Mysterylights Group Message 0431

Subject: Re: James Motley's Notes to the Canwyll Corph
From: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@...>
Date: 22 Mar 2007 14:56

--- In, jp_hailey@... wrote: 

> I live about 25 miles from the general Rhondda area, its too 
> long a main river to know which tributary he refers too...

Yeah, after I sent that message I went looking on an Ordnance Survey
map for the Rhondda Fawr, and pretty much gave up on the map front
when I saw the length. But I did find some more documentary evidence:
someone quoting from the same Rev. Edmund Jones talks about a sighting
of a cannwyll gorff in "Llanboydi", which I take to be Llanboidy.
Sadly, though, that's in Carmarthenshire, quite close to the western
border with Pembrokeshire--nowhere near the Rhondda area.

The same author, this time not quoting the Rev. Jones, talks about
"Caerlleon" too, which is probably Caerleon by Newport, so a little
closer but still not a tributary valley of the Rhondda Fawr as far as
I can tell from the map. If you do manage to ask in a local museum,
that might be far more helpful; let us know how you get on!

I also did a bit of poking around with respect to names, especially
trying to work out how to spell "cannwyll gorff" correctly. That's
definitely the modern spelling, but "canwyll gorff" with one "n" seems
to be an acceptable variant. In the archives, there are dozens of
variants though... it's always funny watching English authors trying
to get to grips with Welsh.

(I'd provide a lot more citations and details were it not for the fact
that Google Books, my main source for all this stuff, is playing up at
the moment, as it often does.)

I also found another snippet of information about Welsh nomenclature
that I've added to my wisp page, though I somewhat suspect it may
refer to star shot rather than wisps:

E.G.R. in Notes and Queries (2nd S. No 10, Mar. 8, 1856) quotes from
Lewis's Welsh-English Dictionary (Carmarthen, 1805) thus: "Hudlewyn.
An Ignis fatuus. Will with a wisp, &c. Will with a wisp is more
frequent in places unctuous, marshy, and abounding in reeds. They
haunt burying-places, places of execution, and dunghills. Some that
have been catched consist of a shining viscous matter, like the spawn
of frogs, not hot, but only shining; so that the matter seems to be
phosphorous, raised from putrefied plants or carcases." In Daniel
Silvan Evans's An English and Welsh dictionary from 1858, he has the
following entry (p.94): "Ignis fatuus, s. (Ll.) ellylldan, hudlewyrn,
hudlewyn, llewyrn, malldan, t=C3=A2n ellyl, t=C3=A2n llwynog".
]]] -

Nice to hear from you, Paul!


Sean B. Palmer

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