Mold place names

Mold place names

Mold has a totally different name in Welsh, Yr Wyddgrug, but both names relate to the bailey hill where the Normans built their castle here.

To hear how to pronounce Yr Wyddgrug, press play: Or, download mp3 (14KB)

Prof Hywel Wyn Owen explains that Yr Wyddgrug means means “prominent mound”. This comes from gŵydd and crug (“mound, cairn or tumulus”). The same name is found in Gwyddgrug, in Carmarthenshire and Radnorshire, and gŵydd also occurs in Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), meaning “the prominent place”.

After the Normans built their prominent castle on the bailey hill, the location was described in Latin documents as mons altus (“high hill”) and in Norman French as Mont-haut. In time, Mont-haut became Muhauld in local speech and then Moald and Mold. It has been suggested that the name was transferred from France, where there are several places called Monhaut or even from Montalt/Monhault. This was the name of the Fitz Norman family from Moffat, Scotland, which owned lands in Chester, Hawarden and Mold.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society