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WELSH PLACE NAMES.

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WELSH PLACE NAMES. Mr Herbert Lfwis has on many an ccea>ion tendered Wales no inconsiderable service in the House (of Commons, not so much by taking a prcsainent part in full dress debate -though in this respect he has bcme his full share of responsibility as a Welsh representa- tive—as by the raising of questions apparent- ly small -tind comparatively unimportant in themselves when superficially regarded, but Nrhio-h, on closer an dfuller examisiat ion, prove to haw a, really important and essential bear- ing osi the whole question of Welsh Nation- ,alism. His latest essay in this respect is the 'question which he will put to-morrow (Frrfiay) night in the Hou-si-, to Mr Hanbury, as Tepresenting the Postmaster General. The question is a simple amfl a very practical OJre, touching what is a very substantial ievance to a large number of the inhabi- tants of the Principality. Mr Lewis proposes to ask what the Post 'Office authorities are prepared to do to meet not only national sentiment, but the actual 'needs of no inconsiderable proportion of Her Majesty's subjects in the Principality. Owing to the supinerress of a past generation, Oiany of the old Welsh place names have, so far as officialdom is ^concerned, practically disappeared. and their plarce has been usurped by a Saxon or Anglicised monstrosity. It is not always that there is such excuse, not 1ro say justification, for the substitution, as in the case of, say, Holyhead for Caergybi, of Cardiff for Caerdydd, of Swansea for Aber- tawe, or even of Portdrnorwic for Felin Hdfi, or Menai Bridge for Porth Aethwy. But whether the substitution of a more or less excusable and a more or less generally Understood English for the old historic Welsh name can be justified or net, the fact remains that in a large number of instances the officially recognized na.me of a place is not the popularly recognized one; and even where it is, there is a Welsh name havirg historic associations with the place and local- ity which English officialdom superciliously ignores in a manner worthy of Saxon Phil- istinism. For instance, a letter addressed to Caergybi, instead of to Holyhead, would 111 all probability be delayed in transmission, as a portion of tribute which Welsh Nation- alism has to pay to English redtape ignorance. There are eases on record where letters ad- dressed to Caerfyrddin have taken a week In transmission, while letters addressed to Abertawe or Caerdydd have been actually re- turned to the sender, marked "Cannot be delivered owing to insufficient address. Now Mr Herbert Lewis proposes a very simple and common sense solution for this difficulty. He does not desire, as possibly some rabid nationalists would, the com- plete and absolute discontinuance of English names which more or less lengthy usage has Olore or less established, but he contends for the recognition, side by side with the Eng- lish name, of the recognised Welsh name. lIe wishes this recognition to be formal and official, and to be manifested by giving the Welsh nalfce side by side with the English name in the official Post Office Guide. While we heartily approve of Mr Herbert Lewis's action, we must confess that we have very little hope of seeing his present effort crowned with success. The Ministry which brought all its forces into play to defeat Mr Bryn Roberts's very sensible suggestion that a lack of knowledge of Welsh should be an absolute disqualification to presentment to a Church living in Wales, can hardly be ex- pected to recognize,in so important a Govern- ment department as the Post Office^ that the Welsh language is still a living force in the Principality. It is perfectly true that there are means by which even a Conservative Government ^'ith a majority of a hundred and fifty at its "ack may be influenced. But those means Can hardly be expected to Be resorted to by a people so indifferent to these matters as a large section of the Welsh people have proved themselves to be. We will undertake to say that to a large pc rtion of the Calvinistic Meth- Odlsts, for instance, the General Assembly of that important Connexion were held this year at Newport, and not at Casnewydd! Welsh people themselves have fellen into the habit, we will say the regrett- able habit, of calling these places by their English rather than their Welsh, names, and that to a large proportion of the inhabitants of North Wales such place names as Casnew- Ydd, Castellnedd, and Abertawe, would afford no clue to the actual localities; while an Equally large portion of South Walians would he equally ignorant of what is meant by Tre- ffynon Porth Aetbwy, and Caer Gybi! What is needed is some organization to take up the matter of the preservation and official recognition cf the old Welsh names. is not a day too soon to do so. Indeed lt naay, and in many cases probably is, already tco late to remedy the evil. Railway companies and English speculators have been great transgressors in the past, and their transgressions have not only been forgiven but popularised. Thus we shall probably fcever see Porth Aethwy take the place of Menai Bridge, or Aber Maw that cf Bar- mouth, or even Felin Heli that of Port Din- orwic. But we may, at least, prevent further Vandalism of the kind to which the North Wales Narrow Guage Railway authorities have shown a tendency to commit themselves. Solomon Andrews has something to answer for in giving the high sounding, but Unmeaning name of Fairbourne to thef VateriTItg'placeof the future-in front of Arth- £ g. He would have had more still to answer Qr had he succeeded in his attempt to in(Juce_ the Welsh people to consent to calling Pwll- heli "Saltpool!" Mr Corbett at Towyn can hardly be regarded as a shade better in call- his new Towyn "Towyn-on-Sea," as though a "Towyn" could be anywhere except on sea! J^e shall next hear of "Snowdon on the fiills!" Y At the present moment the inhabitants of rjjandrillo-yn-Rhos are much exercised over ^he question of a suitable Anglicised name their locality. As compromises Rhos-on- ^Ga, Rhes Trillo, and similar absurdities have ?een suggested. The authorities who ab- ,reviated Llansantffraid Glan Conwy into Jl^ple "Glan Conwy" have some excuse for heir action but Llanfair P.G. is a senseless 0ttibinat!cn to which the Welsh people should tleVer have submitted. But let not our readers be too hasty in their 4eqtlieseence with our criticism.- Let them p°k a little nearer home. Take the case of J^rnarvon for instance. Why should we i ave sucfi" nonsensical street names as Eng- road, and Warfield road, and the like ? j hy not give these new streets names more .V harmony with the locality and its associa- te? Some District Councils in North i, ales have already gone so far as to rename ,?e whole of the streets within their jurisdic- and given each a characteristically elsh name, possessing some local or historic s"Ss°ciation. A Welsh Society for the Pre- ^^ation and Recognition of Welsh Place ^Tajnes has certainly ,a mission in the world. niess it be brought into existence before the tew tiolooo bridge is built across the Aber develope the Coed Helen Estate, we may fo^°t to sees Carnarvon in the future trans- th ^nt° a simple and modest suburb to new town beyond the Aber, which, pre- tio ably, will be known to the next genera- .n»a Die Shon Dafyddites as Euston ughes' Town)-on-the-Sands! t y;

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