Tuesday, 13 December 2016

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

Cefn y Coed (SO 211 934)

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 hill's height, drop, dominance and status being confirmed by a survey by Alan Dawson with the Leica RX1250 and with the hill being subsequently surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 which took place on the 25th October 2013 and 3rd October 2016 respectively.

The criteria for the two listings that this name change applies to 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 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 a part of the Beacon Hill range, this group of hills is situated in the north-eastern part of Mid and West Wales, and is positioned above the A 489 road and between the town of Trefaldwyn (Montgomery) to its north, Yr Ystog (Churchstoke) to its east, Aber-miwl (Abermule) to its west north-west and Sarn to its south. 

Cefn y Coed (SO 211 934)

The hill appeared in the 300m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under the name Caeliber Isaf, which is a name that appeared close to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger and 1:25,000 Explorer maps of the day.  During my early hill listing I paid little regard to name placement on a map, or the meaning of names and to what feature the name was appropriately applied to.  Therefore I prioritised names for listing purposes that I now understand are inappropriate, and Caeliber Isaf is such an example as this name has been consistently applied by the Ordnance Survey to land on the southern side of this hill.  The name Caeliber Isaf can be translated in to English as the lower fair copse, which is an unusual name if applicable to the highest hill hereabouts, and especially so when one considers that the name Caeliber Uchaf also appears on Ordnance Survey maps and has been consistently applied to land to the west of where the name Caeliber Isaf appears, the translation in to English of Caeliber Uchaf can be given as the upper fair copse.  Both names are known locally as applicable to areas or districts of land and not to hills.  

Caeliber Isaf
    Marilyn. Clem/Yeaman.

Since publication of these P30 lists on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website there have been a number of Ordnance Survey maps made available online, some of these are historical such as the series of Six-Inch maps on the National Library of Scotland website, whilst others are current and digitally updated such as the enlarged map hosted on the Geograph website.  One of the historical maps now available is the Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map, which was the first map made publicly available by the Ordnance Survey and it is this map that has the name of Cefn y Coed running across the summit of this hill and beyond, and when coupled with detail later found on the Tithe map and also through local enquiry it formed the basis of this name being considered the most appropriate for this hill.

The One-Inch ‘Old Series’ was the first map that Ordnance Survey published, and  they were based on the preceding Draft Surveyors map.  Their publication culminated from the whole of Britain being surveyed between 1791 and 1874 and the detail gathered therein produced at a scale of one inch to the mile and published in sheet format between 1805 and 1874.  The One-Inch ‘Old Series’ maps for the whole of Wales are now available online; they are also available in map format as enlarged and re-projected versions to match the scale and dimensions of the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger series and are published by Cassini.  This series of maps forms another important part in the study of Welsh upland place-names and bridge the time frame leading to the production of the Ordnance Survey base map of the Six-Inch series.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey One-Inch 'Old Series' map

However, many local people now know the name Cefn y Coed to be applicable to an area/district of land and not necessarily to the hill, this was confirmed by Gordon Davies who has lived at Camp Farm all of his life, with his grandfather moving here in 1904, this farm is situated approximately 1.3 km west of the hill’s summit.  This hill was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 in the company of Rick Salter and Jenny Hatfield and we visited Camp Farm on our descent and I took the opportunity to ask Gordon about the name of the hill.

Gordon knows this hill as Cwm Bromley Top, as the land where the summit of the hill is situated is a part of the farm of Cwm Bromley.  This farm is situated to the east of the summit at grid reference SO 226 934.  He also knows the point at SO 20930 92921 as Black Hill and explained that this land takes in at least three bounded and fenced fields.  Gordon confirmed that Caeliber Isaf is a small district of land which is in the main on the other (southern) side of the hill, and that there are also other areas of land with Caeliber in their names that are also close by.

Gordon Davies

Although Gordon knows the hill as Cwm Bromley Top this is only applicable as the land where the summit of the hill is situated, is on land of Cwm Bromley farm.  Ideally this needed confirming and therefore I contacted Ted and Merle Davies who have farmed Cwm Bromley since Ted’s family moved there in 1937.  Ted is now aged 65 and told me that he knows the field where the high point of the hill is situated as the Tank Field, as there’s a water tank in the field.  I asked if he had ever heard, used or referred to the hill or the upper field as Cwm Bromley Top, he had not, although he did say that he’s referred to it as the top of Cwm Bromley, Ted then told me that Cefn y Coed is a little hamlet.  As there is no confirmation that Cwm Bromley Top is the name of the hill or the upper field by the farmer from Cwm Bromley farm it may be surmised that this name is not frequently used. 

I later checked the Tithe map, 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 enclosed land where the summit of this hill is situated is given the number Q33 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 Cefn y Coed (conforming to standard modern Welsh) on the Tithe map and described as Pasture; it appears in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Ceri.

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 land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Cefn y Coed on the Tithe map

Although there is now consensus amongst the local community that the name of Cefn y Coed is applicable to a small hamlet or area of land and not necessarily the hill, the Tithe map confirms that the bounded land at the summit of this hill that once took in what is now a number of individual fields was known at the time of the Tithe map as Cefn y Coed, and this is substantiated by the Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map.  One may presume from this that Cefn y Coed is the name of the land at the summit of this hill, and in all likelihood is the name of the hill itself, and that the passage of time has supplanted this name to also take in the small hamlet and area of land surrounding the hill. 

Extract from the current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map

Therefore, the name this hill is now listed by in the Y Trichant and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales is Cefn y Coed, and this name was derived from the Tithe map and the Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map, coupled with information given from local enquiry.  

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Beacon Hill

Name:  Cefn y Coed

Previously Listed Name:  Caeliber Isaf 

Summit Height:  353.5m (Leica RX1250)

OS 1:50,000 map:  137

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 21163 93413 
Drop:  169.5m (Leica RX1250)

Dominance:  47.94%

Myrddyn Phillips (December 2016)

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