Protecting the Place Names of Wales

24 June 2019: Lottery Grant


Today, the National Lottery announced the award of a grant of £38,000 to the Welsh Place-Name Society to develop the heritage project LLWYBRAU. The main aims of the project are to raise awareness of the value of place-names as an essential part of our cultural heritage and to encourage the recording of names to safeguard them for the future, using paths across Wales as a theme for the work.

Our place-names face a serious and regular threat when they are changed, translated or ignored. Once lost an essential and substantial part of our heritage and links to our past will disappear. Unfortunately the legislation that protects other elements of our heritage such as buildings, animals and plants has been denied to place-names.

Over the next two years the Society intends to raise awareness of the importance of place-names locally and nationally. It will organise talks, guided walks, exhibitions, workshops and discussion groups to collect and record local minor names (especially names safeguarded and transmitted through oral tradition). We aim to facilitate the analysis and interpretation of these names. It will allow us to develop the work achieved by Gwarchod, our first Place-Name Society project to be supported by the National Lottery. 

The project is relevant to the whole of Wales and contributions will be welcomed. We aim to work with individuals, local groups and national institutions, extending our traditional appeal to additional areas and including the older generation, those suffering from ill-health, and residents in less advantaged areas.

The names recorded as part of this project will form a valuable and comprehensive resource that will be accessible to everyone via our website.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor David Thorne, Welsh Place-Name Society Chair, said, “We are extremely proud that the National Lottery has recognised the value of our work in the past by supporting the Society. This further support from the Lottery enables us to continue to develop the foundations established by the initial grant back in 2013.

Richard Bellamy, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Wales said “So much of our history is attached to the memories and experiences of ordinary people. ‘Llwybrau’ will collect and record minor place-names, those which are not usually recorded on official maps. Experience has shown us that these are essential when explaining those elements in our history which are in danger of disappearing. Thanks to money raised by players of the National Lottery, we are able to support projects like this which celebrate people’s contribution to their heritage.”