Sunday, 2 October 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 100m Twmpau and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales

Y Faerdre (SH 781 794)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the 100m Twmpau and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales; and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 16th January 2016.

The criteria for the two listings that this name change applies to are:

100m Twmpau - All Welsh hills at and above 100m and below 200m in height that have 30m minimum drop, with the word Twmpau being an acronym standing for thirty welsh metre prominences and upward.

Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales - These are the Welsh P30 hills whose prominence equal or exceed half that of their absolute height.  

The hill is a part of the Rhos range, this group of hills includes Moelfre Uchaf and is an extension of Mynydd Hiraethog and is situated in the northern part of Wales.  The hill is encircled on three sides by the town of Deganwy and overlooks the Afon Conwy (River Conway) to its west as it enters Conwy Bay. 

Y Faerdre (SH 781 794)

The hill appeared in the 100m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the partly invented name Degannwy Castle Top, with an accompanying note stating; Name from remains of castle.  During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put PenBryn or Moel in front of them or as in this instance, use the name of the castle whose remains are situated on this hill’s summit and add the word Top.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.    

Degannwy Castle Top
    108m on 1989 1:50000 map. Name from remains of castle.
Since publication of these P30 lists on Geoff Crowder’s website there have been a number of Ordnance Survey maps made available online, some of these are historical such as the series of Six-Inch maps on the National Library of Scotland website, whilst others are current and digitally updated such as the enlarged map on the Geograph website.  One of the historical maps now available is the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map which formed the basis for the first publicly available Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map, and it is the Draft Surveyors map coupled with local enquiry and detail on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer maps that formed the basis for the change in this hill’s listed name.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map

Extract from the current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map

The Draft Surveyors maps consist of the preliminary drawings made by the Ordnance Survey’s surveyors between the 1780s and 1840 and formed the basis for the first publicly available One-Inch map.  They were drawn at scales of six inches to the mile for areas considered of particular military significance and down to two inches to the mile for other areas.  Fair copies were then produced from these preliminary drawings to one inch to the mile and then copper plates were prepared for printing.  The Draft Surveyors maps for the whole of Wales are now available online and they form an important part in the study of Welsh upland place-names as they bridge the time frame between the late 18th century and the mid-19th century when the Ordnance Survey produced their first One-Inch maps. 

The summit of this hill has the remains of Castell Deganwy (Degannwy Castle in English) situated on it, and local enquiry as well as research online coupled with detail on Ordnance Survey maps indicates that the hill is also known as The Vardre, this is an obvious anglicisation of a Welsh word, and it is the Draft Surveyors map that gives historical documentation of its original form; Y Faerdre, the meaning of this word is an area of land where crops were grown under the supervision of the steward.  It is appropriate to use the name Y Faerdre as opposed to that of the anglicised form as the Welsh form is prioritised when list compiling.     

Therefore the name this hill is now listed by in the 100m Twmpau and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales is Y Faerdre and this was derived from a number of sources with the original Welsh form being used on the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map, and the anglicised form from local enquiry and contemporary Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer maps.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Moelfre Uchaf

Name:  Y Faerdre

Previously Listed Name:  Degannwy Castle Top
Summit Height:  109.0m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  115

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 78160 79432
Drop:  c 77m

Dominance:  70.67%

Myrddyn Phillips (October 2016)

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