What is the List of Historic Place Names?

The List of Historic Place Names of Wales is an index of names for identifiable geographical locations gathered from a variety of historical sources by a number of different projects.
 
Drawing upon existing place name research, the List includes the various names and spellings used to denote settlements, buildings, fields and landscape features in Wales. This is a living list that will grow and develop as new research becomes available.
 
Recognising the importance of historic place names to the history and culture of Wales, the Welsh Government included a provision for a statutory list of historic place names in the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016.
 
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales compile and maintain the List on behalf of the Welsh Ministers.

 

What is the List for?

The List aims to raise public awareness of the rich legacy of historic place names in Wales and encourage the continuing use of these important elements of our nation’s heritage.

Freely available online and through the historic environment records, the List is a developing record of authoritative information on historic place names that can be used to:

  • help members of the public learn about the history of their communities;
  • support academic research; and
  • inform decisions on the management of the historic environment.  

 

Local and National Park authorities and Natural Resources Wales are expected to use the list when taking decisions on the naming or renaming of streets and properties. The statutory guidance, Historic Environment Records: Compilation and Use, sets out how those public bodies should use the List in the exercise of their functions.

 

How can it be used?

The List of Historic Place Names of Wales is a resource designed for use by both public and professional users. It is...

  • A bilingual website, allowing text and map-based searching. Users of the website are able and encouraged to enhance the List by making comments on place names, which may include spelling variants, alternative names or suggestions for corrections. Users can freely download their search results (up to 4,000 geo-located records can be downloaded per search).
  • A live Web Feature Service (WFS), accessible within all historic environment records, local planning authorities and government departments in Wales.

 

For step-by-step guidance on how to use this website, please visit our Help pages.

 

How has the List been put together?

The place names included in the List at its launch have been drawn from three principal sources:

  • names collected by online volunteers from historic Ordnance Survey maps through the Cymru1900Wales project;
  • names collected by online volunteers from tithe apportionments through the Cynefin project; and
  • names collected by Dr David Parsons in his research for the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies on the ’Historic Place-Names of Wales‘.

 

Over time, many more names will be added as further projects and research are completed — visit the blog to find out more about our ongoing work to develop the List.

 

Plans for the future

The Royal Commission will maintain and enhance the List of Historic Place Names of Wales by:

  • creating new historic place name records from data gathered from multiple sources;
  • reviewing and amending existing records to correct transcription and other errors;
  • coordinating the exchange of place name data between organisations;
  • responding to enquiries relating to records in the List; and
  • producing articles and organising outreach activities that promote the List and increase understanding of the value of historic place names in Wales.

 

A full-time member of staff is responsible for the curation of the List and is able to assist with enquiries.