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Home » Learning About » Culture and Heritage » Place Names

Pembrokeshire Place Names

How many years have you been driving past the signs on the outskirts of your town or village not knowing what the name means? Many of our Pembrokeshire place names have sprung from descriptive words of the area.

The place names across the National Park broadly divide into Welsh names and Anglo-Norman English names.

Llanrhian near St Davids, is a typical example of a Welsh name. Llan means church or enclosure and Rhian comes from the name of a 6th century saint, meaning 'church or settlement of St Rhian'.

Anglo-Norman settlements from the 11th century gave rise to many new places, often named after their founders and suffixed with ‘ton’ (town/farmstead). Thus Hodgeston actually means ‘Hodge’s Farm’ and was first mentioned in 1291.

Many hybrid names survive, garbled by mispronunciation, anglicisation and consequent misspelling. Lawrenny, for example, is a corruption of the Welsh Llawer-enni, meaning 'bed of the River Enni.'

There’s a selection of local place names and their meanings below.

Place Name

Meaning

Abercastle

Bay by the castle.

Abereiddy

Mouth of the River Eiddi (pronounced Aber-eye-thee)

Amroth

Llanrath - Church near the Rath stream

Angle

Land in a corner or nook

Bosherton

Bosher’s Farm

Boulston

Bole’s Farm

Broad Haven

First mentioned 1602

Brynberian

Orig Llyn-Berrian (Berrian’s pool)

Caerfarchell

Marchell’s Fort (pronounced Kya-far-cech)

Caldey Island

Scandinavian descent. ‘Cold Island’. Welsh alternative Ynys Byr - Island of Pyr, its first abbot

Carew

Welsh alternative Caeriw from Caerau - fort.

Carew Newton

Carew Newtown

Castlemartin

St Martin’s Castle

Cresselly

Croes- elli (pronounced Cress-elly)

Cresswell Quay

Well where watercress grows

Dale

Place in the valley

Dinas Cross

Dinas - fort (pronounced Deenas)

Felindre Farchog

Mill of the Lord (or knight) (pronounced Velindra-varch-og)

Haroldston West

Harold’s Farm

Hasguard

Scandinavian ‘bus skar’ – house in the -valley (pronounced ‘Haskerd’)

Herbrandston

Herbrand’s Farm (locally pronounce Harberston)

Hodgeston

Hodges Farm (locally pronounced Hotson)

Hook

Angle of land

Jameston

James’ Farm

Landshipping

Long Shippon - cowhouse

Lawrenny

Llawr- enni - bed of the River Enni

Little Haven

First mentioned 1578

Llanrhian

Church of St Rhian (pronounced Llan-Ryan)

Llanwnda

Gwyndaf’s church (pronounced Llan-un-da)

Lydstep

Norse Lowde -hop - Lowde’s Bay

Manorbier

Maenor-pyr - manor of Pyr of Caldey Island) (pronounced manor-beer)

Marloes

Moel-Rhos (bare moor)

Milton

Mill Farm

Middle Mill

Felin ganol, belonging to the Bishop of St Davids by 1390

Minwear

Obscure.,Possibly Welsh ‘Minwern - edge of the adder swamp (locally pronounced.Minner)

Monington

Mann’s Farm

Moylegrove

Orig Trwyddel - grove farm and by 1291‘Matilda’s Grove’

Mynachlogddu

Black monastery (pronounced my-nach-log-thee)

Nevern

Nanhyfer – church by the River Nevern

Newgale

Obscure. Possible Irish name Neugwl, Gwynedd which has similar topography

New Hedges

First mentioned c 1773

Newport

Welsh version ‘Trefdaeth’ - beach town

Nolton

Old farm

Pontfaen

Stone bridge (pronounced. pont-vine)

Penally

Penalun - Alun’s Headland (pronounced pen-alee)

Penycwm

Head of the valley (pronounced pen-eugh-coom)

Pantglasier

Glasier’s Bridge (pronounced pont glazier)

Porthgain

Bay of the river Cain (pronounced porth-gine)

Roch

Rock - on which castle stands (pronounced roach)

Ramsey Island

Either Hrafn’s Island after Norse person or Lramsa -Norse for wild garlic

Rosebush

from ‘Rhos’ (moor) and bush

Sardis

After the chapel name - Sardis was capital of the Lydian Empire

Saundersfoot

Foot of Alexander’s Hill

Slebech

Obscure

Skokholm Island

Norse - island in the sound

Skomer Island

Norse ‘Skalm’ and ‘ey’ = Cloven Island

Solva

Name taken from River Solfach

St Brides

Church of St Bridget

St Davids

After St David c 530-589 Welsh alternative Tyddewi from Welsh name Dewi Sant

St Ishmaels

Church of St Ishmael

St Twynells

Church of St Gwynog

Stackpole

Possible Norse. ‘Stakkr’ and ‘pollr’ – pool near the rock-stack

Talbenny

Tal-y-benni - end of ridge

Tenby

Welsh alternative: Dinbych-y-pysgod fortress of the fish

The Rhos

Moor (locally pronounced the Ross)

Trefin

Possible Treddyn - farm on high ground (pronounced Treveen

Treteio

Possibly derived from Tir-taenog – land assessed for tax (pronounced Tre-Tyo)

Walton West

Wale’s Farm

Walwyn’s Castle

Castle of Walwyn. Welsh alternative Castell Gwalchmai, named after a character from the Mabinogion

Warren

Possible corruption of Goteran – overflow of spring or well

Whitchurch

The white church

Wisemans Bridge

Associated with Medieval Wiseman family