Huw Edwards and other BBC broadcasters bemoan loss of Welsh language place names
Broadcaster Huw Edwards has taken to Twitter to criticise the Anglicisation of Welsh place and building names.
He was responding to a tweet by former Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate Vaughan Williams who described the renaming of Welsh houses and place names as “linguistic cleansing”.
“It’s been going on for years,” Huw Edwards said. “So Porth Trecastell became ‘Cable Bay’ and the historic church of Nantcwnlle — now a private home — became ‘Dunroamin’.
“I propose replacing London with its old Welsh name ‘Caerludd’. No? Ah. I thought not.”
An argument about linguistic anglicisation of Welsh place names seemed to begin on the site after the account Anglesey Social Media posted a tweet calling a beach near Amlwch ‘the Creek’.
BBC broadcaster Aled Hughes pointed out that the beach was called ‘Traeth Dynion’, and Tudur Owen who hosts a comedy show on Radio Cymru said that he had informed the account of the Welsh name in 2018. He was subsequently blocked by Anglesey Social Media.
Tudur Owen then posted a tweet saying he felt his home area in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn had become “increasingly Anglicised over the last few years”.
Suzy Davies AM, the Conservative Shadow Minister for the Welsh Language, also cautioned against the ‘anglicisation’ of Welsh place names.
“Huw makes an amusing point, but no less powerful for its cheekiness,” she said. “However, that it follows the news report yesterday that Transport for Wales (TfW) had, according to a leaked report, broken the law over its use of the Welsh language, makes for quite sad reading.
“We Welsh Conservatives supported a backbench bill to protect Welsh place names, but neither the Welsh Government no Welsh Labour supported it, and the bill was defeated by three votes.
“Huw is a such a well-known figure – from election night coverage to commentating on the annual Festival of Remembrance, and from presenting the BBC’s flagship news programmes to commentating on royal events – that I wonder if he could use his influence on not only this issue, but perhaps also to bring more news from this devolved nation to the UK as a whole.
“Rarely does Wales – or Scotland and Northern Ireland – feature on mainstream media news across the UK.
“Even when reports are flagged up as relevant in England only, we’re not told what the position is in the other UK nations. It’s time that news from all nations in the UK is reported to the country as whole, because understanding our present is every bit as valuable as understanding our history.”
In 2017 a bill at the Senedd to protect historical place names in planning law has failed after AMs voted against it. The Welsh Government’s Ken Skates said the proposals were not feasible.
All the opposition groups – Plaid Cymru, UKIP and the Conservatives – supported the proposal, but with Labour opposed AMs voted 28 against to 25 for.
The bill would have deployed a range of measures to protect names, including establishing a system where people who want to change a historic name must seek consent to do so, and a general prohibition on changing a historical place name.
However, Ken Skates said during the debate: “I do not see how any system of general consent or control for changes can be feasible or affordable.”
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Good for you Huw. Maybe those of us with English named homes should rename them with welsh ones.
I’ve already done this to my current property in Abergavenny as the previous name had no historical significance to the house or the area.
Your action contributes to the Cymraeg Restoration, which is the only Welsh revolution.
Anglicisation is the sum of various individual acts of aggression committed by AngloBrits who, with a straight face, will deny any dislike of the language and the people of Wales. They will press on regardless and some of them will have the brass neck to write letters to likes of the Daily Mail complaining about the intolerant, unwelcoming Welsh !!
Your post reminds me of a pugnacious ginger-haired Geordie lad who arrived at Lampeter as an undergraduate the same year as I did, over fifty years ago. He had an extraordinary aversion to the Welsh language to which he gave vent each week in the Junior Common Room when he would go in, seize the copies of Y Cymro and (the now long defunct) Baner ac Amserau Cymru delivered each week, rip them up and consign them to the waste bin with a cry of ‘f***ing Welsh’. The supremy irony was that his surname was Wales.
The only Welsh revolution is the Cymraeg Restoration.
When the Cymry decide they will join Poland, Isreal, Czech, Catalunya, Quebec and Greece, and take respect for their language instead of asking, the revolution will come. If not, it’s a very British funeral.
I am guessing that is not the Greece that banned the Macedonian Slavs who lived in northern Greece from speaking their own language and still has laws against its use in public or officialdom.
Serbia will expand again in the coming centuries, over Macedonia and again into Greece. The Greeks will survive as a people. Will the Cymry?
If the stag of Meurig Sant rises in light, I see flickers of hope burning on Afon Hafren, I see those heros running north into the woods of Ergyng and the lost lands, to hide and pray to our ancestor Caradog’s guiding sprit.
In the Magor/Undy area of Monmouthshire we already had Rockfield Grove inflicted on us for a new development. Now we are getting Greystone Meadows. Execrable, or rather Hynod o Ofnadwy. There again, the aim seems to be to pull all that money from Bristol. To think we also have Bryn Dawnsio/Dancing Hill, which is lovely either way.
I can oly assume that we must be electing the wrong people to the Sennedd.
Let’s change that … soon
25 and 28 makes 53 – there are 60 Assembly members. I understand that this shortfall included Plaid Cymru members not turning up. Would any PC member care to respond?
Naming of estates and roads is a responsibility of local councils…..anyone care to respond?
Indeed. Where I live, the County Council appears to have an unvarying and invariable policy of giving the roads purely Welsh names. But I can well imagine that, say, Monmouthshire county councillors – especially those from the eastern fringes – might not see the point!
Da iawn Huw!?
Entirely anecdotal, but I see pretty limited evidence of this trend in my local area. I live in a rural part of north-east Wales only twenty miles or so from the English border. Quite a lot of people here are bilingual, but English tends to be the day-by-day lingua franca, even between people able to speak Welsh, There are a number of people of English origin who’ve settled here, but I’m struck by the number of them who make real efforts to achieve at least some degree of ability to understand, read and speak Welsh – not always with much… Read more »
Mae Bangor wedi bod yn ardal lle mae cymro yn defnyddio saesneg fel ei iaith gynta ers blynyddoedd. Does dim gobaith ohonai yn defnyddio saesneg yn fy ngwlad fy hun oni bai fod y person yn ymddiheuro gynta ei fod ddim yn deall Cymraeg. Maer amser wedi dod i sefyll fyny i rhain syn gwrthod dusgur iaith. Pe bai nhw yn symud i ffrainc does dim siawns y buasair nhw yn plygu drosodd i haerllugrwydd y sais!!
Nid wyf wedi treulio digon o amser o amgylch Bangor i gael synnwyr o’r graddau y mae’r iaith yn cael ei defnyddio yn yr ardal honno. Yma ym Mro Clwyd credaf mai un ffactor arwyddocaol yw nifer y bobl a anwyd yn lleol sydd wedi symud i ffwrdd – i Loegr fel arfer – ar gyfer addysg uwch ac i weithio ac sy’n dychwelyd yn llawer hwyrach mewn bywyd ar ôl iddynt ymddeol. Mae hiraeth yn eu galw adref! Ond erbyn hynny maen nhw wedi colli’r arfer o ddefnyddio, neu hyd yn oed feddwl, yn Gymraeg. Ac mae eu cymdogion… Read more »
Well done Huw. I’m originally from Anglesey. The Welsh names must be used and respected. Shame on Welsh Labour for not protecting the language and original names.
“Welsh” Labour can’t even manage to send out constituency communications to the electorate here in Cardiff Central, and when correspondence is initiated with them in Welsh the reply is invariably in the ‘thin language’. This should tell us all we need to know about how our government disdains the national language.
So UKIP and Conservatives supported preserving Welsh place names. Labour opposed it. Let that sink in.
Perverse indeed. There again Plaid and Labour are quite densely populated with perverts so no surprise really.
Might be worth you setting aside your seeming pathological loathing of plaid cymru for a moment and stick to the subject matter – plaid are fully supportive of efforts to preserve Welsh language place names.
Blind loyalty isn’t much of a virtue either. When they pull their socks up or modify their behaviours I will be able to resume “normal” support but right now they don’t do much for me. As things stand they are down there with all the other shabby Unionist parties.
Study the original names of Wales, in Swansea, Oystermouth road in Welsh is Ystumllwynarth which doesn’t mean Oystermouth, it means roughly ‘bending grove of the bears’ suggesting an ancient connection when bears use to roam these islands. The language is a direct link to the ancestors of Wales and place names in Welsh paint a picture of who those people were and are now. Landore in Swansea has no meaning but it’s original Welsh name Glandwr does, it is a systematic way of removing the language from existence. My first language was English growing up but after learning Welsh in… Read more »
The continued existence of ‘Llantwit ‘ always baffles me. Who’d want to commemorate a ‘St Twit’?!
I still ponder why the Welsh for Neath is Castell-Nedd. The Roman settlement nearby was called Nidum. This translates from Latin as nest. The Welsh word for nest is nyth. Why isn’t the town called Nyth? Mind you, I think the ‘best’ Anglicisation of a Welsh place name has to be Warm Turn, near Abertillery. It used to be Waun Twyn! And I remember a friend of mine at university saying he’d been to a pub called the Tin Ant and another used to frequent ‘the Keph’ in Penarth. One turned out to be the Ty Nant and the one… Read more »
My hunch is that it’s the place names most difficult for an English tongue to manage that get patricularly mangled. So your example of Ystumllwynarth; also, for example, Llanymddyfri and of course,Llanilltud. Your ‘Warm Turn’ example presumably arises after the language is forgotten and locals turn a name that no longer makes sense to them to one that does! But what’s the point of still sticking with ‘Ruthin’, ‘Kilgetty’ and ‘Kidwelly’ when the Welsh spelling creates no obvious problem to a monoglot English speaker ? Mind you, ‘Cymrycization’ also creates its own problems: I’m not sure that either, ‘Bwcle’ or… Read more »
And Wind Street in Swansea is mistranslated as Stryd y Gwynt. It has always been wind, as in the verb to wind, because an area that by the docks where the ships were wound in and secured was called the wind. Coronation Street once featured an episode where an area was named Alf Roberts Wind in honour of the late mayor. I’m sure Wind Street (pronounced like Wined Street) is what it should be, as, I’d always thought it was called wine street until I saw the street name. My family all called it Win(e)d Street and calling it Stryd… Read more »
I knew the pronunciation because I lived in Swansea for fiur years in the earky ’70s and used to frequent the ‘No Sign Bar’ from time to time – I wonder if it’s still there?! – but I never heard the origin of the name. You live and learn! As to Flint, Wikipedia says that the Normans gave it the name Le Chaylou – modern French caillou = gravel – because of the stony surface upon which they built the castle. So Flint must have been the English translation, and then Welsh would add the extra ‘f’ to show that… Read more »
Anyone know why the Welsh and English versions of some street names in Aberystwyth bear absolutely no relation to each other?
There are quite a few cases where there are two different names, not the same name translated.
I think the Rheidol was diverted in the 18th or 19th century.
Morfa Mawr, was near where at least part of its flow came to the sea, whereas now it joins up with the Ystwyth at the harbour. The English name is Queen’s Road.
Aber seems unique in having these sets of two unrelated street names, both of which seem to have an equally valid history. Diddorol.
My Cornish dictionary says ardh is “high place, height” and gives the etymology as Common Celtic *arduos and a cognate as ardd in Middle Welsh.
Another reason to vote labour out of the assembly in 2021.
Who are the people behind Anglesey social media?
Don’t know, but clearly they need a good taking to, or a one way ticket to Chester buying for them.
I am another Huw Davies. I recently got into a pointless discussion with the Post Office when trying to find a post code. I only knew the Welsh version of the street/close and this gave no results in the online post code finder. The ‘help’ was not able to help. I did eventually find the post code by translating the name into English and there it was. The Post office later ‘welcomed my comments’ but did not see it as a problem. The Welsh name is actually on a proper sign put up by the council but that was of… Read more »
The only Welsh Revolution is the Cymraeg Restoration.
Post Office /Royal Mail is just another lip service organisation who just doesn’t give a toss about Welsh. Hence its enthusiasm for sanitising place names with English uniformity.
Call your own property anything you like its no business of anyone else. I removed the welsh name on my house when I moved in and replaced it with a brass number…..my prerogative.
Sometimes house names are merely vacuous and banal. The last house in which we lived – on the fringe of countryside outside Stockport and before we moved to Wales – was called ‘The Bungalow’. which is about as vacuous a name as you might imagine. I’ve always had a curiosity about local history and, on investigation via the county record office website, the ancient names of the fields adjacent to our house, as registered at the time of the commutation of tithes in 1836, was ‘Ox Hey’. I suspect there was what was once locally known as a ‘pinfold’ –… Read more »
Irrelevant. Okay, removing the name plate does expose your dislike of Wales and its language, but to your credit you didn’t replace it with an English name, so I’m not sure what your point is. You are allowed to have the house-number AND the Welsh name, by the way.
I don’t want a welsh name I don’t speak the langusge, my house my choice non of your business
It was a point of information, not a request. Like I said, what you did with your house is irrelevant to the discussion. Ewch i ffwrdd.
f.y.i. ‘none’ is the word you’re looking for. ‘non’, or, rather. ‘Non’, is a Welsh girl’s name. Better change that quickly…
My house has a number and no name. Never felt the need to name it. Perhaps I’ll name it Sycharth just to annoy the ppi callers!
Pam ydych chi i gyd yn ysgrifennu yn saesneg, i gwyno yn erbyn coll yr iaith? Sdim rhaid i neb dysgu Cymraeg os dydyn ni ddim yn ei defnyddio ein hun.
Pe byddet yn talu sylw at un o brif fwriadau IMJ pan yn sefydlu Nation.Cymru ( erthygl ganddo ar y pwnc hwn ar y 6ed Ionawr 2020 !) fe welid taw ymgais oedd hon i greu adnodd i ymdryn a materion gwleidyddol drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg. Felly digon teg fod y iaith honno yn cael ei defnyddio. Os wneu di edrych yn ol fe welir hefyd ambell i erthygl yn ddwyieithog ag ymatebion yn Gymraeg.
Achos does dim rhai yn siarad Cymraeg yn dda, neu maen nhw’n dysgu fo (e.e. fy). Some intellectual positions would be too hard for learners to express in their second language, be fair Alun. Dw i’n cytuno efo chi, beth bynnag, bod ni’n ysgrifennu brawddegau syml yn Gymraeg pan dan ni’n medru.
“Ifan Morgan Jones, Nation.Cymru Editor
Three years ago this week, in January 2017, I made it my new year’s resolution to set up a English language national news service for Wales.
There was nothing original about this idea, of course. The first attempt to set up an English language news service serving all of Wales was made in the 1830s but failed due to the nation’s poor transport infrastructure (what’s new?).
In this digital day and age however, as many had pointed out, there was no good reason why Wales did not have a national English language news service.” https://nation.cymru/opinion/nation-cymrus-readership-is-booming-but-we-need-your-help-to-take-our-next-step/
It is an affliction across the UK. Developers struggle to respect or understand history when it is in English, so the Welsh language will be completely beyond them. If they were motivated by an interest in history and heritage, surely it would show through in the houses they build. In Wrexham we have copy and paste English names and copy and paste Welsh ones. We have an Erddig Place that is opposite Croesnewydd Hall and nowhere near Erddig. Then there is Llys Nantgarw on the site of the old Cobden Mill (Melin Cobden would be a potential name, but that… Read more »
There is a Ty Melyn there that when I lived in Aberystwyth was painted white. http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/preswyliwr/mapiau/ on the Ceredigion online mapping website unfortunately if you search for street names in Welsh it doesn’t seem to find them, although they are sometimes shown on the map.
There are some real horrors in Cornwall though, there are even 14 houses that have officially registed names of Llamedos: https://map.cornwall.gov.uk/website/ccmap/
A quarter of a mile from us there’s a ‘Tŷ Coch’ painted pure white …
The housebuilders are the biggest culprits yn yr ardal Wrecsam, with complicity from the community councils, especially in the villages to the east of the town. But in fairness, even some of those now at least have bilingual road-names (but by no means all). Huw Davis’s test of addressing a letter using only the Welsh road-name would theoretically result in a successful letter-delivery in the bilingually-named roads. The current political climate in Wrecsam would probably not allow the replacement of English by Welsh for the names of all roads, old and new, but I would support such a move in… Read more »
Trusting the English government with the Welsh language and culture which is a significant part of European and world heritage is like asking Boris Johnson to supervise a junior rugby match with fairness, safety and discretion – it won’t go well.
The names need protecting if this noble culture which has been under continual duress from its brutal neighbour for many centuries is to survive.
Da iawn Huw – gyrrwch ymlaen!
Does Owen Donovan blog in vain.? 1. Year of vote: 2017. A couple of luvvies now bemoan, and its “news” (Isn’t American-style celebrity culture great! ) and then obsessives like me come along with some classic Welsh moans. 2. Title of this article -“loss” of Welsh language place names: they were no more “lost” than Capel Celyn was “lost” on the road to Dolgellau. Groomed to use language that obscures a million intentional acts, acts of cultural vandalism, a eulogy for the Welsh language is being written that exonerates everyone. 3.This and other failures of Wales’ legislature ring-fences a piece… Read more »
Im sorry,but the sad s/wales labour should get lost permenantly so the rest of Welsh Wales can get on with it!