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List of Historic Place Names

Collecting a List of Historic Place Names in Wales

Section 34 of the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 requires the Welsh Ministers to compile and maintain a list of historic place names in Wales.  We are pleased to confirm that this duty is to be discharged through the Royal Commission.  We are working on behalf of the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service (Cadw) with a range of other organisations including the Welsh Archaeological Trusts, Welsh Place-Name Society, National Library of Wales and Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies to explore how to deliver the provisions of the Act.

Purpose of the List of Historic Place Names

The List of Historic Place Names will be an index of names given to, or held by, geographical locations identified from sources that predate the First World War.  Drawing upon existing place name research, the List will incorporate the various forms and spellings used to record structures or places over time.

The purpose of the List is:

  • to provide easy access to a single centralised source of information on historic place names
  • to raise awareness of the value of historic place names
  • to inform decision makers


The List of Historic Place Names will be made available to public and professional users alike. It will be:

  • A live queryable spatial database, accessible for all Historic Environment Records, Local Planning Authorities and Government Departments in Wales, published through an open Web Feature Service.
  • A publicly accessible, bilingual website presenting this data within a searchable pan-Wales web mapping system and allowing users to download subsets of the List on demand.
  • A dynamic list that will evolve and grow over time.

Now freely available online, the List is a developing record of authoritative information on historic place names that can be used to:

  • help members of the public learn about the history of their communities;
  • support academic research; and
  • inform decisions on the management of the historic environment.

A full-time member of staff is responsible for the curation of the List and is able to assist with enquiries.

Go now to historicplacenames.rcahmw.gov.uk to explore the hidden histories of place names near you and throughout Wales.

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