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Welsh place names online databases

Llanddewi-Brefi means 'Church of David on the stream'

Llanddewi-Brefi means 'Church of David on the stream'
A computer database of Welsh place names and their historical meanings will be launched at the National Eisteddfod in Bangor on Monday 8th August 2005.

The late Professor Melville Richards, of the University of Wales, Bangor, painstakingly logged details on more than 330,000 slips of paper. The massive paper archive has now been transcribed and made available online.

Prof Richards was professor of Welsh at the university between 1965 until his death in 1973. His research papers were left to the university, along with a vast quantity of slips relating to place names. These slips record documentary references to many thousands of farms, fields, hills, streams, islands, and bays in all parts of Wales.

After studying at Swansea, Dublin and Paris, Prof Richards was appointed as lecturer in Welsh at Swansea from 1936 to 1948.

He served during the war at the government intelligence centre at Bletchley Park where, because of his linguistic skills, he was involved in cracking the German Enigma code. On his return to academic work, he began collecting historical evidence for place names from manuscripts, charters and deeds from various record offices in Wales and England.

Hundreds of thousands of paper slips containing the details were stored in 159 boxes or drawers, whioch occupied an entire wall of his office at the Bangor university.

In 1988, the Board of Celtic Studies of the University of Wales decided that such a remarkable resource should be safeguarded and made more widely available, and a project was launched to transform the archive into a database.

In 2001 Professor Hywel Wyn Owen, director of the Place Name Research Centre at Bangor, obtained a grant of almost

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