Field name translations

Brand new to forum, diolch for such a bendigedig service! I recently found out the old Welsh names for our fields but can’t get accurate online translations . Any help appreciated os gwelwch chi’n dda!

Ynys penfont = river meadow at bridge head? sounds clumsy, what should it be?
Cae uchlawr ty = upper big field (by the) house? one online translator said ‘upstairs’
Cae pen clyna = variously translated online as hear / lake / anglosaxon wedge or lump?
Gwrlod = mis-spelled meadow?
Ynys Gryoo = a phonetic mis-spelling in the tithe document perhaps? no idea for this…


Welcome to the forum @kat !

I can’t say that my answers will be definitive ones (things like field names can be particularly tricky to pin down), but here’s my best shot!

Ynys penfont = either “river meadow at the top of the bridge” or “island at the top of the bridge” - ‘island’ in this sense can be a raised area in wet ground or a dry area in marshy ground

Cae uchlawr ty = “the field beyond the house”

Cae pen clyna = I’m afraid I’ve had no luck so far finding ‘clyna’. It’s entirely possible that the word has become changed over time and now bears no resemblance to the original. I’ll keep looking though!

Gwrlod = not mis-spelled as such, just a variation. (gweirglodd, gweirglod, gweirlodd, gweirlod, and gwrlod are all variations of the same word meaning hay-meadow)

Ynys Gryoo = yes, I’d say it’s most probably from ‘groyw’ which means ‘sweet/pure/fresh’, so something like “sweet river meadow” or “pure island” (as in the previous island definition!)

EDIT: ok, well I’ve been poring over a number of dictionaries and old maps and I think - and I have to say this is only a possibility because I haven’t found any concrete evidence (I may be making 2+2=5! :wink: ) - that ‘clyna’ could be a derivation of ‘glyn’, meaning a dingle or wooded valley. I’ve based this on the fact that there are a number of ‘cae clyna’ near where I come from in Monmouthshire, and they are all by ‘dingles’, so I looked up ‘dingle’ in Welsh, and glyn is one of the terms. So Cae pen clyna = Field at the top of a wooded valley

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Possibly see also the examples under clun2 in the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru?

Ah, yes, good call @RichardBuck!
Field at the top of the brake. And looking at it on the map, that would make perfect sense!

You can send your queries to the Welsh Placenames Officer, Dr. January-McCann, at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
I have asked him about this sort of query, and he will be happy to help.

There’s also Cymdeithas Enwau Lleoedd Cymru/Welsh Place-Name Society which might well be able to help:
I think they were involved in the S4C programme on names of fields, Caeau Cymru: (the programme doesn’t seem to be available anymore unfortunately)

Any suggestions for car cwlltwr?

Cwlltwr is a coulter - a vertical cutting blade fixed in front of a ploughshare or the part of a seed drill that makes the furrow for the seed, so I’m guessing Cae cwlltwr could be a field shaped like that blade, or maybe it could be that that field is particularly easy to plough, or even that it was so difficult to plough that the farmer lost a few blades trying!

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I didn’t know that. What a shame that Lyra from “His Dark Materials” didn’t know either.

To be fair, neither did I - I looked up the translation for cwlltwr and then had to look up the definition of coulter! :joy:

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Thank you Siaron and Betterlatethan.
My mother told me that was the origin of the name, but I’ve never been convinced. She said the shape resembled a coulter, but she was thinking of the modern disc coulter, rather than the traditional knife. In fact the shape doesn’t resemble either type, hence my misgivings. I like the idea of coulters getting broken there. It’s the highest field on the farm and, unlike the others, has rock fairly close to the surface.
There’s another field on the farm with a much more recent name which has an interesting story behind it. During WW1 there were temporary cavalry barracks in the adjacent village of Llanfaes and manure from the stables was spread on this field, producing exceptionally good crops. It was thereafter called cae California, a reference to the 1849 gold rush.

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