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‘Just use the Welsh’ suggested as solution to Nelson village name’s ‘slave trade’ connections

10 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
The Lord Nelson Inn and war memorial in the centre of Nelson. Picture by Ashley0690 (CC BY-SA 3.0).

The name of a village in the county borough of Caerphilly is under scrutiny after appearing in a ‘dossier of problematic place names’ following an audit of suspect slavery links.

In a move slammed as ”absolutely absurd” the village of Nelson, five miles north of Caerphilly, has been included in the audit because its namesake Horatio Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, was said to be opposed to the abolition of slavery.

However, some have suggested that the village could simply use its original Welsh language name, Ffos y Gerddinen, instead.

Meirion MacIntyre Huws, who has been appointed as the person responsible for protecting indigenous place names in Gwynedd in the north, said that the name Nelson was a later addition to the area.

“The location that was on the drovers’ route is known as Ffos y Gerddinen,” he said. “‘Nelson’ was a public house built during the Trafalgar war (they say).

“As a result of the growth of the coal industry, the village grew around the pub until the whole village was recognized as ‘Nelson’.”

Responding to a story on the matter in the Telegraph, translator and Golwg columnist Cris Dafis said “Much better, for so many reasons, to use the original Welsh, Ffos y Gerddinen.”

Frank Sobotka added that it was “important to remember that Nelson in Caerphilly already has another name, so could just use that?”

‘Should remain Nelson’

The Welsh Government is undertaking an audit of places and streets named after historical figures who are deemed to have some form of culpability or association with the slave trade. They have asked all councils across Wales to provide data.

Using a traffic light system of red to green, Lord Nelson falls into the amber category relating to his ‘ambiguous blames’ for the slave trade.

Lord Nelson, hailed as a national hero after being killed aboard HMS Victory in 1805, is among the historical figures listed in the dossier because they “opposed abolition of the slave trade or slavery”.

Others however were keen to retain the English name.  Welsh Conservative Member of Senedd Natasha Asghar branded the dossier “absolutely absurd”, telling the Telegraph newspaper: “The village was named after its pub The Nelson, and not because of potential links to Lord Nelson. To slander an entire village in this way is outrageous.

“Sadly, this is just another example of political correctness going too far, and it is high time we stop pandering to the woke left. I hope it has dawned on officers at Caerphilly Council just how ridiculous this really is, and that the village of Nelson should remain Nelson.”

Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I imagine the residents of Nelson will have plenty to say. From what I’ve heard they are totally nonplussed that the Welsh government and Caerphilly Council are focusing on this rather than local jobs.”

Nelson has a population of 4,600 and grew up around the railway station and the local 19th century pub, which is said to have taken its name when Nelson and Emma, Lady Hamilton broke their journey from Cardiff to Merthyr in 1800 and spent the night there.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, Lord Nelson’s legacy was reassessed, with some claiming that he supported slavery and defended the institution by maintaining Britain’s naval supremacy.

Caerphilly launched its review of people, streets, monuments and buildings in the wake of protests directed against public commemorations of those accused of historic crimes, responding to the national request for data from the Welsh Government.

Despite the council noting that the village’s name was not an ‘intentional commemoration of Nelson’ it has been included on the list of sites linked to slavery.

Other ‘suspects’ in the borough include a park name after Winston Churchill and streets named after Thomas Picton.

Documents also note that a street has been named after William Gladstone, whose reputation has been challenged due to claims that his father received compensation as a result of abolition.

Caerphilly Council said: “We are keen to set the record straight on this matter as the audit was initiated by Welsh Government, not Caerphilly council.

“The Welsh Government document contains references to hundreds of streets, buildings and other locations that are named after historical figures across the whole of Wales, so we are not sure why the village of Nelson has been unfairly singled out in the press.”

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David
David
13 days ago

When is Nelson’s Column (tourist location) in London to be flattened to the ground?!

Erisian
Erisian
13 days ago
Reply to  David

Shortly after a new government replaces the upper chamber.

Phil
Phil
13 days ago
Reply to  David

Keep the column and replace Nelson with George Floyd??

Crwtyddol
12 days ago
Reply to  David

Why not say it’s in honour of Nelson Mandela?

Jamie Northam
Jamie Northam
10 days ago
Reply to  Crwtyddol

Cause that be a lie.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
13 days ago

Gladstone was a very rich man and dependent on slave earnings until into his 30’s. He found himself conflicted and supported emancipation but only after the “moral emancipation of the negro” through education. In his mid twenties his father was the biggest slave owner in the West Indies and William had been debating the issues since he was a 13 year old at Eton. I don’t believe in airbrushing the role of awkward history from our past and as Gladstone replied to a critic at the Newark election campaign, the slave on the plantation often had better conditions than the… Read more »

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
13 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Slavery is very much of the here and now, and whilst the level of slavery is low in the UK it is still a topic for real and serious action in present day Wales. Whilst what you say about conditions on some slave plantations being better than many working class people at the time has a basis in fact, it remains the case that millions of people were trafficked, against their wills, and kept unfree, as chattels to be bought and sold as property of someone other than themselves. Part of the reason that abolition was possible in the first… Read more »

Erisian
Erisian
13 days ago

Don’t stop there let’s re-instate all our Welsh place names.

j humphrys
j humphrys
13 days ago

All for Welsh place names in Wales.

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
13 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Never forgetting that the only name for our homeland is “Cymru” 😉

Last edited 13 days ago by Welsh_Sion
Grayham Jones
13 days ago

Get rid of all English names from wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 only welsh names in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Observer
Observer
11 days ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

…Cut and pasted again…

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
13 days ago

Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I imagine the residents of Nelson will have plenty to say. From what I’ve heard they are totally nonplussed that the Welsh government and Caerphilly Council are focusing on this rather than local jobs.”

Liar, he hasn’t heard anything from the residents of Ffos y Gerddinen, he couldn’t give a damn about them.

And if Ffos y Gerddinen was the original name then that is what it should be called. Naming a village after a pub just because the pub’s name is easier to say for the hard-of-speaking is absurd.

Rudolph Winksworth
Rudolph Winksworth
11 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Glancavach neu Glancafach nid ‘Ffos y Gerddinen’

Screenshot 2021-10-12 at 13.28.28.png
Phil
Phil
13 days ago

I’d have thought that during a pandemic the good council of Caerffili would have better things to do with their resources.

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
13 days ago

Gobeithio bod yr enw Cymraeg gwreiddiol, ‘Ffos y gerddinen’ yn ymddangos ar yr arwydd wrth gyrraedd y pentref – os nad yw, dylai. A dweud y gwir, dw i ddim yn poeni llawer os arhosiff yr enw ‘Nelson’ hefyd. ~ I hope that the original Welsh name of ‘Ffos y gerddinen’ appears on the sign as you reach the village – if not, it should. To tell the truth, I’m not much bothered if the name ‘Nelson’ also stays.

Rudolph Winksworth
Rudolph Winksworth
11 days ago
Reply to  Crwtyn Cemais

Enw gwreiddiol yw Glancavach neu Glancafach, nid ‘Ffos y gerddinen’

Screenshot 2021-10-12 at 13.28.28.png
BigJone
BigJone
13 days ago

Ridiculous

Eifion Wyn Williams
13 days ago

Who cares what the English call it, it will always be known as Ffos y Gerddinen by those who matter.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Spare a thought for unpaid family carers…

Scott
Scott
12 days ago

Frank Sobotka? As in The Wire’s Frank Sobotka?

Rudolph Winksworth
Rudolph Winksworth
11 days ago

Looking at old maps, it seems the original name for Nelson was Glancavach or Glancafach (in modern spelling)

Screenshot 2021-10-12 at 13.28.28.png

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