Understanding Welsh Place Names

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Understanding Welsh Place Names


Understanding Welsh Place Names

What they mean and how to say them

by Gwili Gog

Puzzled by Welsh place names but want to know what they mean and how to say them? This fascinating, easy-to-use guide means non-Welsh speakers can now easily translate and understand place names all over Wales — on the map, on road signs, and out in the countryside.

Armed with this insider knowledge, you’ll discover there’s a whole exciting new dimension to the Welsh landscape. In fact, Wales will never be quite the same again ….


Understanding Welsh Place Names takes a refreshing new look at Welsh place names and what they mean.

As well as a full gazetteer of placenames listed county by county across Wales, the book explores common place name elements, or key words, in themed groups. It also looks separately at key themes such as ‘Streams and Rivers’, ‘Inns and Taverns’, ‘Sheep and Shepherds’, and ‘Welsh Chapels’.

Generously illustrated throughout with evocative modern colour photographs, this attractive handbook is a welcome departure from the limited and often inaccurate ‘tourist’ guides, or the overly academic tomes aimed mainly at Welsh scholars..


  • Wales: A Land Apart
  • Pronouncing Welsh Placenames
  • Keywords: Welsh Placename Elements
  • Describing the Land
  • In the Mountains
  • In the Valley
  • By the Water
  • On the Coast
  • Church and Chapel
  • Birds and Beasts
  • Picture This: Names in the Landscape
  • Place names by Modern County
  • Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Mon
  • Did You Know?: The Longest Place Name in Wales
  • Conwy
  • Denbighshire/Dinbych
  • Flintshire/Fflint
  • Wrexham/Wrecsam
  • Did You Know?: How Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa got its Name
  • Gwynedd
  • Did You Know?: The Legend of Gelert’s Grave
  • Ceredigion
  • Powys
  • Pembrokeshire/Penfro
  • Carmarthenshire/Caerfyrddin
  • Swansea/Abertawe
  • Neath, Port Talbot/Castell-nedd
  • Port Talbot
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Merthyr Tydfil/Merthyr Tudful
  • Caerphilly/Caerffili
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Torfaen
  • Bridgend/Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
  • Vale of Glamorgan/Bro Morgannwg
  • Cardiff/Caerdydd
  • Newport/Casnewydd
  • Monmouthshire/Mynwy


  • An Ancient Language
  • Ancestral Spirits?
  • Body of the Land
  • Hills and Mountains
  • Woods and Trees
  • Bogs and Marshes
  • Ancient Animals
  • Vanished Wildlife
  • Colours in the Countryside
  • Weapons and Warfare
  • Forts and Castles
  • River Goddesses
  • Streams and Rivers
  • Wild Water?
  • Waterfalls
  • Watermills and Windmills
  • Fords, Ferries and Bridges
  • On the Road
  • Inns and Taverns
  • Smiths and Smithies
  • Summer and Winter Homes
  • Huts, Houses and Halls
  • Sheep and Shepherds
  • Cattle and Pigs
  • Holy Wells
  • Hermits and Holymen
  • Early Churches
  • Places of Worship
  • Monks and Monasteries
  • Viking Placenames
  • Mines and Quarries
  • Welsh Chapels
  • Norman Placenames
  • English Placenames
  • Funny Placenames
  • Naming America?

What they say …

Another little gem to squeeze into the glove compartment of my car. There can be no shortage of books on Welsh place names but this one is stylish, beautifully presented, and clearly produced with a great deal of love and attention. Whether visitor, incomer or non-Welsh-speaking Welsh, this is a great little book to have to hand.

A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council