Monday, 29 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 100m Twmpau

Cae Boncyn (SJ 238 193)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the 100m Twmpau, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 8th August 2015.

The criteria for the list that this name change applies to are:

100m Twmpau - All Welsh hills at and above 100m and below 200m in height that have 30m minimum drop, with the word Twmpau being an acronym standing for thirty welsh metre prominences and upward.

The hill is a part of the Carnedd Wen range, which is an extensive group of hills situated in the southern part of north Wales.  It is positioned between the small communities of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain to the north-west, Llanymynech to the east north-east, Four Crosses to the east and Ardd-lin (Arddleen) to the south south-east.

The green field of Cae Boncyn (SJ 238 193) above Gelli Farm

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data at the summit of Cae Boncyn

The hill appeared in the 100m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under an invented name of Bryn y Gelli, with an accompanying note stating; Name from farm to the South-West.  During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put PenBryn or Moel in front of them, and in this instance it was that of Gelli Farm.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.  

Bryn y Gelli
    Name from farm to the South-West

When I visited this hill with Alex Cameron we asked permission to do so from Mel Jones, the owner of Gelli Farm, who was sitting outside the farm house enjoying the afternoon’s sunshine.  As we descended to the awaiting car which was parked in the farm yard I took the opportunity to ask Mel about the name of the hill and he said that he had something that might be of interest to us.  He then disappeared in to the farm house and re-appeared with a Field map of Gelli Farm, dated January 1924.

The Gelli Farm Field map, dated January 1924

The Gelli Farm Field map

The map outlined the property adjoined to Gelli Farm and named each individual field, for someone interested in upland place-name research it was like unearthing a treasure trove, and Mel explained that his father had passed the Field map down to him.  I asked about the high point of the hill above Gelli Farm and Mel knew what field it was situated in and told us that it is known as Cae Boncyn.

The Field map names each individual field

Although I scribbled down some of the information Mel gave me it was easier to take photos of the Field map which he kindly let me do, as well as giving me permission to reproduce them on this site.

Mel Jones with the Gelli Farm Field map

One would imagine that the details on the Tithe map would match those on Mel’s Field map of Gelli Farm; in the main they do not.  There may be a number of reasons for this, but the most likely is that the field names known at the time of the Tithe map compilation were in the main not passed down to following occupants of Gelli Farm and by the time of 1924 the occupant of Gelli Farm knew many of the individual fields by different names.

The name of the field that takes in the summit of this hill on the Tithe map is Little Bank Field.  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.

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

The enclosed land where the field named as Little Bank Field is situated is given the number 1155 on the Tithe map, this 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 where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Little Bank Field on the Tithe map and described as Arable; it appears in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Llansanffrraid ym Mechain.  

The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Little Bank Field on the Tithe map

It is important when studying these apportionments to compare the number given on the Tithe map with the information given in the apportionments, as in this instance there are two adjacent fields given the number 1155, the westerly placed field is named Little Bank Field and the easterly placed field is named Bank by John Foulkes.

It is also interesting comparing the information on the earlier Tithe map with that on the 1924 Gelli Farm Field map, when doing so there are two fields whose names can be considered that match; Field under house on the Tithe map and Field below house on the Gelli Farm Field map, and The Maes on the Tithe map and Maes on the Gelli Farm Field map.  However, there is also an example where the same name is used but for different fields, this is; Sideland.  We can deduct from this that at least some of the names used when the Tithe map was compiled are still in use today, whilst many others have been supplanted by new names, including that of Cae Boncyn.  

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Carnedd Wen

Name:  Cae Boncyn

Previously Listed Name:  Bryn y Gelli 

Summit Height:  142.1m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  126

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 23849 19306  

Drop:  44m

Myrddyn Phillips (August 2016)

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