Posted: Mon 29th Jun 2020

Petition to stop Welsh place names being changed into English set to be debated

North Wales news and information

The Welsh Parliament will discuss a petition calling for a stop on Welsh place names being changed into English, after it smashed the 5,000 signature target.

More than 15,000 people have backed a campaign which claims indigenous place and house names are gradually being eroded, which will now be discussed by the Senedd’s Petitions Committee.

The petition states that “little by little, the country is losing its heritage” and “this must be stopped for the sake of future generations”.

The topic has been hotly debated over recent months, which saw BBC news presenter Huw Edwards wade into a row over the loss of Welsh place names, having been described by one town councillor on Anglesey as “nothing short of linguistic cleansing.”

That row centred over the Anglesey beaches of Porth Trecastell and Amlwch’s  Lamor Llan or Traeth Dynion, which have respectively often become known as “Cable Bay” and “The Creek.”

The issue has also been highlighted by comedian Tudur Owen, who has become a vocal advocate on social media on the issue.

In a BBC produced video, the Felinheli-based radio presenter said: “Replacing Welsh place names with English ones just because some people can’t pronounce them or they just don’t like the sound of them is not ok.”

Referring to Llyn Bochlwyd in Eryri (Snowdon), which has now started being referring to as “Lake Australia” due to its outline resembling the shape of the continent, he added: “We have a choice, do we keep these names and stories and tell them to the generations that will inhabit this land after we’re gone,  or do we let them be deleted because they’re difficult to pronounce?”

BBC News presenter, Huw Edwards,  described the practice as having been “going on for years — with some really gruesome and offensive examples — and virtually nothing’s been done about it.”

This is not the first time that the topic has hit the headlines however, with efforts in 2015 to establish a statutory register of certain names which should be recorded and then protected.

The same year saw several local authorities follow the lead of Ceredigion  by urging homeowners not to anglicise the names of their homes or smallholdings.

Although they currently have no legal jurisdiction to refuse requests to change names into English, any applications received sees the applicant asked to reconsider and return after a two week “cooling off” period.

The authority subsequently backed a motion calling on the Welsh Government to significantly strengthen their powers in this regard.

The island’s Senedd Member, Rhun ap Iorwerth, said: “”I’m a firm believer in celebrating, protecting and using the Welsh names around us, whether its the name of a house or the name of a geographical feature.

“It is a great disappointment that other parties have failed to back a Plaid attempt to secure legislative protection for these names, and I welcome this petition as another attempt to change the law. “

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter



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