We got a fantastic Christmas present from the National Library last week - the rest of the Cynefin data! Those of you who've heard James talking about the List will have heard that the data would be arriving 'in the near future', and it's a pleasure to be able to announce that we are now living in the future.
We received nearly 900,000 pieces of data from the Library team, and we're currently cleansing them in the hope of uploading them before Christmas. We've already got some 200,000 names form the Cynefin project in the List, which will recieve the same clean-up process as the new ones, in order to make sure that we get rid of all the dittos and the 'house and garden's once and for all. Once this is done, we estimate that there will be roughly a million names from all over Wales protected in the List. We'd like to thank the staff of the National Library, and everyone who volunteered on the Cynefin project for all their work, and for sharing the names with us so that they can be protected for ever, and used both officially and unofficially by authorities and by the public.
Nadolig llawen i chi gyd. Merry Christmas.
Several interesting things have happened over the last few months, so here's a quick update to let you know what's been going on. First of all, the second volume of the Parochialia has been fully uploaded, which means that we now have 3878 names from 1699 in the List, covering most of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Meirionydd, and various parishes in Caernarfonshire, Radnorshire and Breconshire. You can find them all either by searching by source, or searching for every name from the year 1699.
Secondly, James spoke about the List, how to use it, and the problems we've faced in compiling it at the Welsh Place Names Society's annual conference.
Thirdly, we've been sent another contribution by a member of the public, a list of field names from Llanilar in Ceredigion, which were collected in 1976. What's interesting about these names is that many of them are different to those recorded on the tithe maps, only 130-odd years later. Take a look!
And finally, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that western Carmarthenshire has slowly been changing colour! The points marking individual names were originally supposed to be colour-coded: blue for settlement, yellow for topographical feature, brown for civil parish, green for field, red for unclassified etc. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to do this for the sources that were in the List at launch, and so currently everything is red, apart from Cynefin, which is green (being fields). However, James has been spending a day a week correcting transcriptions, and changing colours, starting in Carmarthenshire, and has reached the point where the entire western half of the county has been checked and updated. So for an idea of how the List will look as a 'finished project' (it'll never be finished....) head down to western Carmarthenshire.
Working on the Perci Penfro project as an intern was a most delightful and interesting experience. It showed me the important role that place names have in the perseverance of Welsh history and in popularizing the further use of the Welsh language on daily basis. The connection between land and man strengthens when you know how to recognise your surroundings in their native tongue and the cultural implications of this are huge.
I want to express my gratitude to the Commission for this opportunity of gaining work experience in a Welsh-speaking environment and especially to the Place Names Officer – Dr. James January McCann for his supervision and further background information that he provided during my internship. I wish all the best to the team of the Commission in all their future projects.
Amongst the numerous fantastic things that Menter Iaith Sir Benfro do to promote the use of Welsh in the county was a project called Perci Penfro (Pembrokeshire's fields). The project's aim was to collect field names from the north of the county, in order to emphasise the distinctive nature of the local dialect, and to get people together to celebrate the local culture, through the medium of Welsh. They collected approximately two thousand names from the Preseli, Dewisland and further afield, and local people produced a series of maps showing the locations of the fields named. The Menter has since passed this information on to us.
The Commission has passed the work of inputting the information on to Veronika Todorova from Bulgaria, who is currently a student in the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth University. She will be undertaking a four week internship in order to assist with the project, and to gain experience of working in a Welsh-medium workplace.
We’ve finished uploading the first volume of the Parochialia! This means that the List now contains over two and a half thousand names from this important source, the vast majority of them from Denbighshire and Flintshire. The second volume begins in Breconshire, so keep an eye on the blog for more information about the place names of Powys.