Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Brittany: The Northwest Frontier

Borders are designed to keep people in or to keep people out. We see them everywhere in history: walls, fences, hedges, barbed wire, scorched earth, chicken wire or place names.
There are quite a few Breton place names that speak of borders and boundaries. I've listed a few of them below and put some of them together in the map above. 

22 (Cotes d'Armor)
ÉVRAN Evrann [Ivran/Ivram, 12thC] ‘Borderland’ 
From G: iguoranda/equoranda ‘limit’, ‘boundary’ (of a city/region). Iguoranda/Equoranda refers to ‘limits’ and ‘frontiers’ and often corresponds to the boundary between two Gaulish tribes. Évran was on the border between the Redones and Coriosolites, representing a frontier zone between the Gallo-Roman cities of Rennes and Corseul. It now hugs the borderline between the departments of Île-et-Vilaine (35) and Côtes d’Armor (22).
See: Évriguet (56) ; Yvrandes (Normandy); Iguerande (Burgundy).
29 (Finistère)
BRASPARTS  Brasparzh [Bratberth, 11thC.; Braspers, 1368] ‘Prickly Bush’
From B: brath(u). ‘prickle’, ‘thorn’ [W: brath]; and B/W: perh/perth, ‘hedge’, ‘bush’.
This might indicate a boundary or frontier.
See: Le Pertre (35); Questembert (56); Penberth (Cornwall); Perth (Scotland); Berthllwyd, Arberth, Berth-ddu, Bryn-bras, Maen bras (Wales).
LAZ Laz [Laz, 1330] ‘Post’
From OB: lath/lazh, ‘rod’, ‘pole’, ‘post’, ‘beam’, ‘stick’, ‘spear’ [C: lath; W: llath].
This could refer to a milepost, a boundary marker or even a menhir (Laz has the 3m Menhir de Kermez).
35 (Ille-et-Vilaine)
CHELUN Kelon [Calumpniaco, 11thC; Chalunum, 1506; Chalun, 16thC] ‘Disputed Land’
From VL: calumnia, ‘dispute’, ‘quarrel’, ‘litigation’.
This must have been disputed territory between Brittany and Anjou; it is right on the border.
CINTRÉ Kentred [Sintreio, 1153; Cintreio, 1158] ‘Borderland’
From OF: ceintrey/cintre, ‘belt (-land)’, ‘border (area)’ [F: ceinture].
COGLÈS Gougleiz [Cogles, 1158] ’North’
From B: coglez, ‘north’ [W: gogledd].
This is on the northern border between the Départements of Îlle-et-Vilaine and Manche (Normandy).
See: Saint-Brice-en-Coglès, Saint-Étienne-en-Coglès, Saint-Germain-en-Coglès (35); Gogledd Cymru, ‘North Wales’.
FEINS Finioù [Fains, 1178] ‘Frontier Village’
From L: (ad) finis, (at the) ‘frontier’, ‘end’.
This indicates that it marked the outer limit of a Gaulish town, village or region.
See: Feins-en-Gâtinais (Centre), Saint-Michel-de-Feins (Loire).
GUERCHE-DE-BRETAGNE, LA Gwerc'h-Breizh [Guirch(i)a, 1096; Guirchiœ, 1152] ‘Defensive Works’
These defensive fortifiications are found in ‘buffer zones’ along the borders of Brittany. They consisted of defensive wooden houses built on raised square walls and surrounded by a moat.
From OF: werki, ‘fortification’, ‘defence works’ with a v/wgu/gwg sound change.
LOUVIGNE-DU-DESERT Louvigneg-an-Dezerzh [Lupiniaci, 11thC; Luviniacum, 12thC] ‘Wolf Moor’
From L: lupus [F: loup] and G/L: (suffix)–(i)acos, (i)acum, ‘place with’.
This must have been a wild border area with unoccupied forest, moors and thickets.
See: Chanteloup (35).
PERTRE, LE Ar Perzh [Pertum, 11thC; Pertrum, 12thC; Pertro, 1516] ‘Bush’
From B/W/C: perth, ‘bush’, ‘hedge’, ‘thicket’.
These are the borderlands and we might expect thorns and thickets to mark the frontier.
See: Perth (Scotland, Australia); Arberth, Berth-ddu (Wales); Penberth (Cornwall).
SAINT-PERE-MARC-EN-POULET Sant-Pêr-Poualed [Sancti Petri de Marcha Poelet, 1152] ‘Saint Peter’s on the Alet Border’
From Saint Peter, the Apostle; OF: marche, ‘limit’, ‘frontier’; B: pou [L/F: pagus/pays], ‘country’; and Alet, the ancient Gallo-Roman city which was situated where Saint-Servan is now.
56 (Morbihan)
ARZAL Arzhal [Arsal, 1128; Harsal, 1330] ‘Boundary’
From harzal, ‘frontier’, ‘limit’.
If the River Vilaine marked the boundary between the Frankish and Breton kingdoms in the 6th-9thC then Arzal marks the end of this border where the Vilaine heads out to sea.
ÉVRIGUET Evriged
Évriguet is peculiarly absent in the manuscripts, scrolls, cartularies and other public records. The absence of old forms means there is absolutely nothing to work on. It may possibly be connected be from G: iguoranda, equoranda ‘limit’, ‘boundary’ (of a city/region).This refers to ‘limits’ and ‘frontiers’ and often corresponds to the boundary between two Gaulish tribes. Évriguet was at a central point on the border between the Venetes, Osismes and Coriosolites. It now occupies a postion on the border between the departments of Morbihan (56), Île-et-Vilaine (35), and Côtes d’Armor (22). 
See: Evran (22); Yvrandes (Normandy); Iguerande (Burgundy). 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Definitive Guide to Understanding Irish Place Names



"Venturing outside of Ireland’s best known spots can be daunting tasks for tourists faced with unpronounceable place names such as Dun Laoghaire (Done Leery), Geashill (Gee-shill), and Altmooskan.

One of the best things about visiting Ireland, however, is the beauty of these place names and the way in which they describe the area they name. No famous figures or names for us, our place names have passed down through the centuries jam-packed with geographical information.

Over the years, especially during British occupation, Irish place names became anglicized as the British attempted to map the land for tax and ownership purposes. The attempts of the British to understand the original Irish names resulted in distorted versions being recorded as English spellings were forced on Irish language place names.

There are ways, however, to retrace spellings and place name parts back to the original so as to understand the area more. We look as ten of the most common words used and dissect their meaning."

IRISH CENTRAL: Definitive Guide to Understanding Irish Place Names

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

If Breton, Welsh and Cornish towns were twinned to match their names..


ELEMENT
CORNISH
WELSH
BRETON
Arcae/argae
OB: arcae, ‘dam’ or ‘embankment’ [W: argae]

Rhyderargeau, Penyrargae, Argae Alwen
Erquy (22); Ergué-Gabéric (29)
Banadl
OB: plu/plou, ‘parish’ and B: banadl, ‘broom’ [W: banadl/banhadlog, ‘broom’/’broom patch’]. 
Bonallack
Cefn Banadl, Bronbanadl, Maesbanadlog, Banhadlog
Bannalec, Plobannalec-Lesconil (29); Plobannalec (56)
Bangor
W: ban, ‘higher’ and W: cor, ‘religious community’, ‘assembly’.

Bangor, Bangor Telfi
Bangor (56)
Beth/bedd
OB/B: bed/bez, ‘grave’, ‘tomb’ [OC: beth; W: bedd]. 
Trembethow
Beddgelert
Rospez
Bran/brain
B: bran/brain, ‘crow/s’ [W: brân/brain; C: bran/brain].
Brane, Mellanvrane
Cwm-Brân, Nant-Brân
Brest
From OB: bre(st) [W/C: brest] ‘hill-breast’.
Brea
Brest Cum-Llwd, Brestbally
Brest (29)
Broenn/brwyn
B: broenn, ‘rushes’, ‘marshland shrub’ [W: brwyn, brwynen; C: bronnen].
Brunnion
Brwynog, Brwynen, Cwmbrwyn
Broons (22)
Bu/bual
B: bu, ‘cow’, ‘cattle’ [W: bu/buw/buyn; C: buch/beuh];  B: bual, ‘ox’, ‘buffalo’ [W/C: bual].
B(u)ohortha

Beudiau, Beudy-Mawr, Builth
Bovel (35); Bohal, Bubry, Buléon (56);
Cambot/cwmwd
OB: cambot, ‘commote’ [W: cwmwd/cwmbod].


Cefn Cwmwd, Mynydd Tir-y-cwmwd
Le Cambout (22); Cambot, Combout (29)
Coll
B: coll, ‘hazel’ [W: collen/cyll/coll].
Nancegollan, Tregolls
Cyll, Colfa, Cwrt-y-gollen

Argol
Caro
B: c/karo, ‘deer’, ‘stag’ [C: carow/kerrow; W: carw].
Kerrow, Lancarrow
Cilcarw, Gally-y-carw

Caro, Porcaro (56)
Carn
B: karn, ‘cairn’ [OC: carn; W: carn]
Carn Barra, Carn Du, Carn Euny, Carn Scathe
Aber-carn, Carn-bean, Carno, Pen-y-garn
Carnoët (22); Carnac (56)
Com/coombe/cwm
B: cum/com, ‘dale’ [C: coombe, cubm, cum; W: cwm]
Coombe; Ilfracombe (Devon)
Cwmbran, Cwmcewydd
Commana (29); Combourg
Combourtillé (35)
Croes/croaz
B: croes/ kroaz, ‘cross’ [W: croes; C: crowz, crouse].
Angrouse, Crows-an-Wra
Pen-y-groes, Ty-croes
Plougras (22); Pont-Croix (29); Le Crouais (35); Le Croisty, Croixanvec (56)
Crug
B: c/krug; OC/C : cruc/creeg ; OI : cruach ; W : crug, ‘mound’, ‘tumulus’, ‘barrow’.
Crugsillick, Crigmurrian
Bryn-crug, Crug-Hywel, Crug-y-bar, Crug-moch
Cruguel (56)
Dar/tarzh
B: tarzh, ‘spring’, ‘well’, ‘bubbling/noisy water’ [W: dar/tardden].

Aberdaron, Aberdâr
Trédarzec
Dau/dou
B: daou, ‘two’ [W: dau]
Duloe
Dulais, Y Glais, Aberdauddwr
Douarnenez, Plougastel-Daoulas (29) ; Dourdain (35)
Din
B/C: din/dun, ‘hill-fort’ [G: dunon; W: dinas; OI: dun] and B suffix: -an.
Castle an Dinas
Dinas, Dinas Mawddwy
Dinan, Dinard
Dol
OB: dôl, ‘river meadow’, ‘meander’ [C/W: dol].
Godolphin
Dol-y-bont, Dolbenmaen, Dolwen
Dolo (22); Dol-de-Bretagne (35)

Drein/draenen
OB: drein/draenen, ‘thorn (bushes)’ [W: draenen/drain; OC: drein].
Draynes
Bryndreiniog, Draenen Pen-y-graig, Ffynnon-ddrain
Rostrenen (22); Le Drennec (29)
Drez/drys
OB/B: drez, ‘brambles’ [OC/C: dreis/z; W: drys]. 
Tredrizzick, Poltrease
Dryslwyn
Trédrez (22)
Escob/escop
B: eskob/eskobien, ‘bishop/s’ [W: esgob; C: escop].
Huish Episcopi (Somerset)
Plas-yr-Esgob, Gwern Escob
Esquibien (29); Plescop (56)
Ethin/eithin
B: ethin/ethinoc, ‘gorse’ [W: eithin/eithinog].

Twyn Eithinog, Bryn Eithinog
Plouhinec (29); Plouhinec (56)
Faou/(f)faw
B: faou, ‘beech trees’ [C: faw; W: ffaw/ffawydd].
Fowey
Ffawydden, Ffawyddog
Faouët, Le (22)
Forn/ffwrn
OB: forn, ‘kiln’, ‘forge’ [W: ffwrn; C: vorn].
Park-an-Vorn
Craig Ffwrnais
Plouvorn (29); Kerfourn (56)
Guern/gwern
B: guern, ‘alder’ [W: gwern; C: guern]
Penwarne
Cilgwern, Pengwern
Vern-sur-Seiche (35) ; Guern, Le Guerno (56)
Hanveg/hafod
OB/B: hamuc/hanveg ‘summer residence’, ‘summer fallow’ [OW/W:hamod/hafod/hafoty; C: havar].
Halvosso/Hayfossou
Nant-yr-Hafod, Hafod-dywyll, Hafoty
Hanvec (29); Croixanvec (56)
Hen
B: hen, ‘old’, ‘former’, ‘ancient’ [W: hen; C: hen]
Hendra
Henllan, Brynhenllan
Hénansal (22); Henvic (29)
Hen + Coet
B: hen, ‘old’, ‘former’, ‘ancient’ [W: hen; C: hen] and OB: coët, ‘wood/forest’ [OC: cuit; W: coed; B: koad].

Hengoed
Hengoat
Heli/hili/hayl
OB/B: heli/hili(on), ‘salting(s)’, ‘salt-water’, ‘brine’ [W: heli; C: hely/hayl].
Porthilly, Hayle
Pwllheli, Y Felinheli, Rhossili
Hillion (22)
Hirel/hirael
B: hir, ‘long’ [W: hir; C: heer/hir/hyr] and W: ael, ‘top’, ‘summit’, ‘edge’, ‘ridge’.

Hirael
Pléherel/Fréhel (22); Hirel (35)
If/yw
B: ivinen/ivin, 'yew/yews' [F: if ; W: ywen/yw; G: eburo/ivos]
Llangernyw

Yffiniac, Yvignac-La-Tour
Iuch/iwrch
B: iurgch, ‘roe(buck)’ [C: iorgh/ yorth; W: iwrch].
Carnyorth
Nantiwrch, Pwlliwrch
Le Juch (29)
Glas/glaze
B: glas, ‘grey/green/blue’ [W: glas; C: glaze].
Canaglaze, Glasney
Derwen Las, Knucklas, Bryn Glas
Bolazec, Kerlaz (29)
Killi/celli
OB: killi, ‘grove/copse [W: celli; OC/C: kelli/killi]. 
Killigrew, Killiow, Killivose, Pengelly
Pencelli, Y Gelli
Le Quillio, Penguily (22); Quily (56)
L(a)uen/lowen
OB/MB louun/l(a)ouen, ‘happy’, ‘joyful’[B: levenez, OC/C: louen/lowen; W:lleuen/llawen]
Bellowall [Bolowan/Boslowen], Burlawne [Bodlouen], Trelawne [Trelouen]
Bodlawen
Poullaouen, Tréflévenez (29); Merlévenez (56)
Lean/lleian
OB: lann, ‘monastery’, ‘hermitage’ and OB: lean(où), ‘nun(s)’ [W: lleian].

Llanlleiana, Llan Lleian-wen
Lannéanou
Lech/legh/llech
OB/B: leh, legh, lec’h, slab/stone/rock’ [OC/C: lech/legh/leh; W: llech].
Bosleigh, Tre-leigh/legh, Tre-league/leh
Benllech, Harlech, Llechylched, Llechfaen, Trelech
Ploulec’h (22)
Maen/faen
B: maen, ‘stone’ [W: maen/main; OC/C: maen/men].
Tremayne, Tremenheere

Dolbenmaen, Llysfaen, Llechfaen,  Pont-faen, Rhyd-y-main
Lanfains, Tramain (22); Bonnemain (35)

Magoer/magwyr
OB/B: macoer/moger ‘(dry) stone wall/ruin’ [W: magwyr; L: maceria, ‘masonry walls’ or ‘ruins’].

Magor
Magoar, Ploumagoar (22); Ploumoguer (29);
Marc’h/marth
B: marc’h, ‘horse’ [W: march; C: marth].

Penmarth, Polmarth
Penmarc’h (29)
Mellion/meillion
W: meillion, ‘clover’ [B: melchen/melchon; C: mellyon/mellian]
Mellionnec, Rosemullion Head
Cwm Meillionen, Maes-meillion
Mellionec
Merzher/merthyr
B: merzher, ‘saint’s grave’ or ‘burial place’ [W: merthyr; C: merther].
Merther, Mertheruny
Merthyr Tudful, Merthyr Cynog
Le Merzer
Moch/mogh
B: moch, ‘pigs’ [W: moch; C: mogh]

Mochdre, Crug-moch
Motreff (29); Mohon (56)
Moroc’h/morah
B: morhoc’h/morhouch, ‘dolphin’, ‘dauphin’, ‘prince’ [F: dauphin; W: morwch, môr-hwch; C: morhoch/morah].
The Morah

Kermoroc’h (22)
Nant
B: ant/nant, ‘valley’, ‘brook’ [W/OC: nant].
Trenant
Glanynant, Nant-y-moel
Henansal (22); Fouesnant (29); Nantes (Loire-Atlantique)
(o)scal/ysgall
OB: scal/oscalloc ‘thistle’/ ‘place of thistles’ [W: ysgallog].

Pantysgallog, Dolysgallog

Aucaleuc, Plusquellec (22)
Pen + celli/gelli
OB: penn [OC: pen/pedn; W: pen], ‘head’, ‘end’ or ‘top’ and OB: killi, grove’, ‘copse’ [W: celli; OC: kelli]. 
Pengelly
Pencelli
Penguily
Penpol
OB: penn, ‘head’, ‘end’ or ‘top’ [OC: pen/pedn; W: pen] and B: poull, ‘cove’, ‘creek’, ‘bay’ [W: pwll; OC: pol].
Penpol
Pen Pwll
Paimpont (22)
Pen + rhos/ros
OB: penn, ‘head’ [OC: pen/pedn; W: pen], B: ros/roz [W: rhos; OC: ros], ‘promontory’, ‘coastal slope
Penrose
Penrhos
Perros-Guirec
Poull/pwll
B: poull, ‘pool’, ‘pit’, ‘cove’, ‘creek’ [W : pwll ; OC : pol]
Paul; Poole (Dorset)
Pwllheli
Paule
Prad/praze
OB/B: prad/praze, meadow [C: pras/praze]. 
Praze

Prat (22)
Reden
B: reden, ‘fern’, ‘bracken’ [W: rhedyn; C: reden].

Rhedyn-coch, Brynrhedyn
Rédené (29); Rannée (35); Radenac (56)
Rin(n)/r(h)yn
B: rinn, ‘spur’, ‘ridge’, ‘point’ [W: rhyn; C: ryn].
Penryn
Penrhyncoch
Plourin (29)
Rit/rhyd
B: red/ret, 'ford' [W: rhyd; OC: rit]
Penrith (Cumbria), Redruth
Penrhyd, Rhydlydan, Pont-rhyd-y-fen
Perret (22); Plouray, Rieux (56);
Riw/rivou
B: riw/rivou, ‘slope/s’ [W: rhiw; C: riw].
Trefrew

Rhiwlas, Plas yn Rhiw, Y Rhiw, Troed-y-Rhiw
Plourivo (22); Le Rheu, Rimou (35);
Rod/rhod
B: rod/rot, ‘circle, ‘wheel’, ‘the sun’ [W: rhod; C: rôs].

Rhod Isaf, Rhodmad
Lanrodec (22); Irodouër (35); Roudouallec (56);
Ros
B: ros/roz [W : rhos; OC : ros], ‘promontory’, ‘coastal slope’ 
Roskennals, Penrose
Penrhos, Rhosgadfan
Perros-Guirec, Rostrenen (22); Roscanvel, Roscoff (29)
Saeson, sauzon
B: saozneg, ‘Saxon’ [W: sacson, saesneg, saeson]

Coswinsawsin, Tresowes
Nant-y-saeson, Rhiw-saeson
Sauzon (56)
Sarn/sorn
B: sorn/sarn, ‘causeway, ‘stepping stone’, ‘(paved) road’ [W: sarn].

Pensarn, Tal-y-sarn, Sarnau, Sarn
Le Sourn (56)
Scaw/scaw
OB: skaw/ieg, ‘(place with) elder trees’ [W : ysgeifiog; C : scaw/en]. 
Boscawen; Tresco/Trescau (Scilly Is.)

Ysgeifiog, Llanfihangel Ysgeifiog

Squiffiec
Tourch
B: tourc'h, ‘boar’ [C: torgh; W: twrch].

Twrch Vechan, Blaen-Twrch
Tourch (29)
Tre + brith
OB/B: tre/treb/trev, ‘hamlet’ or ’settlement’ and C/B/W: brith, brec’h, brych, ‘mottled’, ‘a hilly place’. 
Trebrith
Brithdir, Cefnbrith
Trébry (22)
Tre + castell
OB/B: tre/treb/trev, ‘hamlet’ or ’settlement’ and OB: castell, ‘castle’ [W/C: castell]. 

Trecastell
Trégastel (22)
Tre + crom
OB/B: tre/treb/trev, ‘hamlet’ or ’settlement’ and OB/B: crom/kromm, ‘curved’, ‘crooked’ [W: crwm/crym; C: crom]. 
Trecrom

Trégrom (22)
Tre + Maen
OB/B: tre/treb/trev, ‘hamlet’ or ’settlement’ and B: maen, ‘stone’ [W: maen/main; OC/C: maen/men]. 
Tremaine
Tremain 
Tramain
tre/treb/trev, ‘hamlet’ or ’settlement’ and B: meur, ‘great’, ‘large’ [C: maur; W: mawr]. 
Tremawr

Trémeur (22); Trimer (35)
Tricorii
L: pagus tricurius, ‘land of the three battalions’.
Trigg, Tregor

Trégor, Tréguier (22); Trégourez (29)
Uhel/uchel
B: uhel, ‘high’ [W: uchel]

Bonuchel, Gelli-Bonuchel
Uzel, Canihuel, Gurunhuel (22); Huelgoat (29)