Abergavenny place names


According to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, the Romans recorded the name of their fort here as Gobannio(n), meaning “place by the (river) Gafenni”. This derived from the British name Gobannia meaning “river of blacksmiths” or “river of the ironworks”. In modern Welsh, gof means “blacksmith”.

Aber describes the mouth or confluence of a river. Aber Gafenni, “confluence of the Gafenni”, became Abergafenni or Abergavenny.

A variant of Gafenni was Gefenni. The unstressed first syllable was taken to be the definite article y, hence the Welsh name for the town is Y Fenni.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen and Richard Morgan of the Welsh Place-Name Society