Saturday, 29 April 2017

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 200m Twmpau

Moel Feliarth (SH 993 117)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the 200m Twmpauwith the height, drop and status of the hill being confirmed by a Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey which took place on the 4th April 2017.

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

200m Twmpau - All Welsh hills at and above 200m and below 300m 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 adjoined to the Y Berwyn range, this group of hills is situated in the south-eastern part of North Wales (Region A, Sub-Region A4), and it is positioned above and to the immediate north of the A 458 road and the small community of Y Foel

Moel Feliarth (SH 993 117)

The hill appeared in the 200m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the name Foel.  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 either inappropriate or where another name is viewed as being more appropriate.  By using the name Foel for this hill I was conveniently using the name that appears on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps and which is now strictly given to the village immediately to the south of the hill.  

Foel    258m    SH993117    125239

During research for an appropriate name for this hill I consulted 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.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified with the use of a split screen enabling the boundary of enclosed land to be compared

Whilst surveying this hill I took two data sets from the area of the summit, one on the northern and one on the southern side of the summit fence that is placed in a west to east direction across the upper part of this hill.  The enclosed land where the first data set was taken from (SH 99327 11775) is given the number 1081 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 this first data set was taken is named Coed yr Hen Ffordd on the Tithe map and described as Pasture.  The enclosed land where the second data set was taken from (SH 99345 11749) and which proved to be the higher is given the number 1102 in the apportionments and named as Borfa Hir on the Tithe map and described as Pasture; these appear in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Llangadfan.

The land where the first data set for the Trimble was taken from is named Coed yr Hen Ffordd on the Tithe map

The land where the second and higher data set for the Trimble was taken from is named Borfa Hir on the Tithe map

However, although the Tithe map gives names for the enclosed land at the summit area of this hill, it would be more appropriate to use the name of the hill and since publication of these P30 lists on Geoff Crowder’s 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.  Two of the historical maps now available are the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map which formed the basis for the Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map, and it was the former map that gives the name of the hill as Moel Feliarth.

The Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map names the hill as Moel Feliarth

The Draft Surveyors maps consist of the preliminary drawings made by the Ordnance Survey’s surveyors between the 1780s and 1840 and formed the basis for the first publicly available One-Inch map.  They were drawn at scales of six inches to the mile for areas considered of particular military significance and down to two inches to the mile for other areas.  Fair copies were then produced from these preliminary drawings to one inch to the mile and then copper plates were prepared for printing.  The Draft Surveyors maps for the whole of Wales are now available online and they form an important part in the study of Welsh upland place-names as they bridge the time frame between the late 18th century and the mid-19th century when the Ordnance Survey produced their first One-Inch maps. 

The name of Moel Feliarth is substantiated by detail given in the Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales (Hywel Wyn Owen and Richard Morgan, published by Gomer Press 2007) where on page 154 – 155 a history and explanation of the composition and the use of this name is given.

Therefore, the name this hill is now listed by in the 200m Twmpau is Moel Feliarth, and this was derived from the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map and substantiated by information given in the Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Y Berwyn

Name:  Moel Feliarth

Previously Listed Name:  Foel 

Summit Height:  259.8m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  125

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 99345 11749 
Drop:  34.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Myrddyn Phillips (April 2017)

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