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Montgomeryshire collections

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Vol. 56 1959-60

Meifod, Lluest, Cynaeafdy and Hendre in Welsh place-names

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Meifod, lluest, cynaeafdy and hendre
in Welsh place-names
By MELVILLE RICHARDS, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S.
In Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol. LVI, pp. 13-20, I discussed the terms
hafod and hafoty in Welsh place-names in connection with the practice of trans-
humance. In correspondence which I have since had with Dr. Iorwerth Peate,
Messrs. D. B. Hague and A. H. A. Hogg of the Royal Commission on Ancient
Monuments, and others, different shades of emphasis on certain points have emerged.
We should not, perhaps, attempt to fit transhumance in Wales into a too rigid and
systematized pattern. Mr. Hague points out that some at least of the hafodau
developed into very substantial dwelling-houses, especially Hafod-y-rhisg and Hafod-
lwyfog in Beddgelert. This development no doubt goes together with the tendency
for some hafodau to become independent of the corresponding hendre.
There are other terms connected with transhumance which we might now
consider. Meifod may be the 'May dwelling', remembering that the Welsh summer
commenced on Calan Mai, 'first of May,' and that May used to be called cyntefin,
'first month of summer,' or it may be the 'middle dwelling,' from meidd- middle,'
between the hendre and the hafod. There are some half dozen examples of this
name. It occurs in Meifod (Abergele, i.e., the old parish of St. George, c.f. 1334
Meynyot Surv. Denb.), in Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, in Y Feifod (Llangollen, c.f. 1391-3
Veyvot GPJ/EC 47, 1568 Vivod HPF iv 43; the medieval spelling is retained\*n^
maps as Vivod). There was another in the parish of Llanrhaeadr-yng-Nghinmeirch.
The best-known example is the famous Meifod in Montgomeryshire where the
kings and princes of Powys were buried. In Llanenddwyn there are Meifod Isaf
and Uchaf. The form is preserved too in Gwernfeifod in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Moch-
nant. If Meifod, however, is really 'half-house', or 'lodging', then it probably
has no connection with transhumance.
As well as hafod and hafoty there was another well-documented term for a
'summer dairy cottage', namely lluest. The term is mentioned in an article on the
cattle drovers in Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1946,
p. 251, where special reference is made to driving cattle from the Vale of Glamorgan
to the upland areas of the parish of Aberdare, where temporary summer cabins
were occupied, i.e., Lluestaillwydion (now changed to the meaningless Llestrillwydion
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