What's in a name?

SIGNPOST: Professor David Thorne, of the University of Wales, has been pointing Eisteddfod-goers in the direction of Welsh place-names.

SIGNPOST: Professor David Thorne, of the University of Wales, has been pointing Eisteddfod-goers in the direction of Welsh place-names.

First published in News by

Have you wondered about the interesting history behind familiar local place names?

Eisteddfod-goers had a chance to learn the meaning of a host of Carmarthenshire names in a lecture given by Professor David Thorne, former Head of the Welsh Department at the University of Wales, Lampeter.

The lecture on the Eisteddfod maes was organised and sponsored by Carmarthenshire County Council in co-operation with the Welsh Place Names Society.

One of the names to be discussed was the name of one of the nearest places to the maes, Machynys.

Prof Thorne said: “Machynys is an interesting name. It is a name that belongs to the class of place names in Welsh which include the element ‘ma’ – which denotes flat land or open land; and that element is very often followed by a person’s name.

“In the case of Machynys the meaning is the plain belonging to Cynys.”

He said that the meaning of Carmarthen was the fort in maridunum and he spoke about how the myth about Merlin developed.

There will be a chance to question Professor David Thorne on the Maes today when he visits the Welsh History Forum tent.

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