Monday, 24 October 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 30m-99m Twmpau and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Wales

Moelfre (SH 558 375)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that appears in the following lists; 30-99m Twmpau and Y Trechol - The Dominant Hills of Waleswith the hill's height, drop, dominance and status being confirmed by the survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 which took place on the 23rd February 2016, and which confirmed the adjacent easterly summit positioned at SH 56181 37683 as being lower. 

The criteria for the two listings that this name change applies to are:
30-99m Twmpau - All Welsh hills at and above 30m and below 100m 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.  With the criteria for Lesser Dominant status being those addition Welsh P30 hills whose prominence is 33% or more and below 50% of their absolute height.

The hill is a part of the Moel Hebog range, which is a group of hills situated in the north-western part of north Wales, and it is positioned between the small communities of Morfa Bychan to the west and Borth-y-gest to the east south-east.

The westerly summit of Moelfre (SH 558 375)

The hill appeared in the 30m-99m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s website under the name Coed Borth.  This name was found through local enquiry with Dewi Jones and at a later date confirmed by Aled Williams; a resident and native of Porthmadog respectively.  As Ordnance Survey maps of the day did not give a spot height to the westerly summit, it was the easterly summit with its 72m map spot height that was listed, both have now been Trimbled with the westerly summit proving higher. 

Coed Borth

During my early hill listing I paid little regard to name placement on a map, or the meaning of names and to what feature the name was appropriately applied to.  Therefore I prioritised names for listing purposes that I now understand are inappropriate, and Coed Borth is such an example as although this is the locally known name for the wood close to the easterly summit of this hill, it doesn’t take in the actual summit, whilst the same wood has been consistently named as Parc y Borth on Ordnance Survey maps.  However, Aled has confirmed that the higher westerly top and its adjacent easterly lower top are locally and collectively known as Moelfre. 

Before enquiring with Aled I checked the Tithe map, the term Tithe map is generally given to a map of a Welsh or English parish or township and which was prepared after the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act.  This act allowed tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods.  The Tithe maps gave names of owners and occupiers of land in each parish and importantly for place-name research they also included the name of enclosed land.  This enclosed land is usually based on a field system, however not every field is given a name, but many are and especially so in Wales.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified by the use of a split screen enabling the summit to be pinpointed on the map on the right and for the same point to appear on the Tithe map on the left

The name where the summit of this hill is situated is named Moelvra on the Tithe map

The enclosed land where the summit of this hill is situated is given the number 920 on the Tithe map, this can be cross referenced against the apportionments; it is these apportionments that give the name of the owner or occupier of the land as well as the name of the land.  The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Moelvra [sic] on the Tithe map and described as Pasture; it appears in the county named as Caernarfon and in the parish of Ynyscynhaearn.

Therefore, the name this hill is now listed by is Moelfre (spelling conforming to standard modern Welsh), and this was derived from local enquiry, as well as the land where the summit of this hill is situated being confirmed by the use of the same name on the Tithe map. 

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Moel Hebog

Name:  Moelfre

Previously Listed Name:  Coed Borth
Summit Height:  74.1m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  124

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 55830 37553  

Drop:  36.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Dominance:  49.00%

Myrddyn Phillips (October 2016)

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