PONTYPRIDD and district

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

PONTYPRIDD and district





Ynys-y-bwl or Ynys-y-bŵl   


bŵl  The authoritative Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru gives numerous English equivalents including ‘globe’, ‘ball’, ‘bowl’ (as in ‘bowls’ the game not ‘bowl’ dish) 


ynys is a strip of land beside a stream or river In the remarkable volume Llanwynno and in his chapter on the Fair at Ynys-y-bŵl, the author, Glanffrwd, states ‘chware pêl  oedd prif enwogrwydd Ynys-y-bŵl’; Ynys-y-bŵl’ was most famous for its ball game.

‘Mae’r chwaraefan eto wrth dalcen tŷ Ynys-y-bŵl’

the court still stands at the gable end of the Ynys-y-bŵl inn. The game was a version of ‘fives’ or hand-ball, and such a court still exists in Nelson.Glanffrwd calls the court ‘y plaen pêl’ ‘plaen’ being the equivalent of ‘ynys’ and ‘pêl’ being the ‘bŵl’ (ball).A visit to the present Old Bwl Inn reveals a building with a large gable end lying on a strip of land where the Ffrwd flows into the Clydach. Glanffrwd’s book records the period prior to David Davies’s discovery of coal in the Clydach valley.The Square in the middle of the present village marks a line of division between theland ofRobert Thompson Crawshay the Merthyr iron master and the land of the Earl of Plymouth and Lady Windsor after whom the colliery was named. Crawshay wanted his part of the village to be named Robertown (as in the hotel and Ysgol Trerobert), thePlymouth family wanted their part of the village to be known as Clivetown after their eldest son.However, the village elders in their wisdom, decided to revert to the name of the original hamlet that lay at the junction of the Ffrwd and the Clydach.That hamlet was known as Ynys-y-bŵl, but the new mining village (in my opinion) has always been known as Ynys-y-bwl.



D. Geraint Lewis






2008                Upper Boat Public House         visited.

1953                Bad Uchaf        Upper Boat      JJ/NLW

1940-1             Upper Boat      [Glan-Bad]       CMA/NLW

1905-15           Glan-bad                                  Gwenith Gwyn/NLW

1887                Glanybad                                  DPNW

1799                Upper Boat                              Yates

1790                Rhyd y bithel    Upper Boat      CW.St.D.Ep.6/NLW

1788                the higher boat                          DPNW

1769                Upper Boatside                        DPNW


The Upper Boat name predates the Glamorgan Canal [1791] and refers to a ferry boat across the river Taf, in the parish of Eglwys-Ilan some three miles south of Pontypridd.

There were other ferry boats lower down the river Taf at Gabalfa, Rhydhelig/Willowford and Taffs Well, but this was the upper of the ferry boats.


The Welsh name Glan-bad, [boat river-bank] appears to be later than its English counterpart, with no recorded forms viewed earlier than 1887. This is not to say however, that the Welsh form Glan-bad was not the favoured form in early local parlance.


Today, the Upper Boat Public House stands on the eastern banks of the River Taf, just off the A470 near the Rhydfelen roundabout. Its location is reputedly near to the earlier Upper Boat river crossing.




Ty pryth       1665

Pont (Newydd) y ty prid (sic) 1699

Pont y Pridd 1699

Pont y Ty Pridd 1764

New Bridge or Pont ypridd 1813 



A will of 1665 (Llanwynno, NLW) names Ty pryth (ty pridd) as part of Ieuan Jones's legacy to Katherin his wife. Note that the prefix 'pont' is absent from the name (if we assume that this is the same property as the later Pont y Ty Pridd). Pont (Newydd) y Ty Prid  1699, contains two distinguishing features for the bridge over the river Tâf - newydd and y tŷ pridd. Pont (Newydd) could indicate that the bridge of 1699 was a new bridge, or it could refer to an earlier Pont Newith named by Leland in 1536-39 as spanning the river Tâf, 3 miles lower than Pont Rehesk (pont yr hesg) and 4 miles above Pont Landafe.  Rice Merrick however names the bridge between Heske and Landaf as Yniswern (BGA 1587). William Edwards’s famous one arched bridge built over the river Tâf  c.1775 was also called Newbridge. The same name was used by the Taff Vale Railway Co. for their station there in 1840. This name however did not survive as the town name, due to the emergence of another Newbridge in Monmouthshire.   


Pont y tŷ pridd refers to a bridge near an earthen house. This bridge pre-dates Edwards’s bridge, and although not named, the earthen house may possibly have stood near to Leland’s Pont Newith. The significance of ‘earth’ (pridd) in the house description is probably related to the material used in house construction.(cf. Gwaun y tŷ pridd, Margam; Tŷ pridd, Carms. Anglesey and Meirioneth; Tyddyn pridd, Montgomery, Anglesey; Muriau pridd, Caerns. as well as Priddy, Somerset.)     


Pontypridd has evolved from Pont y tŷ pridd and refers to a bridge near a house of earth.Regarding pronunciation, Pont tŷ pridd (pont tee preethe) may be etymologically more accurate than Pont y pridd (pont ugh preethe). The shortened form of  Pontŷ, as heard in the oft chanted  'Pontee, Pontee' may well have a longer and more Cymric history than its rugby-field usage. It may not be solely the product of a supposed English mispronunciation.



YNYSANGHARAD   Ynis Enharred               1729Ynysangharad               1817Ynisangharad                1839Ynysangharad and Trallwng Fields        c1840Ynysangharad St.         1879Ynysangharad House    1885Ynysangharad War Memorial Park       1923Ynysagharad Rugby Field         1908-1974

 Contains two elements – ynys and probably the personal name Angharad




1. 'meadow, pasture on the banks of a river or stream; river meadow'.

2. 'island'.    The vast majority of inland place-names containing this element have the meaning of 'river meadow'. eg.Ynys Cynon (Cynon river meadow),Ynys Both (boeth) [warm river meadow], Ynys Lwyd (grey river meadow), TS1844. Ynys y bwl (bowl river meadow), OSM .etc.            Place-names around the sea shore containing this element usually mean 'island'. eg.Ynys Byr (Caldey Island),Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island),Ynys Mon (Anglesey) etc.            This Celtic place-name element can also be found in the form of 'inis', 'inish', 'enis' and 'inch'. eg. Innisfallen (theisland ofFaithlenn), Killarney; Inishannon (Owen's island or river meadow,Cork); Eniselthlan, 1536-39, Itin. Lel.36. (Gallan's river meadow, Llantrisant); Enniskillen,(island ofCeithle,Fermanagh.); Inchkeith,(island of the wood,Fife,Scotland.).  



The 1729 form of Enharred is probably an attempt at Angharad, the feminine personal name, but it could also be an attempt at Welsh ‘enharreg’ a variant of ‘hanereg’ meaning half an acre.


Ynysangharad probably has a meaning of ‘Angharad’s river meadow’, but one cannot discount the  possibility that it may refer to ‘half acre river meadow’.


Ynysangharad was firstly a field-name, then, it became the name of a house and a street. Early in the 20th century it became the name of a rugby pitch and following WW1, Ynysangharad was also the name of a memorial park. It continued as a rugby pitch until 1974, when Sardis Road became the home of Pontypridd RFCseg">

The drawing below shows Pontypridd c1860s. The river on the left with the double arched bridge below Brunel's railway viaduct is the Rhondda.The river with Edwards's one arched bridge overlooking the more modern three arched bridge is the Tâf. Ynysangharad field is the piece of land below the two bridges, on the eastern bank of the river Tâf, bottom right.