Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Trichant

Y Gaer (SO 013 873)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the Y Trichantwith 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 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 of Caersws and to the east north-east of Llanidloes, with the small community of Llandinam at its base beside the Afon Hafren (River Severn) which is to its north-east.

Y Gaer (SO 013 873)

The hill appeared in the 300m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the name of; Coed Mawr, with an accompanying note stating; Name from wood to the east.  The name of Coed Mawr is printed in large letters on Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger maps and takes in the whole eastern side of this hill where a mixed wood plantation is situated.  The name of Coed Mawr also appears on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer maps and is placed near the summit of this hill.

Coed Mawr
   Clem/Yeaman.  Twin top. Name from wood to the East.

The listing this hill is now a part of is named Y Trichant and these are the 300m height band of hills within the Twmpau (thirty welsh metre prominences and upward) and takes in all Welsh hills at or above 300m and below 400m in height that have a minimum 30m of drop,  with the introduction to the re-naming of this list appearing on Mapping Mountains on the 13th May 2017, and the summit height, drop and status of the hill was determined by the survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000.

The name this hill is now listed by is Y Gaer, and this was derived from local enquiry and from 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.

Place name research can be a problematic occupation as the prioritised chose of a name can depend upon personal judgement where evaluation of the research at hand is assessed, and in the case of this hill’s name the judgement has been based on local enquiries and details from the Tithe map.

When I first surveyed this hill I made place-name enquiries with local residents to the north and to the south of the hill.  These are given below:

To the north of the hill:

I wanted to visit a Twin Hump and survey both summits and the intervening bwlch, and hopefully meet one or two locals, or call at one or two farms on the way to ask about names of the hills.

My ascent route from the outskirts of Llandinam went up the Waen Lane (map and local spelling).  As I was nearing the end of the lane before venturing on to fields I came across a man trying to get a long ladder off the roof of a van.  I offered to help, he declined with a smile and we started talking.  His name is Malcolm Lanham (aged 68), a good Welsh name was his tongue in cheek remark when he introduced himself.  He had lived in Llandinam all his life and couldn’t speak Welsh, although he did have an understanding of some words.  I asked the name of the hill that I was heading up.

Malcolm told me that the name of the hill is the Waen Hill.  I commented upon the name of the lane that Malcolm’s bungalow is built next to and he said the Waen Lane.  He then mentioned that the Waen Farm is further on around the lane and up the hill.  I presume this old farm is situated at SO 016 883 as the word Waen appears on the map at this position.  I asked about the spelling of Waen / Waun and it was confirmed as Waen, I mentioned the use of ‘u’ in modern Cymraeg but Malcolm did not pass further comment; he just smiled and sort of shrugged his shoulders.  Not really a demonstration of ignorance, just one of not knowing.  I asked if he had ever heard another name for the hill, his reply was ‘no, it’s known as the Waen Hill’.  I also asked if this is the name that the hill is known by in Llandinam and he said ‘yes’.  I then asked about a name that appears on the map; Coed Mawr, Malcolm said that this was a patch of forestry and not the name of the hill; he also knew that the name of the Waen Hill did not appear on the map.

To the south of the hill:

After visiting the summit 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 gave me the name of The Gaer without prompting and it almost matches a name that appears close to the summit of this hill on the map, almost as the name that does appear on the map is Y Gaer, which is marked at SO 015 878.  I asked about the name of Coed Mawr, Graham said that he’d only ever heard this name in relation to the farm of Coedmawr which is positioned at SN 990 888.  He told me that Coed Mawr is not the name of the hill.

Graham Pugh of Cefn farm

It is not uncommon to find one hill known by different names in opposing valleys, where this happens all one can do is note each name and conduct further research.  When I consulted the Tithe map the enclosed land where the summit of this hill is situated is given the number 533, with the number 2047 also appearing in the corner of this land, these numbers 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 Cae Dirge and is described as Meadow; it appears in 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

Importantly the Tithe map associates the land where the summit of this hill is situated as being a part of the land of Gaer and not that of Waen.  Both are old farms with that of Gaer no longer appearing on current Ordnance Survey maps but its remains are situated at approximately SO 016 880, whilst Waen is positioned at SO 016 883.

The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Cae Dirge on the Tithe map

The corner of this land is also named as a part of Cae Dirge

Although the hill is known from its northern side as Waen Hill, the land adjoined to its summit area is associated with the Gaer, and this is the name given me on the southern side of the hill, therefore it is being listed as Y Gaer, with the caveat that the land where its summit is situated is named as Cae Dirge on the Tithe map.  

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Pumlumon

Name:  Y Gaer

Previously Listed Name:  Coed Mawr 

Summit Height:  307.1m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  136

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 01350 87380  

Drop:  91.4m (converted to OSGM15)

For details on the first survey and the second survey of Y Gaer

Myrddyn Phillips (June 2016)

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