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St Illtyd, Blaenau Gwent
St Illtyd is a hamlet near Aberbeeg in the county of Blaenau Gwent, South Wales. It is bordered by Abertillery to the north, Llanhilleth to the south, Abersychan to the east and Aberbeeg to the west. One kilometre to the west is the Ebbw river, whilst the smaller Ebbw Bach river flows around 1.5km north of St Illtyd. The two rivers meet at Aberbeeg before the Ebbw river joins the Usk at the Severn Estuary.
The hamlet is home to the oldest building in north west Blaenau Gwent, its magnificent church which also goes by the same name. St Illtyd's Church was originally a wooden structure built during the 5th century, the stone building is believed to have been built some time during the ninth or tenth century. However, during the 12th century Cistercian monks decided to rebuild the church. Later in the 19th century a bell tower was erected and the beautiful cradle ceiling was created. St Illtyd's church was first dedicated to St Hylledd, but it is unclear why the dedication was then changed to St Illtyd. The church is well worth a visit to admire its attractive ceilings, tower and stone work. An ancient mound can be found around half a kilometre to the west of the hamlet. Although it is unclear what the mound is, it is believed that it is an ancient motte and originally there would have been a bailey surrounding it. However, others believe it is the grave of a warrior from long ago. The fairy tale world would have it that it is related to the giant Ithel who was collecting stones in his apron in order to build a home in Llanhilleth. Suddenly his apron strings broke loose and the stones dropped onto the ground. Whatever the truth surrounding the mound, it is still a fascinating place to visit.

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