Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 200m Twmpau

Mynydd Ketch (SJ 152 194)

This is the seventy fifth post under the heading of Significant Name Changes, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 9th April 2017.

The hill is adjoined to the Y Berwyn range of hills, which is situated in the south-eastern part of North Wales (Region A, Sub-Region A4), and is positioned above the A 490 and the town of Llanfyllin which are to its south and west respectively. 

The summit of Mynydd Ketch (SJ 152 194)

The hill appeared in the 200m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under the name Brynelltyn.  The listing this hill is now a part of is named Twmpau (thirty welsh metre prominences and upward) and its height and drop was confirmed by a survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000.  

Brynelltyn    274m    SJ153194    125 239

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 Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them or in this instance, use the name that appeared nearest to this hill’s summit and seemed most appropriate for the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with time and inclination place-name data can be improved either by asking local people or by examining historical documents, through this form of research an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found, and in the case of this hill it was the daughter of the local farmer who works the land the summit of this hill is situated on that gave the name of Mynydd Ketch.

The local farmer’s daughter is Nia Compton who is aged in her 50s and was born in Llanfyllin, Nia’s great grandfather was born at Ketch Farm (SJ 143 197) and her father still works the land this hill is situated on.  She explained that the hill is known as Mynydd Ketch, which is a cynefin name (see below for details on the cynefin naming system), and that the adjacent land to Mynydd Ketch is known as Mynydd Hafodunnos, with the farm house of Hafodunnos being situated at SJ 149191.  Nia explained that the land associated with Brynelltyn is further to the south-east (roughly where the name appears on the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map) and that it takes in the land above Green Hall and the whole of Green Hall Park and is not a part of the hill known as Mynydd Ketch.  She also explained that George’s Walks, which is a prominent name close to the summit of this hill on the 1:25,000 Explorer map, is lower on the hill and starts from the public footpath close to Hafodunnos.  Although the hill is known as Mynydd Ketch, Nia said that it had an older name, which is Ystum Cynan, or Ystum Cynen, unfortunately she did not know which name was correct.   

Bounded land and the cynefin:

Many Welsh hills comprise bounded land that is separated either by a fence or wall; these boundaries indicate land that is adjoined to different owners or tenants.  These land boundaries have usually been in place for centuries and in the uplands of Wales they are referred to as the cynefin, or sheep-walk in English.

The sheep-walk is an English term given to enclosed land that is apportioned to a specific farm.  The Welsh term for this land is cynefin, which can be literally translated as habitat, as in that for the sheep.  The cynefin usually takes in land that is known as the mountain land of the specific farm, therefore the name given to this enclosed land is usually that of the name of the farm prefixed with the word mynydd (mountain), this land is usually given over for sheep grazing, hence the term sheep-walk.  When Ordnance Survey maps are examined one can find many examples where this form of cynefin naming system exists, with farms situated in valley’s having their name given to high mountain land and prefixed with the word mynydd.

The bounded land given over to specific farms also takes in middle ground between the higher mountain land and the lower pasture land of the valley, this is known in Welsh as the ffridd and can take in a variety of habitats including heath, moor, grassland, woodland and high pasture.  Again, when Ordnance Survey maps are examined one can find many examples of names prefixed with the word Ffridd, and its apportionment to a specific hill is dependent upon where the bounded land is situated and referring to the Tithe maps for confirmation is then advised.

It is the cynefin naming system that usually results in a hill being known by different names in opposing valleys, as in many instances the upper bounded land meet at the watershed on top of the summit ridge and therefore the same hill would be known by two different names, each name a part of a different farm’s cynefin.  

Although Nia gave the name of Ystum Cynan, or Ystum Cynen, as the older name for the hill, the cynefin name of Mynydd Ketch is being used as she did not know which name was correct.  Therefore the name this hill is now listed by in the Twmpau is Mynydd Ketch, and this name was derived from local enquiry.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Y Berwyn

Name:  Mynydd Ketch

Previously Listed Name:  Brynelltyn 

Summit Height:  274.2m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  125

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 15299 19455 
Drop:  66.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Myrddyn Phillips (May 2017)

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