|ABOUT addresses and house names
Before a systematic street system and postal service, houses in Wales
were named after local features of the landscape. This custom still continues
and those who buy a modern house with only a number often devise a name
for it. These names are generally topographical for example - Bryn Awel
where bryn = hill and awel = light breeze. House names in this style are
lyrical and satisfying rather than being banal, which is their fate in
translation. The most grotesque example of this naming however occurs in
Anglesey. This name which was devised for the tourist industry takes the
Welsh ability to describe a dwelling into an absurd area of self-caricature.
The name is Lianfairpwllgwyngychgogeryehchwyndrobwllllantisilioggogoch.
Welsh place naming in this lyrical style is at its most charming in the following example. In the 1960's a carpenter in Wales sent a note to his good friend using a short descriptive poem. That the letter arrived attests to the quality of the poem and the literacy of the local post-office. Here is a translation
Go pleasant postman's feet
To the doors of his Golden Place
There in Llanrwst you'll find him.
Two illustrations enclosed