The history of Llanarmon-yn-Ial is undoubtedly ancient. Stone Age finds suggesting occupation many thousands of years ago have been discovered in caves in the village, and that the area has enjoyed a varied and important past is unarguable. Recorded history begins with the Norwich Taxation of 1254, in which the village is evocatively recorded as, ‘Sancto Garmano’, linking the area to St Germanus of Auxerre (commonly known as St Garmon). By 1314, the village has been ascribed its commotal name, ‘Thlanharmon in Yal’, and this in itself is an indication of the importance of this area, both politically and ecclesiastically.
It is probable that Llanarmon-yn-Ial was the capital of the commote of Yale, and that the dedication of the church to St Garmon reflects this, as well as a very early Medieval foundation. The churchyard, of which more is discussed in the entry for the Church of St Garmon, is raised and circular which certainly suggests a pre-Conquest date, and very possibly a pre-Christian foundation. The much debated Ffynnon Garmon, wherever it may actually be, would also suggest a pre-Christian foundation. As an ecclesiastical centre, or ‘clas’, it would certainly have been a ‘mother church’.
In, ‘The Archaeology of Clwyd’, Professor Glanville Jones argues that the church is also the site of a ‘maerdrefi, a bond settlement called, ‘Tre’r Llan’, with the lord’s manor at the time centred on Tomen y Faerdre, referred to in the, ‘Extent of Bromfield and Yale’ in 1315. It is thus extremely probable that Llanarmon-yn-Ial was the site of a llys, a court of some considerable importance. It would be interesting to discover the role played by the recent discovery of a rectangular outline of a building near to Plas-isaf. This may, or may not substantiate the late Professor Jones theories, which at the time of his death were beginning to gain more and more credence.
The network of roads and lanes around the village is very interesting. It seems, despite alterations over time, that the church was a focal point on a route between Valle Crucis Abbey to the south and the northern ecclesiastical sites of Basingwerk Abbey and St Winefride’s Well in the north.