Nefyn and Llithfaen place names

Nefyn and Llithfaen place names

A common explanation of Llithfaen is that it means lodestone. Maen (mutated here to faen) means rock.

According to legend, the rocks of Yr Eifl (The Rivals) interfered with ships’ compasses. This would fit with the idea of nearby Llithfaen being named after Llith-, Welsh for lure or decoy, and maen (rock). However, the earliest known written use of llithfaen to mean lodestone was not until the 19th century, and the community here was recorded as Llythvaen as far back as 1281. Another possibly explanation for the name is inspired by the presence of Irish people along this stretch of the coast long ago. Liath is Irish for grey, and “grey rock” aptly describes the appearance of the granite here.

To hear how to pronounce Llithfaen, press play: Or, download mp3 (13KB)

Nefyn is named after a person whose identity is unknown today but who may have been Irish.  It was written as Nevin in the late 12th century and Nefyn y Pysgod in 1756. Pysgod = fish.

To hear how to pronounce Nefyn, press play: Or, download mp3 (11KB)

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