Understanding Welsh Place Names



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..



  1. Wales: A Land Apart
  2. Pronouncing Welsh Placenames
  3. Keywords: Welsh Placename Elements
  4. Describing the Land
  5. In the Mountains
  6. In the Valley
  7. By the Water
  8. On the Coast
  9. Church and Chapel
  10. Birds and Beasts
  11. Picture This: Names in the Landscape
  12. Place names by Modern County
  13. Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Mon
  14. Did You Know?: The Longest Place Name in Wales
  15. Conwy
  16. Denbighshire/Dinbych
  17. Flintshire/Fflint
  18. Wrexham/Wrecsam
  19. Did You Know?: How Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa got its Name
  20. Gwynedd
  21. Did You Know?: The Legend of Gelert’s Grave
  22. Ceredigion
  23. Powys
  24. Pembrokeshire/Penfro
  25. Carmarthenshire/Caerfyrddin
  26. Swansea/Abertawe
  27. Neath, Port Talbot/Castell-nedd
  28. Port Talbot
  29. Rhondda Cynon Taf
  30. Merthyr Tydfil/Merthyr Tudful
  31. Caerphilly/Caerffili
  32. Blaenau Gwent
  33. Torfaen
  34. Bridgend/Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
  35. Vale of Glamorgan/Bro Morgannwg
  36. Cardiff/Caerdydd
  37. Newport/Casnewydd
  38. 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


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