The Upper Tywi Valley Farms and Field Names project


  • The project was run by the Upper Tywi valley History Group through Cilycwm Community Association and attracted funding of £13,105 ( match funded by volunteer time) from the Carmarthenshire Landscape and Heritage Grant Scheme.


  • The aim was to record and discover local topographical heritage through archival research and interviewing local people.
  • And to develop a publicly accessible data which would inform future researchers and further local projects


  • A book which was a compilation of the most interesting discoveries from the research


“Every piece of land that has been used anywhere in the world is likely to have, or had, a name. Fields are named for practical reasons and so reflect something distinctive about a particular field.  Field-names are clues to past use. They are a message to us from the past.”

“Local history is a legitimate and valid form of history” and it is for this very reason that “the local historian must accept the same standards in terms of research and presentation of data as any other historian. There can be no half measures.”

John Lynch


As one of the main objects of the exercise was to further unravel the story of Blaenau Tywi through the names of its dwellings and fields, it was vitally important that the names of every farm and field are copied exactly as they were originally recorded, no matter how strange or inaccurate a name may appear.  In Welsh, a circumflex (^) can completely change the meaning of a word; needless to say all circumflexes and accents were included.

Of equal importance are the names of features such as streams, pools, wells, bridges, crags, slopes, woods, orchards, gardens, etc. Sorting a selection of these names into their various types revealed much about the social history of Blaenau Tywi.

There had to be a starting point, and we chose the Tithe Commutation Act 1836, which required the drawing of a map showing all the land in a parish. A map was produced for each “tithe district”, and each map was accompanied by a schedule which showed the owner, occupier, individual fields – sometimes with field names.

Unfortunately, the surveyor for Cil-y-cwm, was averse to recording field-names.  However, a wealth of information is available in estate maps – e.g. Cawdor/Campbell (1777), available in Carmarthenshire Archives.

Once our initial data, containing information from the Tithe Maps and Schedules, had been established, it was time to start visiting the farms on the list.  Many had disappeared; some have been rebuilt on another site.

The biggest change, however, was seen in the fields themselves.  Many have been merged to create larger fields, others have been attached to a neighbouring farm.  A large percentage of the original field-names have been re-named or forgotten.  Any changes were recorded, including all new field-names.


Rhan ariannwyd Cynllun Grantiau Tirwedd a Threftadaeth Sir Gar gan Cyngor Cefn Gwlad, Cynllun Datblygu Gwledig, Llywodraeth Cymru, Cyngor Sir Gâr ac mewn da gan Yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol.
Carmarthenshire Landscape and Heritage Grant Scheme is part funded by the Countryside Council for Wales, Rural Development Plan, Welsh Government, Carmarthenshire County Council and in kind by The National Trust.