Geraint welcomed another large gathering, with particular reference to some new members.
Dorothy Baynham is a retired Civil Servant
Graham Cox lives in the house beside where Tom Price had his workshop
Paula and Alison are neighbours and live at Trewern
Marion presented Geraint and the group with a book she had obtained – Hidden Heritage – Potters Guide, She felt that this would be a great asset to the group.
Alan brought members attention to a new U3A initiative – Curious Traveller. This is a joint initiative by Aberystwyth and Cardiff Universities and will include educational visits to gardens and castles in Wales. It is being launched in Wrexham but the administrative site will be at Hay.
Alan mentioned 2 other U3A initiatives coming up in the next month. One on astronomy, and a reading and discussion event on Abbey cwm Hyr.
Derek told the group that the War Memorial site is to get an upgrade. The Memorial itself is to be cleaned and the lettering repaired. The access to the garden will also have an upgrade to make it disability friendly.
A QR Code is to be fixed at the gate to give instant access to Historical information via the internet. Geraint has looked at the information available and is pleased that they have traced some new facts. Some do have tenuous links to the village. One person from Llanbister referred to Penybont Station as his address, for example.
Main Topic: Local Place Names and their Meaning – Rochard Davies
Bore Da – Good morning, though literally it means Morning good.
In accepting Geraint’s kind invitation to take on this subject Richard had not expected it to be quite so challenging.
He has read several publications on the subject:
- He was almost overwhelmed by the 1958 publication on the subject, that was prepared by “The Languages and Literature Committee of the Board of Celtic Studies”, of the University of Wales”.
- Then there was “Welsh Place Names and their Meaning” by Dewi Davies (1976)
- And, of course “Radnorshire” by WH House (1947)
- But the real challenge was “The Original Place Names in Wales . Monmouthshire (1887)
Quite heavy stuff!!!
Richard then explored a map of Wales pcking out some of the key towns and cities:
Newport Casnewydd-ar-wysg Port entrance
Cadiff Caerdydd Fort/castle
Porthcawl Porthcawl Harbour gateway
Swansea Abertawe Mouth of R. Tawe
Kidwelly Cydweli Union/Junction
Tenby “` Dynbych-y-posgod Fishing fort/area
St David Tyddewi House of David
Fishguard Abergwaun Sheltered Mouth
Cardigan Aberteifi Mouth of Teifi river
Newquay Cai Newydd New Structure
Aberystwyth Aberystwyth Mouth of R. Ystwth
Caernarfon Caernarfon Castle Field
Holyhead Caergybi Castle Field!
Bangor Bangor Monastic College
Colwyn Bay Bae Colwyn Bay of Colwyn
Holywell Treffynnon Town of Waterfall
Flint y Fflint Rock
Radnorshire Sir Maesyfed Rich Water Meadow
The Welsh Language in Radnorshire
Today very little Welsh is spoken by the natives of Radnorshire, unless, perhaps it is spoken in a few remote homesteads on the Cardiganshire/Ceredigion border. Yet at the beginning of the 18th century Welsh was the popular language of the County and almost universally spoken.
To find out what happened it is necessary to understand what was happening in the middle of the 15th century when Presteigne became the centre for the Courts of the Council for Wales and the Marches. This eventually carried out all its official business in English. The officials that were appointed to manage proceedings were increasingly English. The Welsh gentry, as a result, began to communicate in English to the exclusion of Welsh, and this set the scene for Welsh being seen as a ‘lesser’ language than English, and its gradual decline.
George Barrow, either the Civil Servant or the Geologist, not sure which, stayed in Presteigne, and it is said that he asked the Maid of the Radnorshire Arms if Presteigne was in England or Wales. The Reply was allegedly: “Neither Sir, it is in Radnorshire.”
Another significant contributor to the decline in the use of the Welsh language was the role played by the Established Church following the Reformation. The Parishes of Presteigne and New Radnor, taking in Old Radnor and the Chapelries of Kinnerton and Evenjob, remained in the Diocese of Hereford, and they only appointed English speaking Parsons.
By 1730 an enormous change could be noticed; all of the above named Parishes held their services in English, and this also included the Parishes of Beguildy and Heyop. All of the churches east of this line had English services.
The impact of the decline in the use of the Welsh language can be seen in the names given to farms. Many of these dropped the use of the old Welsh names in favour of English names, and by the middle of the 17th century the pre-Norman Welsh names for towns started to change.
e.g. Knighton was previously called Tref-y-Clawdd, which meant town of the dyke.
Old Radnor was called Pen Craig, meaning summit of the rock
New Radnor was called Maesyfed, with two possible derivations – territory of Hyfraid (a 6th century Welsh Chiefton) of a field that was easy to reap, a fertile field)
Up to 1745 most churches had Welsh Prayer Books and Bibles but Llandrindod, Llanfiangel Helygen, and Llanddewi Ystradenny had no Welsh Prayer Books or Bibles.
There were exceptions however and the members of Glencwm Parish petitioned the Bishop to remove the existing Vicar because “he could not officiate in the tongue understanded by the people.” He was in fact replaced by a Welsh speaker.
By the latter half of the 18th century the Welsh language was still spoken but the decline continued, and with the improvements to roads, and the coming of the railway, most Parishes saw Welsh banished. St Harmon was an exception however. A social divide became apparent. The Radnorshire Gentry almost entirely spoke English, whereas the country folk preferred to speak Welsh. In a report of 1910 and elderly woman from Radnorshire (93 years) spoke no Welsh, her parents both spoke Welsh but preferred to speak English, by contrast her grandparents were also bilingual but preferred to speak Welsh.
The Rev Dr Jordan, Rector of Llanbadarnfawr, published the following piece in 1926 on:
“The Decay of the Welsh Language
It is thought that the introduction history of dissent was the cause of the decay of the Welsh Language in the Parish and the County, for it is known that the pioneers of the different sects, such as Methodists, Independent Baptists, Wesleyans, and Quakers were English-speaking people and came from England, tough some of the sects were foreign in their origin, as for example, the Baptists came from Holland and Germany to England. The Calvanists Methodists originated in Geneva in Switzerland and came to England, and the Wesleyans, Independents and Quakers came directly from England.
If dissent was really the means of causing the decay of the beautiful old Welsh language in this county in the 18th century, it is, perhaps, remarkable that the 20th century should witness the decay of that very dissent itself, at all events, in the country parishes of Radnorshire, and the Church of Wales, which was in existence eighteen hundred years ago, becoming once more the Church of the people. How true is the old saying: “Man made the Chapel, but God made the Church,””
In 1936 Welsh was spoken by farmers in Cwmdauddwr who lived on the Cardiganshire border. Welsh hymns were sung at certain services in the parish church.
Before engaging with members on place names Richard referred to Welsh surnames with the following accounting for more than 80% of the local population:
His own name, Davies, is probably the most common, then Jones; Lloyd; Powell; Price; Pugh; Williams; Bowen; Griffiths; Hughes; Lewis; Meredith; Morgan; Owens; Phillips; Pritchard; Probert; Prosser; Roberts; and Thomas.
Then to a lesser extent:
Bufton; Hamer; Havard; Mills; Morris; Stephens and Watkins.
Practically every place name in Welsh has a meaning, with this applying to: towns; villages; mountains; valleys; lakes; rivers; farms; and fields.
Sometimes it requires a little imagination and some ingenuity to arrive at the meaning of Radnorshire names. Many have become ‘unstuck’ under the influence of the English tongue. Welsh pronunciations, more often than not, have more have more affinity to French and Latin.
A particular feature of the Welsh Language is the tendency to mutate the initial consonants of words, for example:
Father – tad
My father – my nhad
His father – ei dad
Her father – ei thad
Penybont Names: Head of the Bridge (Bridgend)
Pont Rhyd y Cleifion Bridge by the field of the wounded/lepers/invalids
Ty Fair Mary’s House
Bryn Ithon Looking over the Ithon
Bryn Hyfryd Pleasant slope
Haulfryn Sunny slope
Dol Swydd Meadow where people work
Coed Swydd Wood where people work
Swydd Administrative centre (where)
Coed Mawr Farm Farm with large trees
Llandegley Church of St Tecla?
Trewern Settlement on a rough meadow or Common
Gernargllywdd Lord of the Alder
Castell Crug Eryr Castle of the Eagles Nest/Crag
Tynllan House by the church
Cellws Small monastic cell
Llanbadarnfawr Large Church of St Peter
Cefn Llys Behind
Neuadd Court House
Cym Brith Valley of
Common parts of names:
Allt Hillside or wood
Bettws House of prayer
Bwlch pass or gateway
Hafren Summer residence
Meslyn Peat bog
Powys Tribal name derived from pau – country
Rhayader Anglicised version of Rhaeadyr – waterfall
Tal end of
Richard also found Dr. Jordan’s “History pf the Church and Parish of Llanbadarnfawr had many local names with notes as to their origins, this is reproduced below:
Bayley Glas Probably ‘Beilli Glas” – the Green Mound
Betting bach Little – Hand cut sods for burning
Blaenycwm Top of the dingle
Blaenycymmawr Top of the green dingle
Blaenyplwyf End, or top, of thr Parish
Bryncrech Rugged hill
Bryncwtta From ‘cwta’ – short; Short Hill
Bryngwyn White Hill or Fair Or Blessed Hill
Brynhafod Upland summer dwelling
Brynhunlle The glowing hill
Brynllefrith The variegated or motley bank
Brynllugoed Probably “Brynllwydcoed” Ridge of the grey wood
Brynllwyd Grey Hill
Bryn Maurig Probably “Brynmeirydd” Steward’s Hill
Brynoveth Should be “Brynhafaidd” Summer like hill
Brynyffin Boundary Hill
Bwlch y diars Probably “Bwlch y dias” Windy Gap
Cabin Should be “caban” A cottage or booth
Cae cleifion Lepers field
Clewedog Should be “Clywedog” the humming stream
Cwmtrallwn Probably “Cwmtrafwnc” draughty dingle; or
“Cwmtrallwngc” quagmire dingle
Cwmroches Probably “Cwmrhocas” Dingle youth
Cwmyrhendy The old house dingle
Cwm Ferin Should be “Cwm merin” the trickling dingle
Dildre Probably “Dol-dir” meadow land
Dol Fallen Sodden meadow
Dol Llwyd Grey Meadow
Dol y felin The Mill meadow
Dol y waun morfydd Meadow of the marshy dale
Dolaujenkin Jenkins’ meadows
Dolygreen Meadow of the village green
Dolgeid Probably “Dolycoed” Dole in the wood
Erw Rhys Rhys’ acre
Erw gerrig Stone acre
Fallet Grucca Crooked enclosure
Fallet wood An enclosed wood
Fran Llwyn Garden Crow’s grove garden
Fron From “Bron” breast of a hill
Ffosyffin Boundary ditch
Gabalfa Probably “Ceubalfa” ferrying place
Gendy Probaly “Geudy” draught house
Gilfach From “Cilfach” Nook or grove
Gilly Probably “Gelly” from “Celli” grove; or
It could be “Ciliau” recess or corner
Guidfa An erroneous term for “Coedfa” woodlands
Glancerrig Stone bank
Glanclewedog The banks of the humming stream
Gwarm y dol From “Marin” trickling meadow
Gwaunyffald The Fold Meadow or Pound Meadow
Grafty Probably “Croft” a little field adjoining a dwelling
Gwernau Swamp or mead; or Alder Trees
Hernog From “Gwernog” Alder Grove
Hirney Meadow Probably from “Gwernau” Swampy meadow
Kilfan meadow Probably from “Cilfan” a sheltered meadow
Kiln Meadow Meadow for drying
Knap Penlan Should be “Cnap” a round-headed hill
Llanbicca From “ Pigfa” steep sideland or bank
Lan Forgan Morgan’s bank
Lan Lwyd Grey bank
Lindies Probably “Llindys” caterpillars
Layn Probably “Llain” a long slip or slang
Llanbadarn-fawr Church of St Padarn-Great
Llanerchafod From “Llanerch” Summer dwelling area
Lletty Gwydd Irishman’s abode or woodman’s abode
Llewyn wastad Should be “Llwyn gwastad” flat grove
Lluast Should be “Lluest” a cottage
Llwyn A grove of bush
Llwynhir Long grove
Llwyngwernduon Black alder grove
Llwynmell Far hill
Llwynmelyn Yellow grove
Llwynmorfil “Llwynmorfa” marsh grove
Nantllech Flat stone dingle
Orls Radnorshire word for Alder trees
Penlan Top or head of sideland
Penybank Top of the hill
Rabber Should be “Yr Aber” the fall of a river into another
Cynaron falls into the Ithon at the Rabber
Rhos Swydd Swydd is a place of administration, possibly where people work – Moorland where people work
Rhydllyn Ford of the pool
Rhyd y briddell Should be “Rhyd y brithhyll” trout ford
Rhoslowddy Bright black boggy ground
Schuber nwydd Probably “Ysgubor newydd” New Barn
Telpin Should be “Telpyn” little lump or hillock
Telpyn y bwch Goat’s hill
Telpyn cae saydd Little hill of the arrow field
Tinygofed Probably “Ty yn y gofod” House in the open or space
Tinyllwyn “Ty-yn-y-llwyn” House in the grove
Tir Bach Little land
Tirygloveried Probably “Tir y clover” clover land
Trefonen Homestead of the ash tree
Trelowgoed Probably “Trellwydcoed” Homestead of the grey wood
Tynddole An abbreviation of “Ty-yn-y-ddol” the house in the dale
Tyncoad “Ty-yn-y-coed” House in the wood
Ty Newydd New House
Tynylone “Ty-yn-y-lone” House in the lane
Vron Vary or Vari Should be “Bron mieri” Briery Hill
Wannyclodion Should be “Waunnytlodion” poor people’s meadow
Werngoch Should be “Gwerngoch” redmead
Richard also had amongst his notes the following non-attributable translations.
Rhyd Ithon The ford of the Ithon
Maes-y-llyn The field of the lake
Llanbedr The church of Peter
Glan-yr-afon The bank of the river
Cae-dan-ty-mawr The field under the big house
Dol-ger-y-felin The meadow near the mill
Tref-y-clawdd The town of the dyke
Fron-las The green bank
Bettys-y-crwyn The chapel of the skins
Rhiw-fawr Large slope
Cytiau Gwyddelod The Irishmen’s huts
Gwern-yr-arglwydd The Lords’s Adler Grove
Gil-fach The little retreat
Tre-Faldwyn Baldwin’s town
Geraint thanked Richard for is excellent and wide ranging talk.
This posting is much too late to late to announce the exciting presentation that Marion has already given the group on New Radnor. (It will be written up and posted as soon as possible. We are already eagerly waiting our next session on Bank Holiday Monday – 1st May 2017 – when Shirley Morgan will be goving a talk on: “The Sale of Penybont Hall Estate”. Shirley will be focusing on the particular sale in 1919 on this occasion, as there have in fact been 3 sales of the Estate over the years.