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Period Welsh Models for SCA Households and the Nomenclature Thereof

copyright © 1994 Heather Rose Jones, all rights reserved

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A far more accessible method of name construction involved the modification of a given name, usually alleged to be that of the region's first ruler. These may well have originally meant "followers of, or tribe of so-and-so" and later become attached to the territory itself. These names are mostly found for cantrefs, cwmwds, and some larger conglomerations, although a few smaller areas or towns are so named. Many of the larger areas so named are called after sons and other descendents of the 5th century king Cunedda (who seems to have been a prolific begetter of rulers). When the eponymous founder can be identified, it is in every case a man living between the 5th and 10th centuries. It appears that this type of name creation stopped around the 10th or 11th century. The majority of this type of name are formed by adding a suffix as in the following examples. [Unless otherwise noted, the examples in this section are from Richards 1965.]

If constructing new names using these patterns, note that many suffixes cause umlauting of vowels in the root name.


The cantref of Arwystli (from Arwystl, a son of Cunedda); the cwmwds of Cedweli (from Cadwal) and Ceri (possibly from Car, although Ceri itself is also a personal name); and others Gwynysi (from Gwynnys) and Lleweni (from Llawen).

-in or -ing

The regions of Cadelling (from Cadell), Coeling (from Coel), Cyndrwynin (from Cyndrwyn), and Cynferching (from Cynfarch); the cantref of Dunoding (from Dunod, one of Cunedda's sons, a derivative of Donatus); the cwmwd of Dogfeiling (from Dogfael).


The region of Brycheiniog (from Brychan); the cantrefs of Gwynllywiog usually found as Gwynllwg (from Gwynlliw), Pebidiog (from Pebid), and Rhufoniog (from Rhufon); the cwmwds of Anhuniog (from Annun, a derivative of Antonius), Cetheiniog (from Cathen), Cyfeiliog (from Cyfael), and Peuliniog (from Peulin a derivative of Paulinus); and others Conysiog (from the Irish name Conws), Celleiniog (from Cellan or Gellan), Myfoniog (from Myfawn), and Tudweiliog (from Tudwal).


The regions of Ceredigion (from Ceredig), Iorweirthion (from Iorwerth), Meigion (from Maig); the cwmwds of Afloegion (from Afloeg), Carnwyllion (from Carnewyll), Colion (from Coel, a possible son of Cunedda), Edeirnion (from Edern, a son of Cunedda), Edeligion (from Edelig), Gwrtheyrnion (from Gwrtheyrn, the Vortigern of Arthurian legend), Gwynogion (from Gwynnog), Mebwynion (from Mebwyn); and others Osfeilion (from Osfael), Eleirnion (from Aelhaearn), Ffynogion (from Ffynnog), and Llefyrion (from Llefyr).


The regions of Cynllibiwg (from Cynllwyb), Morgannwg (from Morgan [Hutson 1940 p.27]), Rheinwg (from Rhein [Hutson 1940 p.12]), Rhiellwg (from Rhiell), and Seisyllwg (from Seissil [Hutson 1940 p.11]); Gwerthefyriwg (from Gwerthefyr).


The cantrefs of Gwrinydd (from Gwrin), Maelienydd (from Maelien), and Meirionydd (from Meirion, a grandson of Cunedda); the cwmwds of Eifionydd (from Eifion ap Dunod, whose father gave his name to Dunoding [Bartrum 1966 p.127]), Gwynionydd (from Gwynion), Llebenydd (from Lleban or Lliban), Mefenydd (from Mafan), and Senghennydd (from Sangan); and others Serwynnydd (from Serwan or Serwyn), Ceirionnydd (from Ceirion), and Cristionydd (from Cristion).

Similar suffixes could be added to items other than personal names, as in the case of Glywysing from Glywys which is the root Gly- = Glevum (Gloucester) plus the Welsh derivative (-wys) of the Latin suffix -ensis, meaning roughly "the inhabitants of a region". (Note that in later times a mythical man "Glywys" was invented to account for this name.) Thus Glywysing redundantly means "the land of the inhabitants of the land of Glevum". [Jenkins 1960] There is at least one place name of this type derived from a title/occupation: Esgeibion, from esgob "bishop", undoubtedly meaning "the lands belonging to the bishop".

Some regional names have the personal name as a second element, but this follows a more general pattern of <geographical/political element> <given name> which is discussed at greater length later. Examples of this among the larger regions include Caereinion (caer "castle" + Einion), Dinfael (Dinas "fortified place" + Mael), Glamorgan (gwlad "land" + Morgan), Maesoswallt (maes "field" + Oswald or perhaps Ossa).

The preceding are all examples where the root personal name may be found in common usage. In other cases, not only does the eponymous founder seem to have been legendary, but in all probability was invented whole cloth for the sake of the eponym and bears a name that is found nowhere else. (Many of these examples derive from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.) They include Lloegyr (England) from Locrinus, Albannach (Scotland) from Albanactus, Cambria (Wales) from Kamber [Hutson 1940 p.8], (in this case the derivation can be shown to be false, since Cambria derives from the Brythonic Combrogi "fellow dwellers in a region" ). [GPC]

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