Caernarfon place names

Caernarfon place names

Caernarfon was formerly spelt Caernarvon in English, but today the Welsh spelling is universal.

“Caer” usually denotes a fortress that pre-dated the stone castles built by the Welsh and Normans.

“Arfon” was the name of a cantref (Welsh administrative district) along the southern shore of the Menai Strait. This name may have signified that it was opposite Môn (Anglesey). Arfon District Council was abolished in 1996 but its successor unitary authority, Gwynedd Council, maintains Arfon as a geographical subdivision.

The “n” in the middle of Caernarfon is a truncation of “yn”, meaning in. So the name translates as Fortress in Arfon.
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