Thursday, June 16, 2011

Radnorshire Places, Radnorshire Surnames

This week's Radnor Express reports that Mr Trevor Gummer has been appointed manager of Presteigne St Andrews football club, this follows his success in winning the Edwin Traylor Cup with the Under-18 team.

In Radnorshire and Herefordshire the surname Gummer is in all probability derived from the Gumma farm in Discoed (see post below). Of course elsewhere in England the name may well have other origins and that applies to most of the names discussed in this post. What about Traylor? A search of the 1881 Census shows it to be a surname of the Radnorshire border area, see here. I think there must be a chance that, together with the names Trillo and Trelloe, it is derived from another local farm Maes-Treylow, there were certainly Treylowes in the 16C Lay Subsidy.

Some other local surnames in use at one time or another and which were probably derived from places along the Radnorshire/Herefordshire border include: Badland, Barland, Bilymore, Dyke, Gilla, Gore, Hargest/Hergest, Hoddell, Impton. Knill, Knoke, Lingen, Nash, Norton, Radnor, Rodd, Slough, Weston, Whitney and Whitton.

Seeing a surname like Bach or Bache or even Bage, I suppose the obvious derivation is from the Welsh word bach. However names in the historical record such as A'Bache suggest that in Radnorshire the name might instead derive from the Bache farm between Kinnerton and New Radnor. Bache in this case being an Old English word for a stream. Blackbach or Black Patch in Norton parish has the same origin. In the 14C Llywelyn Blackbache was a court official in Maelienydd and the name was common enough in the 16C. The surname seems to have disappeared since then, although Blackpatch Godwin, a Presteigne lass, was found guilty of forcible entry in 1747.

As far as I know local placenames made no contribution to the stock of Radnorshire surnames away from the eastern fringe, although it would be nice if Gwenllian Goustrey came from Gwystre.

UPDATE: Since this was posted the National Library of Wales Journal has been added to Welsh Journals Online site and I see that Rhodri's brother Prys Morgan contributed an article on Welsh surnames derived from placenames. For Radnorshire he lists Badarn, Blayney, Bykeldy, Cascoppe, Hodoll, Radnor, Rayad or Ryatt, Treylowe and Trillo. Some of those names would never have been used in Radnorshire of course - Rayad for example is found in Pembrokeshire but possibly derived from Rhayader. Mr Morgan ignores names like Hargest from just across the present-day border which is fair enough. He also makes a good point in relation to the Inner and Outer Wales theory which has been fashionable for a while - a theory which takes a shifting line, the divide between Welsh and English speaking areas and treats it as if it was some permanent feature. Anyway Morgan's point is that the paucity of surnames derived from places in Radnorshire shows it to have been an area of resistance to rather than penetration of English influence.


juan de gales said...

Gittoes also seems to be a not uncommon name around the border area, I am unaware of it being used elsewhere in

radnorian said...

Along the border older Welsh given names, short forms and nicknames were adopted as surnames. By the time surnames were adopted away from the border the familiar Jones, Davies, Evans etc had become the norm.

Gittoes from Guto, a short form of Gruffudd was one of those border surnames, further north Gutyn also a short form of Gruffudd, giving Gittins, was more popular. A couple of others Beddowes from Bedo - Maredudd and Lello from Llewellyn.

These old Welsh names are more typical of Shropshire and Herefordshire.