
Breton can be divided into the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it and would write it Breih; the official spelling is a compromise with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, a standard which has never been accepted. On its side, Gallo language has never had a accepted writing system and several ones coexist. For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, a couple of other scripts exist. Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic; the first settlers were Neanderthals. This population was scarce and similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe, their only original feature was a distinct culture, called "Colombanian". One of the oldest hearths in the world has been found in Finistère, it is 450,000 years old. Homo sapiens settled in Brittany around 35,000 years ago.
They replaced or absorbed the Neanderthals and developed local industries, similar to the Châtelperronian or to the Magdalenian. After the last glacial period, the warmer climate allowed the area to become wooded. At that time, Brittany was populated by large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers. Agriculture was introduced during the 5th millennium BC by migrants from the east. However, the Neolithic Revolution in Brittany did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills. Neolithic Brittany is characterised by important megalithic production, it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture; the oldest monuments, were followed by princely tombs and stone rows. The Morbihan département, on the southern coast, comprises a large share of these structures, including the Carnac stones and the Broken Menhir of Er Grah in the Locmariaquer megaliths, the largest single stone erected by Neoli
St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo
The St Teilo's Church, is an Anglican parish church in the town of Llandeilo, Wales. The fabric of the building has medieval origins but stands on a much older site and was rebuilt in the early eighteenth century, it was designated as a Grade II listed building on 14 March 1966 This large church is located in Church Street where it is conspicuous, with a large churchyard. As a Christian centre, Llandeilo dates back to the sixth century. Little is known about Saint Teilo, to whom the church is dedicated, but he seems to have travelled around Wales because there are several other churches dedicated to him in other places, he is believed to have made Llandeilo his main base and be buried there, although Llandaff Cathedral has disputed this. There is a legend that after his death, his body was placed in Llandeilo church and three clergy from different churches prayed that he could be buried in their churches. In the morning, three bodies were miraculously found, so that an authentic body could be buried at each church.
The church was designated as a Grade II listed building on 14 March 1966, being listed because it is a fine example of a church of its period, has historic associations. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales curates the archaeological and historic records for this church; these include digital photographs, a collection of old postcards, a Victorian Society South Wales Group Tour Guide, NMR site files and Cadw registered files. Media related to St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo at Wikimedia Commons
St David's Cathedral
St Davids Cathedral is situated in St Davids in the county of Pembrokeshire, on the most westerly point of Wales. The monastic community was founded by Saint David, Abbot of Menevia, who died in 589. Between 645 and 1097, the community was attacked many times by raiders, including the Vikings, however it was of such note as both a religious and intellectual centre that King Alfred summoned help from the monastic community at St Davids in rebuilding the intellectual life of the Kingdom of Wessex. Many of the bishops were murdered by raiders and marauders, including Bishop Moregenau in 999 and Bishop Abraham in 1080; the stone that marked his grave, known as the "Abraham Stone", is intricately carved with early Celtic symbols and now on permanent display within the Cathedral Exhibition at Porth-y-Tŵr. In 1081, William the Conqueror visited St Davids to pray, thus recognised it as a holy and respected place. In 1089, the shrine of David was stripped of its precious metals. In 1090, the Welsh scholar Rhigyfarch wrote his Latin Life of David, highlighting David's sanctity, thus beginning the cult-like status he achieved.
In 1115, with the area under Norman control, King Henry I of England appointed Bishop Bernard as Bishop of St Davids. He began to improve life within the community, commenced construction of a new cathedral. In 1123, Pope Calixtus II granted Bishop Bernard's request to bestow a papal privilege upon St Davids, making it a centre of pilgrimage for the Western world, the Pope decreeing that "Two pilgrimages to St Davids is equal to one to Rome, three pilgrimages to one to Jerusalem"; the new cathedral was constructed and Bishop Bernard consecrated it in 1131. Henry II of England's visit in 1171 saw the following of David increase and the need for a larger cathedral; the present cathedral was completed not long after. Problems beset the new building and the community in its infancy, the collapse of the new tower in 1220 and earthquake damage in 1247/48. Under Bishop Gower the cathedral was modified further, with the rood screen and the Bishops Palace intended as permanent reminders of his episcopacy.
In 1365, Bishop Adam Houghton and John of Gaunt began to build a chantry. He added the cloister, which connects it to the cathedral; the episcopacy of Edward Vaughan saw the building of the Holy Trinity chapel, with its fan vaulting which some say inspired the roof of King’s College, Cambridge. This period saw great developments for the nave, whose roof and Irish oak ceiling were constructed between 1530-40. Bishop Barlow, unlike his predecessor as bishop, wished to suppress the following of David, stripped St David's shrine of its jewels and confiscated the relics of St David and St Justinian in order to counteract "superstition" in 1538. In 1540, the body of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond and father of Henry VII, was brought to be entombed in front of the high altar from the dissolved Greyfriars' Priory in Carmarthen; the establishment of the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell had great effect on many cathedrals and churches felt in St Davids. The cathedral was all but destroyed by Cromwell’s forces and the lead was stripped from the Bishops Palace roof.
The Welsh architect John Nash was commissioned to restore the west front in 1793 to repair the damage done two hundred years previously. Eclectic in style, his work soon proved to be substandard. Within a century the Nash west front had become unstable and the whole building was restored by George Gilbert Scott between 1862 and 1870; the lady chapel was restored by public subscription in 1901 and the eastern chapels were restored through a legacy of the Countess of Maidstone between 1901 and 1910. The cathedral suffered the pains of disestablishment in 1923; the diocese was made smaller by the removal of the Archdeaconry of Brecon to form the new Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. However, this left a large area as a diocese to govern and St Davids began to deteriorate as the centre of the diocese, being nowhere near the centre – the bishop’s residence had been at Carmarthen since the 16th century, but administration and the focus moved from the cathedral to the diocese's now largest town; the 1950s saw the appointment of the Reverend Carl Witton-Davies as dean.
The cathedral began to have life again and the famous Welsh Youth Pilgrimages to St Davids led many to a life of service in the church and provided the Church in Wales with inspired clergy for a decade following. The 1960s saw the restoration of St Mary’s College as the cathedral hall, for the use of the cathedral parish and for use as an area for art exhibitions and poetry readings, it was dedicated by Archbishop Edwin Morris in 1966 and the inaugural event was a poetry reading by the renowned poet R. S. Thomas, who served as a vicar in the Bangor diocese. During the 1980s a number of official events in cathedral life took place: in 1981, Prince of Wales visited to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral; this was the first occasion. In 1989–90, the 1400th anniversar
Llandeilo railway station
Llandeilo railway station serves the small town of Llandeilo, West Wales. The station is 30¾ miles north east of Swansea on the Heart of Wales Line; the station is located below the eastern side of the town beside the River Tywi. Dinefwr Castle is within walking distance; the station was built by the Llanelly Railway, who reached the town from the Llanelli direction in January 1857. An extension on to Llandovery was constructed by the subsidiary Vale of Towy Railway, whilst the branch line to Carmarthen followed in 1864/5 and a direct line to Swansea Victoria along the Gower Peninsula in 1866/7; the following year saw the Central Wales Extension Railway reach Llandovery, putting Llandeilo on a through route to Craven Arms but giving the London and North Western Railway access to the Llanelly company's territory and lines through a new joint lease of the VoTR. The LNWR took full advantage of this and by 1873 had secured full access to & control of the Swansea & Carmarthen routes, leaving the L.
R with only half its peak track mileage & in such a poor financial position that it was forced to lease its remaining lines to the Great Western Railway the same year. Thereafter the LNWR became the main passenger operator, with the Great Western running just a few trains between Llanelli & Llandovery. In its heyday, the station had four platforms serving trains for the Heart of Wales line as well as trains from Carmarthen via the Llandeilo - Abergwili Jcn branch line; the direct line to Swansea Victoria has gone and the surviving passenger trains now run via the old Llanelly Railway main line south of Pontarddulais and the West Wales Line to reach Swansea. The station building has been demolished, between 2008 & the spring of 2010 had only one platform in use as the passing loop here had been temporarily decommissioned due to a lack of spare parts for the point machines; the second platform was reinstated in May 2010 along with the loop following the replacement of the points at both ends with new electrically worked units.
All trains serving the station are operated by Transport for Wales. The station is unstaffed and has only basic amenities - waiting shelters, timetable poster boards and digital CIS screens on each side, along with a customer help point on platform 2. Access for disabled passengers is limited, due to the barrow crossing linking the platforms and steep access ramps. There are four trains a day in each direction southbound to Swansea and northbound to Shrewsbury from Monday to Saturday; the facility to pass northbound and southbound trains is used once each early weekday morning. Two trains each way call on Sundays. Organ, John. Mitchell, Vic, ed. Craven Arms to Llandeilo. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 117-120. ISBN 9781906008352. OCLC 648080889. Train times and station information for Llandeilo railway station from National Rail
A parish church in Christianity is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish. In many parts of the world in rural areas, the parish church may play a significant role in community activities allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events; the church building reflects this status, there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Many villages in Europe have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, but all periods of architecture are represented. In England, the parish church is the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches. Nearly every part of England is designated as a parish, most parishes have an Anglican parish church, consecrated. If there is no parish church, the bishop licenses another building for worship, may designate it as a parish centre of worship; this building is not consecrated, but is dedicated, for most legal purposes it is deemed to be a parish church. In areas of increasing secularisation or shifts in religious belief, centres of worship are becoming more common, larger churches are sold due to their upkeep costs.
Instead the church may use community centres or the facilities of a local church of another denomination. While smaller villages may have a single parish church, larger towns may have a parish church and other smaller churches in various districts; these churches do not have the legal or religious status of'parish church' and may be described by a variety of terms, such as chapel of ease or mission church. The parish church will be the only one to have a full-time minister, who will serve any smaller churches within the parish. In cities without an Anglican cathedral, the parish church may have administrative functions similar to that of a cathedral. However, the diocese will still have a cathedral. In the Catholic Church, as the seat of worship for the parish, this church is the one where the members of the parish must go for baptisms and weddings, unless permission is given by the parish priest for celebrating these sacraments elsewhere. One sign of this is; the Church of Scotland, the established Presbyterian church uses a system of parish churches, covering the whole of Scotland.
In Massachusetts, towns elected publicly funded parish churches from 1780 until 1834, under the Constitution of Massachusetts. Toward the end of the 20th century, a new resurgence in interest in "parish" churches emerged across the United States; this has given rise to efforts like the Slow Church Movement and The Parish Collective which focus on localized involvement across work and church life. Roman Catholic parish church Church of England parish church
Celtic Christianity or Insular Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages. Celtic Christianity has been conceived of with differing levels of specificity: some writers have described a distinct Celtic Church uniting the Celtic peoples and distinguishing them from the Roman Church, while others classify it as a set of distinctive practices occurring in those areas. Varying scholars reject the former notion, but note that there were certain traditions and practices present in both the Irish and British churches that were not seen in the wider Christian world; such practices include: a distinctive system for determining the dating of Easter, a style of monastic tonsure, a unique system of penance, the popularity of going into "exile for Christ". Additionally, there were other practices that developed in certain parts of Britain and Ireland, that were not known to have spread beyond particular regions.
The term denotes the regional practices among the insular churches and their associates, rather than actual theological differences. The term "Celtic Church" is deprecated by many historians as it implies a unified and identifiable entity separate from that of mainstream Western Christendom. For this reason, many prefer the term "Insular Christianity"; as Patrick Wormald explained, "One of the common misconceptions is that there was a Roman Church to which the Celtic Church was nationally opposed."Popularized by German historian Lutz von Padberg, the term "Iroschottisch" is used to describe this supposed dichotomy between Irish-Scottish and Roman Christianity. As a whole, Celtic-speaking areas were part of Latin Christendom at a time when there was significant regional variation of liturgy and structure. Though, a general collective veneration of the Papacy was no less intense in Celtic-speaking areas. Nonetheless, distinctive traditions developed and spread to both Ireland and Britain in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Some elements may have been introduced to Ireland by the Briton St. Patrick, others from Ireland to Britain through the Irish mission system of Saint Columba. However, the histories of the Irish, Scots, Breton and Manx Churches diverge after the 8th century. Interest in the subject has led to a series of "Celtic Christian Revival" movements, which have shaped popular perceptions of the Celts and their religious practices - most notably, Celtomania. People have conceived of "Celtic Christianity" in different ways at different times. Writings on the topic say more about the time in which they originate than about the historical state of Christianity in the early medieval Celtic-speaking world, many notions are now discredited in modern academic discourse. One prominent feature ascribed to Celtic Christianity is that it is inherently distinct from – and opposed to – the Catholic Church. Other common claims include that Celtic Christianity denied the authority of the Pope, was less authoritarian than the Catholic Church, more spiritual, friendlier to women, more connected with nature, more comfortable dealing with Celtic polytheism.
One view, which gained substantial scholarly traction in the 19th century, was that there was a "Celtic Church", a organised Christian body or denomination uniting the Celtic peoples and separating them from the "Roman" church of continental Europe. Others have been content to speak of "Celtic Christianity" as consisting of certain traditions and beliefs intrinsic to the Celts. However, modern scholars have identified problems with all of these claims, find the term "Celtic Christianity" problematic in and of itself. Modern scholarship roundly rejects the idea of a "Celtic Church" due to the lack of substantiating evidence. Indeed, distinct Irish and British church traditions existed, each with their own practices, there was significant local variation within the individual Irish and British spheres. While there were some traditions known to have been common to both the Irish and British churches, these were few; these commonalities did not exist due to the "Celticity" of the regions, but due to other historical and geographical factors.
Additionally, the Christians of Ireland and Britain were not "anti-Roman". Caitlin Corning further notes that the "Irish and British were no more pro-women, pro-environment, or more spiritual than the rest of the Church."Corning writes that scholars have identified three major strands of thought that have influenced the popular conceptions of Celtic Christianity. The first arose in the English Reformation, when the Church of England declared itself separate from papal authority. Protestant writers of this time popularised the idea of an indigenous British Christianity that opposed the foreign "Roman" church and was purer in thought; the English church, they claimed, was not forming a new institution, but casting off the shackles of Rome and returning to its true roots as the indigenous national church of Britain. Ideas of Celtic Christianity were further influenced by the Romantic movement of the 18th century, in particular Romantic notions of the noble savage and the intrinsic qualities of the "Celtic race".
Romantics idealised the Celts as a primitive, bucolic people who were far more poetic and freer of rationalism than their neighbours. The Celts were seen as having an inner spiritual nature that shone through after their form of Christianity had been destroyed by the authoritarian and rational Rome. In the 20th and 21st centuries, ideas about "Celtic Christia