WHEN researching historic place names in Wales where else would the Royal Commission’s place names officer Dr James January-McCann start but Carmarthen?

Dr James January-McCann says of his work that the new website unlocks the history of nearly 350,000 Welsh place names.

The recently introduced historic place names resource records the rich legacy of place names used throughout Wales to describe geographical features, settlements, thoroughfares, business and even individual properties in Wales’s long and fascinating history.

When viewing online at https://historicalplacenames.rcahmw.gov.uk and clicking on Carmarthen, a spiral of red flags reveal all the variants of the town’s name. They stretch back almost 2,000 years and include Muridono, Lann Toulidauc icair, Chaermerthin, Kaermerdin and many more.

In all from around Wales, the site reveals nearly 350,000 historic place names harvested from Ordnance Survey, tithe maps and research on earlier settlement names conducted at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the University of Wales.

The wonderful tangle of Carmarthen’s named past has been highlighted and illustrated in the Autumn issue 65 edition of Heritage in Wales. The place names included in the list reflect various forms and spellings down the dusty corridors of time to the Middle Ages and sometime beyond.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, said the website was a wonderfully fascinating educational and powerful research tool.

“It is befitting that Carmarthen, recognised as the oldest town in Wales, is significantly flagged within the website and which will no doubt provide rich and varied new information for students, visitors and anyone interested in our town’s rich heritage,” he said.

“Carmarthen is the oldest continually occupied town in Wales, proud of its Roman origins as well as its links with the Arthurian legends of Merlin. The wizard is said by some to have been born here.”

On the new online resource you can search the list for a specific place name or post code, zoom to your location, or just browse the modern or historic Ordnance Survey mapping.

The list is already impressive but it will grow over the years as further researches are incorporated.

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