Five Year Report – The List of Historic Place Names of Wales
The List of Historic Place Names has existed for five years now, and a great deal has happened in that time. The List was established in response to growing concerns about threats to our historic place names. The List had two purposes: firstly, to raise awareness of the rich heritage of historic place names and encourage their continuing use, and secondly, to create a record of the whole wealth of place names in Wales, so that the names could be preserved, even in those circumstances where they are no longer in active use.
After five years of hard work, we’ve enjoyed a great deal of success. The List now contains just under 700,000 names from 1,254 sources and local authorities are using our data and keeping historic place names alive when naming roads, developments and properties. We’ve given dozens of public talks on place names, online and in person, and some of them are available on the Royal Commission’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffbsi20cfa4 Public recognition of the importance of historic place names has grown since the establishment of the List, but nid da lle gellir gwell (don’t settle for good where it can be improved), as we say in Welsh.
The fifth anniversary of the List has given us an opportunity to take stock and gauge the opinion of the public and the experts as to how we can strengthen the List and promote it more effectively so that as many people as possible in Wales can learn about our place names. The public filled in a questionnaire giving their views about improving the List, and we formed a task and finish group with representatives from the Welsh Government, local authorities, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Office and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies to consider the next steps. This process is now finished, and you can find the task and finish group’s report here: https://rcahmw.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Report-on-the-List-of-Historic-Place-Names-2022.pdf
The recommendations range from improving the functionality of the List, through cultivating fruitful partnerships, to using the List’s resources to develop the National Curriculum. By following the report’s recommendations, we will be able to develop the List further and make sure that Wales’ wealth of place name heritage is kept safe for generations to come.