[Spellyans] Disappearance of Cornish placenames from OS maps

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Tue Jan 29 16:16:50 GMT 2013

A gowetha-oll,


A point was recently made on Spellyans regarding the disappearance of Cornish place-names from OS maps, and in particular Tol-Pedn-Penwith and Landewednack.


Tol-Pedn-Penwith is certainly present on the recently published 1:25,000 series.   Tol-Pedn-Penwith is printed on  Explorer 7 Sheet, Land’s End, Penzance and St. Ives (dated 1995) at GR 365 214 .  Later editions of this sheet are numbered 102.  I would be grateful for information on more recently updated editions.


The place-name Landewednack is indeed absent from Sheet 103 The Lizard, Falmouth & Helston (dated  1996) at GR 712 126.   Instead Landewednack Church and village are named as ‘Church Cove’.   Again, I would be grateful for information on the latest edition.


Both names occur on the OS 50,000 First Series.  Sheet 203 Land’s End and The Lizard have both names on my copy of the map, dated 1974.  Landewednack is printed in upright type indicting a main village, as compared with Lizard printed in sloping (italic) type, indicating a subsidiary village.   I would be grateful to know what the situation is on the most recently published edition.  


Does ‘Church Cove’ as the name of the settlement around Landewednack church have any actual currency?  Does anyone know what its inhabitants actually call it today?   Does the local council  (now Cornwall Council) refer to it as ‘Landewednack’ or ‘Church Cove’?    Is there a settlement sign, and if so, what name does it carry?


The old ‘Bart’s Half-Inch’ series (Sheet 1) featured both Tol-Pedn-Penwith and Landewednack, and indeed a wealth of other micro-toponymy.   So did its successor the National Map Series at 1:100,000 scale.  Bartholomews had discontinued this series by 2000, which was a great loss and pity.    A map at this scale covering the whole county area was extremely useful for all sorts of purposes, and the Ordnance Survey has recently published a successor.


This is the Travel Map at the same 1:100,000 scale, Sheet 1 Cornwall.   My copy is Edition D, dated 2006.   Neither Tol-Pedn-Penwith nor Landewednack is featured, with much else missing from the county’s micro-toponymy.  However Church Cove is featured, in a font signifying a minor village.   All-in-all I estimate that the map carries about 620 place-names.  Relief is hinted at by slight hill-shading and layer colouring but only for the 200, 600, and 1,000 feet contour intervals.     Tourist attractions are however copiously featured, and road statuses are emphasised.  These are its chief virtues.   Otherwise it is cartographically much inferior to its Bart’s predecessors.


Someone with authority should be making waves about all of this.  The OS are supposed to take cognisance of local usage.   If the inhabitants of Landewednack have decided to call the village ‘Church Cove’ this would explain the substitution, but I think it unlikely that they have done so.


In Wales the OS gives most of the more important names bilingually.   In Scotland the OS is beginning to do something similar In  the Gaelic areas.   In the Western Isles the local authority Comhairle nan Eilean went over to monolingual Gaelic for its direction and place signage, and the OS followed suit.   More recently the council fainthearts reverted to bilingual usage for these.  It will be interesting to see what OS does.   However in Scotland at least the OS does have some sort of public awareness and makes an effort to communicate and consult with its public.   What happens in Cornwall?


A few years ago a map was produced on Spellyans with place names in Cornish.   The cartography was of a good standard for its scale.    There is a case to carry the process a stage or two further.   There would be a good level of demand for such a map, and now an increasing number of uses.   It would be a useful tool In the process of re-Cornicising Cornwall’s place-names, and of establishing an authoritative and readily-available source of place-names based upon  sound historical, linguistic and toponymic research.   A map at 1:250,000 scale (the old ‘quarter-inch’ to the mile) would enable a fulsome level of detail, without being too unwieldy as to size.  It would have the further virtue that its selection of place-names would be of similar scope to that of Oliver Padel’s ‘A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names’ (1988), in which he chose to feature the names on the OS 1:25,000 scale map of Cornwall, some 1,000 or so in total. (It thus omits Landewednack itself but includes Church Cove, as dating from 1888 and being named from ‘Landewednack church above it’, i.e. as a coastal figure and not as a settlement name.)   A further resource for mapping is the Institute’s Survey of Cornish Place-names.


I believe that Bart’s can still supply at reasonable rates base maps at various scales of a very high cartographic standard for overprinting with place-names and other features.  The results are aesthetically attractive and highly representative.


One of the currently available tourist maps of Cornwall is subtitled Kernow and has some of its more important names given bilingually.    However there appears to be little consistency on the spelling conventions used for them.   The appearance of Cornish versions of the names on this map does not appear to have frightened the horses nor to have depressed sales.


A friend of mine, Roy Pedersen, brought out a Gaelic map of Scotland some years ago, and this proved a best seller, running into numerous reprints and editions, and spawning a succession of more detailed area maps.   I would not expect a similar initiative for Cornish mapping to run at a loss.   Such an initiative is long overdue and indeed essential if authentic versions of Cornish place-names are to be popularised, in place of made-up names and respellings in inappropriate and non-historic orthographies.   Otherwise it is Gresham’s Law.


Gorhemmynadow – an ken Ken


From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Janice Lobb
Sent: 26 January 2013 22:32
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] use usage etc


I don't use Dick's spelling for the same reason - but I find him an invaluable guide to pronunciation


On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 8:55 PM, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:

It's confusing because Dick has spelt this word (and the language in general) several different ways since he began to promote Late Cornish.


It's why I reluctantly gave up teaching Late Cornish in the 90s.  I'd teach my students one thing and, three days later, Dick would change it all.  We couldn't keep going like that.  All these years later and he's still doing it!






On 2013 Gen 26, at 18:25, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

Or do you mean ‹ûsya›? This would be /ˈɪʊzjɐ/ and I would write ‹ûs› for the noun and leave it to the speaker whether s/he wants to say /ɪʊs/ or /ɪʊz/. 




On Jan 26, 2013, at 4:46 PM, Janice Lobb wrote:

would you end the word with s or ss?


On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM, Daniel Prohaska <daniel at ryan-prohaska.com> wrote:

A very good question. For the SFW Review I'm proposing <û> as the graph for this lexical set. My proposal thus has two vowels with a diacritic marker: the afore mentioned <û> for /iu/ in loan words and <ü> for RMC /y/ ~ RLC /i/ (e.g. <tüs>).

On 26.01.2013, at 15:04, Janice Lobb <janicelobb at gmail.com> wrote:

> SWF has usyans
> Dick has (amongst other things) ius
> How can I achieve Dick's pronunciation with a spelling that is compatible with SWF/KS?

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