Recent Updates to The List of Historic Place Names of Wales
We’re still working tirelessly on responding to the matters raised by the public in the questionnaire that we sent out as part of the Five Year Report on the List of Historic Place Names of Wales. As well as the work of adding more names and checking transcriptions, we’ve therefore made a few technical updates to the website.
The first and most obvious is that we’ve added the boundaries of Wales’s historical commotes and cantrefs to the map. These are the historical territorial subdivisions of the country before the historic counties were created as a result of the 1536 Act of Union, with several commotes making up a cantref. You can select them on the map in the same way as the parish and county boundaries.
Commission staff are currently digitising and geo-locating the first edition Ordnance Survey maps, starting with Anglesey. Amongst the many things these maps show are the township boundaries within each parish. Once this work has been completed, we intend to add these maps as another layer on the website and add the township boundaries to the selectable ones that we have already. This will allow us to construct a hierarchy of boundaries starting with townships and working all the way up to the county level.
The List of Historic Place Names, as its name suggests, is a collection of historic forms of names. This means that it contains non-standard forms of names, as well as forms in languages other than Welsh. We’re aware that this has caused some confusion for our users since the start, as typing a modern name into the search box would not necessarily bring up any results, even though we have historic forms of the name in the database. We’ve addressed this by ensuring that the search function ignores diacritics and hyphens, so if you search for ‘Plas teg’, you’ll get ‘Plâs teg’, Plas-teg’ and ‘Plas-têg’ for example.
We hope this will make it easier to discover the names that you’re looking for and will further place Wales’s historic names in their historic and geographical context.
Dr James January-McCann, Place Names Officer