AN INITIATIVE intended to protect Welsh house names has been extended to include land. 

The Diogelwn, or We Will Protect, scheme was launched amid concern at the loss of Welsh language names and a reluctance by the Welsh Government to legislate on the issue. 

In order to preserve Welsh language names Cymdeithas yr Iaith Cymrage made clauses and documents that contain standard covenants available to download on its website. 

The idea is that those selling their house can easily access suitable documents so they could insist conditions on sale protecting a name. 

Lawyer Simon Chandler devised the clauses and documents for people to use after the poet and author, Sian Northey, who was selling her house in June 2021, turned to Twitter to ask if it was possible to protect her house's Welsh name after the sale. 

The scheme is now being extended to cover land, such as farmland, but it cannot protect landscapes as only the owner can change the name of their land or protect it by using Diogelwn. 

That means areas such Carreg Edwen, Coed Llyn Celanedd, Coed Cerrig y Fran and Ffos Clogwyn y Geifr remain at risk from being replaced with what are described as “tourist names”. 

An event at the Eisteddfod Maes, in Tregaron at 2pm today, hosted by Cymdeithas, will discuss the extension of the scheme and potential greater protections. 

Simon Chandler said: “The scheme exists because there is a call for it, and because the Welsh have a long tradition of self-help. We're all concerned about the loss of Welsh names, and we're all keen to see legislation by the Welsh Government which protects those names by statute." 

Cymdeithas says the need to extend the scheme to includes landnames became apparent earlier this year, after the name Banc y Cornicyll in Carmarthenshire, was lost from the Ordnance Survey map and replaced with the name Hakuna Mattata. 

The owners of the home named Hakuna Mattata said it had never been their intention to change the name of Banc y Cornicyll which, in Welsh, means ridge for lapwing or plover birds. 

They said they registered the name of their new build house, 25 years ago, and as Banc y Cornicyll had already fallen out of use their address has since been taken as the name of the land for the OS map.

Howard Huws will talk about Cylch yr Iaith's campaign to press the Welsh Government to legislate to prevent the names of landscape areas being replaced by English names. 

Cylch yr Iaith says changing names amounts to "an attack on a key part of our heritage as a nation, and undermines that which defines our country geographically and culturally; in a word, our identity as people."

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National.