INTRODUCTION ABERTAWE SWANSEA & District AFAN / NEDD BRECONSHIRE BRIDGEND and The VALE CARDIFF and district CARMARTHENSHIRE Cwm RHONDDA Valleys CWM TAWE (Swansea Valley) CYNON VALLEY GŴYR / GOWER LLANDEILO TAL-Y-BONT Pryscedwin  LLIW VALLEY LLYNFI VALLEY MERTHYR TYDFIL MONMOUTHSHIRE PEMBROKESHIRE PONTARDULAIS (Pontarddulais) PONTYPRIDD and district Place-name Elements 'A' Elements 'B' Elements 'C' Elements 'DEF' Elements 'G' Elements 'HIJK'. Elements 'L' Elements 'M' Elements 'N' & 'O' Elements 'P' - 'PL' Elements 'PO' - 'Q' Elements 'R' Elements 'S' Elements 'T' Elements 'U' and 'V' Elements 'W' Elements 'Y' ONOMASTIC TALES PLACE-NAME CHANGES Guest Book My Photos

Today Dafen is the name of a village on the outskirts of Llanelli, but originally it was the name of the river that rises between Felinfoel and Llan-non, and flows past the village of Dafen (which took the river-name as the village-name) and empties into the river Llwchwr near Penrhyn Gwyn.
The name Dafen is linked to the Welsh words dafad (a sheep) and dof (tame) and can be thought of as a river that flows slowly and quietly, like a tame animal. Other rivers linked with animals include the Twrch (boar), Hwch (sow), Aman ( pig), Arth (bear), Colwyn (young animal, whelp) etc.
The name Daven is related to Devenish near Enniskillen, Ireland, Loch Daven, near Dinnet, Scotland as well as Davenport and Daventry in England.





Most people associate the name CYNHEIDRE with a large modern Colliery near Pontiates. The CYNHEIDRE name however is more PASTORAL than INDUSTRIAL, recorded as y GYNHEYDREY in 1596. It contains two elements, Welsh CYNHAEAF and TREF. CYNHAEAF is Welsh for HARVEST and TREF, in this instance, means a FARM so that together, they become CYNHAEAFDREF the HARVEST FARM. The harvest farm would be a temporary, summer residence, similar in nature to a HAFOD, LLUEST or PEBYLL. Once the crop had been harvested, the workers would return to the HENDRE or main family dwelling for the winter, returning to the CYNHAEAFDRE in the following spring. Eventually, a permanent residence was built on the CYNHAEAFDRE and the farm name was ultimately transferred to the colliery and little village.CYNHAEAFDREF was shortened in local speech to CYNHEIDRE. Who would believe that the mighty CYNHEIDRE Colliery was named after a little HARVEST FARM? 11/06

PENPRYS, Llangennech Parish




Cylchfan Penprys 2003 Roadsign;
Pen-prys Pit (Dis.) 1947 OS1”;
Penpris Farm 1901 Census;
Penprys isha/ucha 1841 Census;
Penpris fawr 1830 OS1”;
Penprys 1881, 1827 Nevill; 1842 TS (2), TM (2);
Penprys Ishaf 1881 Census;
St David’s vein at Penprys Issa 1846 Nevill;
Landshare in Penprys 1842 TS [LO. Rees Williams. Occ. Thomas Thomas].
Pemprys 1801 PRB;
Tir pen y prist 1733/34 Coleman NLW;
Pen y priske 1625 Carms Deeds GRO; 
Penprys from earlier pen, y , prysg, [note the 1625 form] ‘end of the copse of wood’. Penprys was the name given to two farms, uchaf and isaf, a coal pit and is also currently the name of a roundabout on the Llangennech - Llanelli road. The Penprys farms listed on the Tithe Schedules below do not contain the distinguishing elements uchaf and isaf.

[1842 TS. Penprys (uchaf ?) LO. Edward Rose Tunno. Occ. David Lewis]
270 House &c. 269 Caegardd; 268 Caecefn; 267 Cae brin; 266 Erwhir; 265 Caebach; 263 Cwmdu ; 262 Caebachyrheol; 261 Handiroedd; 249 Cae rhan Wall? 248 Briny cinca (cefn cae?); 247 Caegwyn 246 Cae draw mawr;245 Cae ffynnon; 244 Wain draw; 273 Caerodyn; 274 Wain cae newydd 275, 277 Caerodyn; 264 Wainfach; 280a Tramroad & Waste; 278 Caerodyn; 280 Cae graig. 
[1842 TS. Penprys (isaf ?) LO. The Earl of Cawdor; Occ. David Lewis].
485-493 no names entered; 494 House &c. 495, 96, 97 no names entered. 500 Part of Penllwyngwyn; 501 Bryn Cot. & garden; 502,3,4, no names entered; 505 Gwainfach; 508 Caegarw mawr & Garden in Lane; 509 Caer gof; 524 Cae Llwyd.



Yr Hendy / Hendy    

Hendy [farm]     1677    Cawdor doc. HMJ/YH       

Lands called Hendy and Penybenallt   1701   BRA. HMJ/YH.                                                


Hendy [farm] alias Hendy bennalt     1789    Carms. Deeds, GRO.                                                   

Hendy Bridge              1792    HPNW.                                                                                           

Cottage on Hendy        1820; 1824;     PREdi                                                                                    

Hendy  (farm)              1820,   PREdi; 1830    OS1”                                                                             

Pont Hendy                  1830    OS1”   CRO                                                                                   

Hendy  (farm)              1842    TM                                                                                                  

Hendy Gate                 1843    The Times                                                                                          

Hendy Tinplate Works 1866    Tinopolis                                                                       

Hendy                          1921    OS6” 







Hendy, or to be more precise Yr Hendy, is the name of a village given prominence of late, by its location near to junction 48 of the M4 motorway as it enters Carmarthenshire. The village developed around, and took its name from the Hendy Tinplate Works, opened 1866.


The Hendy Tinplate Works was built on the land of Hendy Farm. Pont Hendy or Hendy Bridge (over Gwili)  and the Hendy (toll) Gate were also erected on or near to Hendy farm land.


Yr Hendy is quite a common name for a farm. Although Yr Hendy can be translated literally as ‘the old house’, the place-name has a far more significant meaning. It equates with Hendref, also a frequently used name, as the ‘home’ farm; a lowland dwelling to which the family and its stock returned for the winter months from the summer pastures on the hafod [c.f. Hafodwen, Llanedi p.] or the hills. Penallt/Benallt (wooded hill top) may well have originally been a summer dwelling, above the Bronallt hill, with Yr Hendy as the old ancestral home, ‘the old house’ yr hen dy. The adjective hen would have been used with an added meaning of affection and longing for this old Llanedi parish farm.


Compare with Hendrewen, Hendrefach and Hendrefedlen in the neighbouring parish of Llandeilo Tal-y-bont, as well as the use of hen in other local place-names viz. Yr Hen Gapel, Yr Hen Eglwys, Ystum Henllyn, also Cae hendy, Wain yr hendy and Gardd yr hendy [field-names of Pryscedwin farm, Llandeilo Tal-y-bont T.S. 1844].


P.S. Rivet and Smith suggest in The Place-names of Roman Britain p174, that there may have been a Roman fort at Hendy. If their hypothesis is proved, then a settlement at Hendy may be a great deal older than the eponymous farm.





The 1624 form is 'Tire Allt dwalais' [AMR, NLW, (BRA doc.)]
The elements disclosed appear to be 'tir', 'allt' and a stream named 'Dwalais'. Dwalais probably contains the elements 'diwel' and 'glais' suggesting a fast flowing stream, one that descends sharply (as one would expect for a stream near a wooded slope). For 'diwel' see GPC sub nomine. Here one will find 'Ar trydydd Angel a dwaloedd y phiol allan ar yr avonydd'.
I suggest that the 'dwal' in 'dwaloedd' is the same as the 'dwal' in 'Dwalais', both being forms of the verb 'diwel' meaning 'to pour, to descend sharply' etc. See also Enwau Afonydd a Nentydd Cymru pp. 139 & 140. The 'd' in 'Dwalais' became attached orally to the 't' in 'Allt' so that Allt Dwalais sounded like Allt Walais or Allt Wallis (1831 OS) and so producing a 'Wallace' surname etymology. But the 1624 form of Tire Allt dwalais holds the key to its possible etymology - Allt dwalais - 'the wooded slope of the Dwalais brook.'



While on holiday in the Carmarthenshire holiday Village near Llansaint, I was asked by a friend from Birmingham why a town would be given the name of a kid’s welly? I suppose that the English spelling of the place-name suggests such an etymology. The Welsh spelling of Cydweli is etymologically the more accurate. Having said that, I once heard on the radio, a Welsh speaker explaining that the place was called Cydweli because it lay between the beds (gwely) of the Gwendraeth Fawr and fach, i.e. cyd wely (joint beds). Both of the above explanations are fanciful and incorrect. CYDWELI contains the personal name CADWAL plus the territorial suffix ‘-i’.
Cadwal is the Cymric or Welsh form of the Gaelic name CATHAL, as noted in Blaen Cathal, Cardiganshire.
Other personal names with territorial suffixes found in place-names include:-
Meirion + ydd = Meirionydd; Eifion + ydd = Eifionydd; Morgan + wg = Morganwg also known as Gwlad Morgan > Glamorgan.
Cadwal became Cedwel under the influence of the final ‘i’, hence Cedweli.
The same is found in Ceri from Car and a final ‘i’.
The earliest recorded form is Cadweli, 1119.
But the name is much older than the age of the Normans and probably belongs to an age of Cymro/Irish co-habitation, probably to the age of the Celtic Saints.


BETWS ...is the name of a village and parish which, by the way, includes Ammanford, earlier Cross Inn.
BETWS is not a Welsh word. It is a compound of English ‘bede’ and ‘house’ and signifies a ‘house of prayer’.
‘Bede’ originally meant ‘a prayer’ but with usage, it became the word for the small wooden spheres used on rosaries, to count prayers.
The Beadehouse, Y Betws, was located on the banks of the Aman river, on the old mountain road between Swansea and Llandeilo, and would have been used by medieval travellers and inhabitants of the moorland region who lived too great a distance from a major church.

Over the years, the little medieval house of prayer grew in size and importance and became a parish church, known locally as Eglwys y Betws.
Bedehouse was Cymricised to Betws and remains with us today as a popular place-name throughout Wales – Betws Gwent, Betws Abergele, Betws y coed, Betws Garmon, Betws Ifan etc . It is ironic, I suppose, that although Bedehouse is English, there is not one place in England called Bedehouse.



It is supposedly named from the practice of prisoners intended for jail in Carmarthen and Swansea being staged for exchange. But, Cross Hands is a very popular name for a public house/hotel. There are inns of that name in Llanybydder, in Pembrokeshire, Gloucestershire, and many other counties in England and Wales.. A factor that most of the later inns have in common is that they are located on or near to cross roads, and many of them were post houses. At these inns, the cross in Cross Hands would refer to the cross roads, and the Hands would have been the hands, or staff, at the hotel who would look after the clientelle, and also possibly where horses would change hands.. The Cross Hands Hotel in the parish of Llanon was built on the cross roads sometime after 1818 when the Pontardulais to Mynydd Mawr Road was opened.
In January 1823 the lease of the Cross Hands Inn, Posthouse and farm, Llanon, was advertised for sale in the cambrian newspaper, Swansea. This is the earliest local record of the Cross Hands Inn.
By 1825, the Royal Mail was now travelling along the new road from Pontardulais to Cross Hands, and possibly changing horses at the post house there.
It is recorded on the 1831 OS 1” map as Cross Hands, near Twll y lladron, - the robbers’ hole. Perhaps this location motivated the onomastic tale of the prisoners’ exchange.
The true etymology however is far more civilised.
The village of Cross Hands took its name from the Cross Hands colliery, opened in 1869, which in turn took its name from the earlier Cross Hands Hotel. The hotel was probably so called because of its position at the cross roads, where horses would change hands, and where customers would be greeted with welcoming hands. Cross Hands, - signifies welcoming hands at the cross roads.


MACHYNYS ….is the name of a new golf course located on the sea shore near Llanelli. Machynys however, is a very old name recorded as MAGHENYS in 1499 and BACHENYS in 1590 in documents held at the Public Records Office.
BACHENYS is an attempt at rationalising the earlier MAGHENYS believing it to be a compound of Welsh Bach and Ynys [little island] whereas in reality, the two elements in the place name are Welsh MA probably followed by the personal name CYNNIS
c.f. MACHYNLLETH which is MA followed by the personal name CYNLLAITH.
MA is Welsh for a plain, a level piece of land, and this fits in with the topography of the Machynys location. Machynys is not ‘little island’. If it were, it would be YNYSFACH. CYNNIS is a very old personal name. One such CYNNIS was reputed to be king of Minervia, and father of Non mother of Dewi Sant / Saint David. MACHYNYS is most probably the level piece of land of a man called CYNNIS.

see BBCS XXV Pt. lV, 1974, pp 420-21