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



Veynor                         1373    RM.RFPP./BPN; 1736    DTMJ/NLW

Vaynorweyno              1402    RM.RFPP./BPN;

Maenor Weyno            1523    El.Bowen/Vaynor

Vaynor Wyno               1570    TVD/ML

Vaynor                         1610    Speed.

Vaynor Church             1704    CW/HMT

Vainor                          1736    Penpont/NLW

Viner Parish                  1766    Plymouth/Griffiths

Faenor                         1832    OS1"

Maes y faenor              1851    Census

Rectory Vaynor            1851    Census

Vaynor and Penderyn Secondary School   1932

Vaynor, Y Faenor is the name of a church and parish on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil. Early forms attribute the manor to Gwynno, one of the three saints associated with Llantrisant, and the eponymous Gwynno of the church and parish of Llanwynno. The church at Vaynor has however been erroneously assigned to St. Gwenfrewi.

Y Faenor is represented as Vaynor in English orthography, without the definite article. Faenor is the mutated form of Welsh maenor, ‘a former Welsh territorial and administrative unit comprising a varying number of townships,' G.P.C. The similarity of maenor to French manoir, maner and Eng. manor has affected and influenced its etymology. It may contain Welsh maen ‘stone', but it could be derived from Lat. magnus ‘great, large' (see Enwau Lleoedd Sir Gaernarfon p114 ).

It also occurs in Faenor (Vaynor) Mont., and Rads., Faenor Gaer, Pembs. and Faenor Uchaf, Cards. It is written as faenol in the north of Wales as evidenced in Bryn Terfel's famous Faenol festival of music.

Maenor Gwynno became the name of a parish and a church. Over the years, the truncated Faenor (Vaynor) was used for parish and church as well as for land and a rectory belonging to the church. Vaynor Cottage, Vaynor Quarries and Vaynor and Penderyn Council  have all taken the old parish name as part of their titles.

The largest settlement in the parish is the village of Cefn-coed-y-cymer and it was here that the Vaynor and Penderyn Secodary School was opened in  1932, [later the Vaynor and Penderyn Comprehensive School/Ysgol Gyfun y Faenor a Phenderyn], taking its name from the two Breconshire parishes that formed its catchment area. In 1974, local government reorganisation saw the parish of  Y Faenor/Vaynor released from Breconshire to become part of the new county of Mid-Glamorgan.

Vaynor from Welsh maenor, y faenor, ‘a former Welsh territorial and administrative unit'.

[I am grateful to John Ball for informing me that the 1841 census returns for the parish of Vaynor have been lost, along with the other districts included in the Merthyr Tydfil Higher sector for that year.] 







 Rhyd-y-car is not an uncommon place-name in south Wales and the borders. It occurs in Talgarth, Brecs., Llanedi, Carms., Llangrallo (Coychurch), Glam., Llangiwg, Glam., Wolvesnewton, Monmouth and in St. Weonards, Herefordshire. The one feature that these places have in common is of course a ford, as the first element ‘rhyd’ implies. The second element ‘car’ is popularly acknowledged as the Welsh word for a cart, carriage and sled. Rhyd-y-car signifies the location of a safe river crossing, safe enough for a cart or carriage to be pulled across. Cartford, in Lanacashire mirrors the Welsh Rhyd-y-car. Most of us associate the Merthyr Rhyd-y-car with the leisure centre constructed there in 1975. The earliest recorded forms of the place-name occur as Rhyd y car in 1715 and 1728, while Emanuel Bowen chooses Rhyd y Gar for his map of South Wales, 1729. Some Cyfarthfa papers held at the National Library of Wales record a lease of land at Rhyd y car in Oct. 1768.

Apart from Emanuel Bowen, the elements are consistently shown as ‘rhyd’ ‘y’ and ‘car’, - the cart ford. Rhyd-y-fen of Pontrhydyfen in the Afan valley is a similar place-name, with the final element ‘men’ indicating a ‘cart or wagon’. Rhyd-y-car, – the cart ford.







Today, 'the Gurnos' is the name given to a large housing estate on the northern edge of Merthyr Tydfil. Construction started in the early 1970s in order to house families living in very old properties, primarily in Georgetown. The Gurnos place-name however is much older. It occurs as 'gyrnos' in 1630, the name of a farmstead, 'y Girnos' in 1716 and 'the Gurnos' in 1815. The place-name is also used in other parts of south Wales, - Gurnos, Gowerton, Bryngurnos, near Maesteg, Gurnos, Ystradgynlais etc. Gwynedd O Pierce, in his 'Place-Names in Glamorgan', informs us that 'gurnos' contains the Welsh feminine noun 'curn, cyrn', (heap, pyramid) with the suffix –os.
Normally a diminutive ending, -os has also developed as a collective plural, indicating a place with an abundance of the named object e.g. bedwos < bedw(birch) –os, (as in Bedwas), grugos < grug (heather) –os, as in Y Rugos (Rhigos, Ricos).
Gurnos therefore would indicate an abundance of small heaps, tumps or hillocks, and it is this meaning that Professor Emeritus Pierce suggests as the most acceptable for the Merthyr Gurnos, - ‘Perhaps the most acceptable solution for the Merthyr Gurnos may be to regard the name as a descriptive term in such a location for land whose uneven surface is characterised by tumps or hillocks and depressions.’
Those of us who remember the terrain before the constructions of the 1970s can sympathise and respond positively to this etymology.








The most common usage of Welsh ‘merthyr’ is as ‘a martyr’, and it is this meaning that has usually been attributed to the etymology of this place-name. It has since the 13th century, included the personal name Tudfil/Tudful, which has given rise to the onomastic tale of Tudfil, one of the daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog, being slain by a gang of Irish raiders and hence martyred here.

Merthyr, however, also has a meaning of ‘a grave’, and this place-name may do no more than record the burial place of an important person named Tudfil. Indeed, Tudfil may well be a masculine name.
Merthyr Tudfil - ‘Tudfil’s grave’.









"The village of FOCHRIW grunts among the hills;
The dwellings of miners and pigeons and PIGS"....

This couplet is taken from IDRIS DAVIES's poem, 'GWALIA DESERTA', and endorses the common belief that this place-name contains the Welsh word 'moch' - 'pigs' as a first element, giving a perceived meaning of 'hill of the pigs'. The early forms however, dispute this :-
BOHRUKARN c. 1170 contains the Welsh words, BOCH RHIW and CARN giving a meaning of 'CHEEK SHAPED HILL of the CAIRN'.
The confusion has been caused by the lenition of BOCH to FOCH. FOCH was then assumed to have been derived from Welsh 'moch' when in reality, it was acquired from Welsh 'boch' a'cheek'. BOCHRHIW indicates a hill in the shape of the facial cheek. FOCHRIW is from BOCHRIW meaning the 'cheek (shaped) hill'. 11/06