Sunday, 12 November 2017

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Trichant

Gilwern Hill (SO 096 568)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the Y Trichant, with the summit height and drop of the hill being confirmed by a Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey which took place on the 6th September 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 Fforest Glud range, this group of hills is situated in the south-eastern part of Mid and West Wales (Region B, Sub-Region B1), and the hill is positioned between the two small communities of Frank’s Bridge to the east south-east and Llansanffraid-yn-Elfael (Llansantffraed-in-Elwel) towards the south.

Gilwern Hill (SO 096 568)

The hill appeared in the 300m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the partly invented name of Moel Camnant, with an accompanying note stating Name from buildings to the South.  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.  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now advocate as with time and inclination place-name data can be improved either by asking local people or by examining historical documents, through this form of research an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.  This hill is one such example, as making local enquiries and substantiating these details for land area via contemporary and historical Ordnance Survey maps and the Tithe map has resulted in this hill now being listed by the name of Gilwern Hill.

Moel Camnant  383m  SO097568  147200  Name from buildings to the South

When visiting this and adjacent hills I made a number of place-name enquiries, the first being with the person who kindly advised I park beside the sawmill in a place allocated for their employees, this person worked at the sawmill and told me that this hill is known as Gilwern Hill and is a part of land that is known by the same name, he then suggested that I visit the head of the grazers association who lives at Upper House.  During my walk I met Philip Dyke who was out on his quad bike, Philip is aged 62 and farms from Gwernfach having lived there for 57 years, with his family having lived in this area for hundreds of years, and he confirmed the name of the land this hill is situated on as Gilwern Hill.  I later called at Upper House and met the wife of the head of the grazers association and she also told me that this hill is a part of Gilwern Hill, with the whole area of what is now open access land being known by this name.

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.  One of the most important of these maps for the placement of place-names is the Ordnance Survey historical 1:25,000 map, and this map confirms that the land area of Gilwern Hill is not just applicable to the 440.7m (converted to OSGM15) high hill at SO 09895 58290 as contemporary 1:25,000 Explorer maps would have us believe. 

Extract from the Ordnance Survey historical 1:25,000 map

Extract from the contemporary Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map

Part of the land area applicable to Gilwern Hill is also evidenced on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps with the boundary of designated open access land; this is shown in the extract from the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map below. 

Extract from the contemporary Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map showing the boundary of designated open access land

However, for historical reference to the land area of what was Common Land and which now forms a part of the designated open access land it is the Tithe map that should be consulted.

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 land where the summit of this hill is situated is not a part of enclosed land and therefore it is not designated a number that can be cross referenced in the apportionments.  This hill is a part of a large area of land which is named as Mountain in Llansaintfaed Elvel Parish on the Tithe map; this area of land is the precursor of what is now designated open access land.  The details on the Tithe map appear in the county named as Radnor and in the parish of Llansanffraid yn Elfael.

Extract from the Tithe map

Therefore, the name this hill is now listed by in the Y Trichant is Gilwern Hill, and this was derived from local enquiry with the land area known by this name being substantiated by contemporary and historical Ordnance Survey maps and the Tithe map.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Fforest Glud

Name:  Gilwern Hill 

Previously Listed Name:  Moel Camnant 

Summit Height:  384.6m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  147

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 09676 56836  

Drop:  59.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Myrddyn Phillips (November 2017)

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