Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Trichant

Cefn Digoll (SJ 275 084)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the Y Trichantwith the height, drop and status of the hill being confirmed by a Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey which took place on the 20th March 2017.

The criteria for the list 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.

The hill is adjoined to the Cefn Digoll range, this group of hills is situated in the north-eastern part of Mid and West Wales (Region B, Sub-Region B1), and it is positioned above the A 458 road and the village of Trewern to its north and the town of Y Trallwng (Welshpool) to its west.  

Cefn Digoll (SJ 275 084)

The hill appeared in the 300m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under the partly invented name Oak Plantation Top, with an accompanying note stating; Name from wood to the North-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 Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them and in this instance, use the name of a near wood and add the word Top.  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now advocate as with time and inclination place-name data can be improved either by asking local people or by examining historical documents, through this form of research an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found, and in the case of this hill it was knowledge of the local area coupled with that from making enquiries with local farmers that confirmed the name this hill is known as.  

Oak Plantation Top    381m    SJ275084    126216    Name from wood to the North-West

When I visited the hill I met Karen and Brian Morris who farm from Longmountain Farm, whose land the summit of this hill is situated on.  I had already made enquiries with Brian’s brother who farms the lower fields adjoined to this hill, and they all confirmed that they know this hill as being a part of the Long Mountain.  The name is given as Cefn Digoll in the listing of Y Trichant as it is appropriate to list by the Welsh form of the name.  Karen and Brian explained that they refer to a number of high fields on their farm by names, including the Mast Field, Behind the School, Top of the Gallop, The Patch and the Pond Field, with the high point of the hill being situated in the field they refer to as Behind the School.  The school in this instance is occasionally used for schooling horses.

Karen and Brian Morris of Longmountain Farm

Prior to visiting this hill I had studied 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 the hill is situated is given the number 69A on the Tithe map

The enclosed land where the summit of this hill is situated is given the number 69A on the Tithe map, with the field as it is today having consisted of two parts at the time of the Tithe, with the other part being given the number 69, 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 Enclosure with the other part of the field named as Part of Enclosure on the Tithe map; it appears in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Buttington.  However, as the term Enclosure is generic it is inappropriate to use this word for the name of a hill when listing.

When cross referenced in the apportionments the enclosed land is given a generic term of Inclosure

Before thanking Karen and Brian for their time, they suggested that I visit Keith Davies who still occasionally farms and now lives lower on the hill next to the Hope Lane.  Keith grew up on the western side of the hill which his father farmed, with The Mill and Cletterwood farms being mentioned.  Keith confirmed that he had never heard a separate name being given to this hill and knows it as the Long Mountain (the whole of Cefn Digoll [Long Mountain in English] takes in the 408.3m [converted to OSGM15] summit at SJ 264 058 as well as the 381.5m [converted to OSGM15] summit at SJ 275 084).

As I talked with Keith he pointed through his living room window to a slightly raised point and told me that it is known as the Cap of Trewern, this is situated at approximately SJ 26663 08675 and looked as if it consists of rougher ground with an occasional gorse bush on it as opposed to the manicured green grazing fields adjoined to it.  He also told me that the land leading up to the forest boundary is known as The Pinnacle, this land is placed at approximately SJ 264 078. 

Keith Davies with the northern lands of Cefn Digoll in the background

We then concentrated on the land that takes in the hill adjoined to the Longmountain Farm, and Keith explained that until 1920 the upper part of this land was a holding adjoined to Buttington Old Hall, (this holding takes in the land between SJ 28528 08667, SJ 28088 09012, SJ 26883 08067 and SJ 27813 07794) with this land being added to the holdings of the Hall at a later date compared to their other lands, and it was known as the Bytak.

The meaning of the word Bytak is given below and my thanks to Aled Williams for supplying the following details:

beitac, beutac
[bnth. S. taf. by-tack

Tyddyn neu fferm lle nad yw’r tenant yn byw, a gymerir yn ychwanegol at fferm fwy:

By-tack (smallholding or farm where the tenant does not live, taken in addition to a larger farm.

1953 I. Ff. Elis: CC 64, Yr oedd Tyddyn Argain yn llawer rhy werthfawr fel beitac i bori bustych tewion.

Ar lafar, ‘Beutac y gelwir tyddyn neu fferm a gymerir at un arall’, B i. 194 (sir Drefn.); ‘Beutac’ ‘a by-take, fferm delir ei thir gan amaethwr fferm arall’, Cymruli. 52 (dwyrain sir Drefn.)

Cf. 1873 Mont Coll 245, Bytak, a small farm, generally held with a larger one by the same tenant. The bytak usually consists of a few acres of ground with a hovel thereon.  The word is common in Welsh-speaking counties.

The Elis reference says that Beutac is used in eastern Montgomeryshire.  The word is a borrowing from English - so both spellings of the word would be applicable to Cefn Digoll.

As the land known as the Bytak has been adjoined to Longmountain Farm since 1920, it is no longer referred to by this name as this term applied to the land prior to this date and not to the land at the present date.    

Therefore, the name this hill is now listed by in the Y Trichant is Cefn Digoll, as it forms a part of the extended hill known as the Long Mountain, with the protocol of the Welsh name taking precedence for listing purposes, and with the caveat that the current farmers know the field where the summit of the hill is situated as Behind the School, and that the land taking in the whole of the summit area of this hill was known up until 1920 as the Bytak.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Cefn Digoll

Name:  Cefn Digoll

Previously Listed Name:  Oak Plantation Top 

Summit Height:  381.5m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  126

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 27541 08477 
Drop:  38.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Myrddyn Phillips (April 2017)

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