Unlocking the mystery surrounding the names of Wales’ fields with Brychan Llŷr

Brychan Llyr.

An intriguing S4C programme about the history of Welsh fields, which so captured the imagination of channel viewers, returns for a second series on Monday, 16 February.

In Caeau Cymru (Wales’ Fields) singer and presenter Brychan Llŷr investigates the meaning and origin of names given to fields in Wales, and uncovers the fascinating history left buried in the soil.

Joining Brychan on his journey is the landscape history expert Dr Rhian Parry, who offers a historical insight into the unique etymology of the local fields. We also hear from local farmers and landowners who share their memories about the history and tales associated with every field.

In the first programme, they visit the Llanfihangel-y-Pennant area in the Dysynni Valley which is full of unique and interesting names and also home to one of Wales’ most important historical castles, Castell y Bere. The castle was built by Llywelyn the Great in the 13th century.

With the aid of digital mapping, the programme brings the names and tales associated with the fields to life, and Brychan will ask whether there is a connection between the castle and the names of the nearby fields.

“The series unlocks the history of the landscape through the names of the surrounding fields. We get to know more about the people who own the land too – the farmers and the stories they have grown up with over the generations,” explains Brychan, who was brought up on Hendre Farm, in the Aberporth area, near Cardigan and is the son of the late highly-respected poet and farmer Dic Jones.

“The names of these fields are an inherent part of our culture and heritage. If language is a backbone to a nation, something as simple as the name of a field can play a key role in understanding our history.

“While the names given to villages and towns have a more communal and sometimes religious etymology, the names given to fields are based more on location and the people who own the land. They can be a lot more descriptive and colourful as well as give a fascinating glimpse of history. When I was growing up on Hendre Farm, we had many names for fields like ‘Parc dan Clos’ and ‘Parc Pwdwr’. Each field has a unique name and history.”

During this new series, Brychan also visits the farms of  many other areas in Wales, including Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire, Tre’r Ddôl in Ceredigion and Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in Powys.


Caeau Cymru. Monday, February 16,  8.25pm on S4C.

English subtitles