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Know Your Place Names

How many years have you been driving past the signs on the outskirts of your town or village not knowing what the name means? Many of our Pembrokeshire place names have sprung from descriptive words of the area.

The place names across the National Park broadly divide into Welsh names and Anglo-Norman English names.

Llanrhian near St Davids, is a typical example of a Welsh name. Llan means‘church or enclosure and rhian comes from the name of a sixth century saint ie church or settlement of St Rhian.

Anglo-Norman settlements from the 11th century gave rise to many new places, often named after their founders and suffixed with ‘ton’ (town/farmstead). Thus Hodgeston actually means ‘Hodge’s Farm’ and was first mentioned in 1291.

Many hybrid names survive, garbled by mispronunciation, anglicisation and consequent misspelling.

Lawrenny, for example, is a corruption of the Welsh Llawer-enni (bed of the River Enni).

There’s a selection of translated local places names below so have a look to see if you can spot your town or village…
 

 

Abercastle

-

bay by the church

Abereiddy

-

mouth of the River Eiddi (pron Aber-eye-thee)

Amroth

-

Llanrath - church near the Rath stream

Angle

-

land in a corner or nook

Bosherton

-

Bosher’s Farm

Boulston

-

Bole’s Farm

Broad Haven

-

first mentioned 1602

Brynberian

-

Orig Llyn-Berrian (Berrian’s pool)

Caerfarchell

-

Marchell’s Fort (pron Kya-far-cech)

Caldey Island

-

Scandinavian descent. ‘Cold Island’; prev. Yn Pyr - island of Pyr, its first abbot.

Carew

-

Caerau - fort (Locally pron Carey)

Carew Newton

-

Carew Newtown

Castlemartin

-

St Martin’s Castle

Cresselly

-

Croes- elli (pron Cress-elly)

Cresswell Quay

-

well where watercress grows

Dale

-

place in the valley

Dinas Cross

-

Dinas - fort (pron Deenas)

Felindre Farchog

-

mill of the Lord (or knight) (pron Velindra-varch-og)

Haroldston West

-

Harold’s Farm

Hasguard

-

Scandinavian ‘bus skar’ – house in the -valley (pron ‘Haskerd’)

Herbrandston

-

Herbrand’s Farm (locally pron Harberston)

Hodgeston

-

Hodges Farm (locally pron Hotson)

Hook

-

angle of land

Jameston

-

James’ Farm

Landshipping

-

Long Shippon - cowhouse

Lawrenny

-

Llawr- enni - bed of the River Enni

Little Haven

-

first mentioned 1578

Llanrhian

-

Church of St Rhian (pron Llan-Ryan)

Llanwnda

-

Gwyndaf’s church (pron Llan-un-da)

Lydstep

-

Norse Lowde -hop - Lowde’s Bay

Manorbier

-

Maenor-pyr - manor of pyr-cf Caldey

Island) (pron manor-beer)

Marloes

-

Moel-Rhos (bare moor)

Milton

-

Mill Farm

Middle Mill

-

Felin ganol, belonging to the Bishop

of St Davids by 1390

Minwear

-

Obscure.,Possibly Welsh ‘Minwern - edge

of the adder swamp (locally pron.Minner)

Monington

-

Mann’s Farm

Moylegrove

-

Orig Trwyddel - grove farm and

by 1291‘Matilda’s Grove’

Mynachlogddu

-

black monastery (pron my-nach-log-thee)

Nevern

-

Llanhyfer – church by the River Nevern

Newgale

-

Obscure. Possible Irish name Neugwl, Gwynedd which has similar topography

New Hedges

-

first mentioned c 1773

Newport

-

Welsh version ‘Trefdaeth’ - beach town

Nolton

-

old farm

Pantfaen

-

stone bridge (pron. pont-vine)

Penally

-

Penalun - Alun’s Headland (pron pen-alee)

Penycwm

-

head of the valley. (pron penny

coom)

Pantglasier

-

Glasier’s Bridge (pron pont glazier)

Porthgain

-

bay of the river Cain (pron porth-gine)

Roch

-

rock - on which castle stands (pron roach)

Ramsey Island

-

either Hrafn’s Island after Norse person or Lramsa -Norse for wild garlic

Rosebush

-

from ‘rhos’ (moor) and bush

Sardis

-

After the chapel name - Sardis was capital of the Lydian Empire

Saundersfoot

-

foot of Alexander’s Hill

Slebech

-

obscure

Skokholm Island

-

Norse - island in the sound

Skomer Island

-

Norse ‘Skalm’ and ‘ey’ = Cloven Island

Solva

-

name taken from River Solfach

St Brides

-

Church of St Bridget

St Davids

-

after St David c 530-589 Welsh alternative Tyddewi (Davids church)

St Ishmaels

-

Church of St Ishmael

St Twynells

-

Church of St Gwynog

Stackpole

-

possible Norse. ‘Stakkr’ and ‘pollr’ - pool

near the rock-stack

Talbenny

-

Tal-y-benni - end of ridge

Tenby

-

Dinbych - fort

The Rhos

-

Moor (locally pron the Ross)

Trefin

-

possible Treddyn -farm on high ground (pron Treveen or Trevine

Treteio

-

possibly derived from Tir-taenog - land

assessed for tax (pron Tre-Tyo)

Walton West

-

Wale’s Farm

Walwyn’s Castle

-

Castle of Walwyn

Warren

-

possible corruption of Goteran - overflow

of spring or well

Whitchurch

-

the white church

Wisemansbrige

-

associated with medieval Wiseman

Family