Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"my name is ap Rhys ap Davy ap Flood"

This map shows how the great majority of Radnorshire folk still adhered to the patronymical naming system at the time of the establishment of the county in the 1540s

In most parishes more than 90% still used the ap and vz formations signifying "son of" and "daughter of", indeed in a majority of such parishes the figure was a 100%.

In the south of the county there was a belt of three parishes, Bryngwyn, Newchurch and Michaelchurch where the figure falls just below 90%. And the same was true of Llangynllo, Knighton and Stanage further north.


Only in and around Presteigne was the traditional Welsh system replaced to any extent by the Anglo-Norman fashion for surnames, although even here Discoed has over 60% with patronyms. The figure falls below 50% in the parishes of Norton, Old Radnor and New Radnor. Presteigne itself has the lowest usage of patronyms in Radnorshire, around 10%.

Note: The map is based on Mr Faraday's publication of the Lay Subsidy of 1543-45 in the 1996 and 2003 editions of the Radnorshire Society Transactions which, although some names are missing, list well over 2000 heads of households in the county. The map could show greater detail as the figures were published for townships - for example Nantmel is made up of four townships - but I have amalgamated these into parish totals. If someone can point me to a good and free map making download please do so, as it is I've had to rely on a parish map. For most of the county this doesn't make much difference but the variety in the various Old Radnor townships is missing, for example Weythel had 100% patronyms whereas Walton had just 12.5%. In a minority of names where an ap or vz is obviously missing I've counted the name as a patronym. The most obvious example is where someone has a father called Bedo (a pet form of Maredudd). More often than not the ap is missing. Why? My theory is that the proximity of a P and a B made ap Bedo sound clumsy - maybe the academics have a word for this.

2 comments:

Murray Haye said...

O/T. No doubt Radnorian, you'll be interested in this new 'opera' about 'Englishman' John Dee, http://mif.co.uk/event/doctor-dee-damon-albarn-rufus-norris/.

old radnor said...

Thanks for the link. I suppose they'd argue that he was born in London so he's English. By the same reasoning Edward II and Henry V were Welsh. Oh well.