Friday, 24 June 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Trichant and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales

Gelli Hir (SN 999 883)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the Y Trichant and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Waleswith the following details relating to a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 7th February 2014 and also on the 2nd May 2014 along with the Leica GS15.

The criteria for the two listings that this name change affects are:

Y Trichant These are the Welsh hills at and above 300m and below 400m in height that have 30m minimum drop,  with the introduction to the re-naming and the publication history of this list appearing on Mapping Mountains on the 13th May 2017.

Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales - These are the Welsh P30 hills whose prominence  equal or exceed half that of their absolute height.  With the criteria for Lesser Dominant status being those addition Welsh P30 hills whose prominence is 33% or more and below 50% of their absolute height.

The hill is situated in the Pumlumon range, which is an extensive group of hills in the northern part of mid Wales.  The hill is positioned to the south-west of Caersws and to the north-east of Llanidloes, with the small community of Llandinam and the Afon Hafren (River Severn) to its east.

Gelli Hir (SN 999 883)

The hill appeared in the 300m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the name of; Rhosfawr, which at that time was taken as the name of the hill, however this is the name of a farm which is situated to the west of the hill’s summit.

    Clem/Yeaman. Twin top.

The name this hill is now listed by is Gelli Hir, this name can be translated as long grove, and this was derived from examination of the Ordnance Survey Historical 1:25,000 map as well as the Tithe map, coupled with tentative details from local enquiries.  The term Tithe map is generally given to a map of a Welsh or English parish or township and which was prepared after the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act.  This act allowed tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods.  The Tithe maps gave names of owners and occupiers of land in each parish and importantly for place-name research they also included the name of enclosed land.  This enclosed land is usually based on a field system, however not every field is given a name, but many are and especially so in Wales.

The Ordnance Survey Historical 1:25,000 map is probably the best OS map for placement of names relating to hills and their features, on this map Gelli Hir appears close to the summit of this hill and following its upper northerly ridge

When I first surveyed this hill I made place-name enquiries with a local resident to the south south-east of the hill.  The details are given below:

After visiting the summit of Y Gaer at SO 013 873, I descended to the farm of Cefn and surprised Graham Pugh who was heading to the farm yard from a large barn full of recently born lambs.  Graham is aged 53 and had lived in the local area for 25 years and at the farm of Cefn for 20 years, he originally comes from Staylittle / Penffordd-las (SN 887 920).  He can speak Welsh but said that he gets his ‘rights’ and ‘lefts’ muddled up and told me about a visit to a market where he was given directions and he couldn’t remember if the word meant left or right, we both chuckled at this.  I believe this was due to a lack of Welsh being spoken in the area where Graham now lives, so his use of the language is not on a daily basis.  I explained where I had come from and where I was heading.  We were soon talking about the name of the hill.

Graham told me he didn’t really know a name for this hill, I asked if he ever referred to the hill by any name and he said that he just calls it Top of the Bwlch.  The farm of Bwlch is situated at SN 995 875, it seems the summit of the hill is on their land.  I asked if he had ever heard the name of Gelli Hir in relation to this hill.  He then said that this was funny as he’d had a recent conversation with the person from Coedmawr farm, who had just bought the land going up to the top of this hill from the other (north-west) side and they had called it Gelli something.  The name of Gelli Hir (Gelli-hir on older maps) appears on current maps just below the summit of this hill.  However, on older OS maps this name appears as a ‘ridge’ name going across the top of the hill and down its northern ridge.

Graham Pugh of Cefn farm

Place-name research can be similar to fitting pieces of a giant jigsaw together, each piece is important, but on occasion the pieces (the information given) seem as if they do not fit together.  However, each piece of information is important and can be assessed against other information found at a later date.  And this was so with this hill’s name, as I already knew that the Historical 1:25,000 map has the name of Gelli Hir following the upper northern ridge of this hill, as this map is by far the most precise produced by the Ordnance Survey for place-name position I was inclined to believe that the name of Gelli Hir was appropriate to use for this hill, and the information given by Graham Pugh, although only tentative, was also substantive when coupled with the placement of this name on the old 1:25,000 map.  I hoped that the Tithe map would substantiate the use of Gelli Hir for this hill’s name.

Unfortunately the Tithe map for this area is almost unintelligible, however the number 2096 is given to the adjoining land to where the summit of this hill is situated, this number can be cross referenced against the apportionments; it is these apportionments that give the name of the owner or occupier of the land as well as the name of the land.  The land given the number of 2096 is named as Allotment on the Tithe map, and importantly the next number; 2097, which is probably the adjoined land, is named as Gelli hir and is described as Pasture; these details are listed under the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Llandinam.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified by the use of a split screen enabling the summit to be pinpointed on the map on the right and for the same point to appear on the Tithe map on the left.  Unfortunately in this instance the Tithe map is almost unintelligible, however the number 2096 is given to the adjoined land

2096 is named as 'Allotment' with 2097 named as Gelli hir

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Pumlumon

Name:  Gelli Hir

Previously Listed Name:  Rhosfawr
Summit Height:  307.2m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  136

Summit Grid Reference:  SN 99902 88383 
Drop:  124m

Dominance:  40.37%

For details on the first survey and the second survey of Gelli Hir

Myrddyn Phillips (June 2016)

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