Place-Names of Carmarthenshire is the first publication to investigate all major place-names in the historic county of Carmarthen (1536-1974), including the westerly parts of the county transferred to modern Pembrokeshire after 1996.
Tracing the history of Welsh place-names casts light upon the ways in which our ancestors lived and how they thought about the world around them. The meaning of place-names, however, is not always easy to determine because their written and spoken forms have often changed over time and particularly when the language in a particular location switched from Welsh to English. Fortunately, Carmarthenshire was not so markedly affected in this respect as many other parts of Wales but it is still easy to be mislead by modern spellings:
Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen) does not recall the name of the mythological Myrddin (Merlin) in the Arthurian tales but is derived from morddin (môr / ‘sea’ and din / ‘fort’) describing a Roman maritime fort - the precursor of the medieval borough;
Llanboidy does not contain a llan (‘church’) but rather a nant (‘stream’) located near a beudy (‘cow-shed’);
Castelldwyran actually means ‘Durant’s castle’, being composed of castell (‘castle’) and an Anglo-Norman personal name Durant, rather than dwyran (‘two-thirds’).
Illustrated with many images of the county, Place-Names of Carmarthenshire examines more than 920 place-names and features a 1,000-entry Glossary of place-name elements, personal names and rivers, and is the result of the author’s detailed research in archives and reference libraries.
Richard Morgan is a former archivist at Powys Archives and Glamorgan Archives. He co-authored the Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales (2007, 2008) with Professor Hywel Wyn Owen, and is the author of Place-Names of Glamorgan (Welsh Academic Press 2018).