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.
We're just back from a conference in Dublin discussing the important work that's going on in the field of Place Name Studies in Ireland. As well as the chance to learn more about Irish Place Names, we also got to discuss the various systems and websites used by those working in the field in order to collect and protect the names. Several fascinating websites exist in Ireland, from the hyper-local Oidhreacht Loch Chon Aortha: http://www.oidhreachtlca.ie/mapa.php to the national, www.logainm.ie. As well as this, we heard from Dr Rebecca Gregory of the English Place Names Society about the work she's been undertaking to complete the Staffordshire Place Names Survey. Check out the project blog if you'd like to find out more! https://staffordshireplacenames.wordpress.com/
In addition to this, we've been carrying on with the Parochialia, and are reaching the end of the first volume. Currently there are over two thousand names from this important source in the List, and we'll keep on adding more until it's finished. Also, we'll be receiving data from Perci Penfro, a project run by Menter Iaith Sir Benfro before long. This was a project to record the county's field names, and as such will bring in hundreds more interesting names. Watch this space!