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Town Names and their Origins

Cornish Legends and Myths

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20 June 2010

Cornish Legends

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Most Cornish place names are made up from two, three or four parts. The first part of the name is a noun, and the following one, two or more are adjectives. It follows therefore that the majority of the names begin in the following manner:-

 

Part Name

Meaning

 

 

Bos

Small house - hut or cottage

Chy - Ty

House or dwelling

Pen

Head - hill

Pons

Bridge

Pol

Pool

Tre

Homestead - settlement or farm

Hal

Cliff

Lan

Holy place - sacred enclosed or monastery

Nans

Valley

Caer

Enclosed - fort

 

Many of these names date back hundreds of years, possibly to the days when people found their way about the countryside, unable to read and write, and unaided by maps and signposts. So house names had to pinpoint places for the land surrounding the property and area. Trebarveth is the settlement on top of a grave. Pengarrick - the head of a rock.

 

A new house, in Cornish, we would address it Chy-noweth - House-new.

Sometimes we have to be guided by the locality of the dwelling, as in the names Chynalls or Chynale, - Chy (house) on the moor (hal), estuary (hayle).

 

Name

Meaning

 

 

Angove

The Smith - perhaps from our own Myghal Josef

Bosahan

John's Cottage

Chy An Mor

House by the sea

Coverack

A hidden place

Crousa (Crows An Wra)

Witches Cross

Carn Dhu

Black Rock

Carkeek

A lookout

Chyventon

House by a spring

Chywoon

House on a moor

Kestle Merris

Mary's Castle

Kilter (Kelly Dowr)

Grove by the water

Gwenter (Gwyn Dowr)

White water

Kelly

Grove

Lannarth

A clearing in a wood

Lesneage

Mossey Court

Lestowder

Court of Theodore

Morva

Place by the sea

MERES (Mor Ros)

Heath by the sea

Mill Mehal

Michael's Mill

Namboll

Valley with pool

Ponsongath

Cat's bridge

Pengilly

Head of the Grove

Penventon

Head of the spring

Polventon

Pool with a spring

Penmennor

Top of the great stone

Polkinghorne

Pool in the corner

Penticost (Pen Ty Cost)

End of the house by the wood

Porthallow

Cove at the end of the moors

Porthkerris

Cove of the cherry trees

Rosenithon

Heath with the furze

Retallack

High heath

Roskilly

Heath with grove

Roscrowgy

Small cottage on the heath

Roskruge

Heath with a barrow

Treloar

Settlement of the moon

Treskewes

Settlement by the elder bushes

Trevalso

Settlement on a cliff

Trevallack

Walled settlement

Tregowris

Settlement of the giantess

Treath

Sandy shore - beach

Trelease

Grey settlement

Trembraze

Meadow settlement

Tregenza

Most important settlement

     

 

 

       

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