We have been alerted to a new sign at the entrance to Coedpoeth at the top of Southsea Hill which says Coedpoeth and the Welsh translation of Goedpoeth.
Questions to this translation have been raised to Wrexham.com from a former resident, who asks how much such translations on signs cost and which other areas have had similar treatments, saying “In the 19 years I spent living there, including my time at school, I was told plenty of times that Coedpoeth is a welsh name, and means hot wood, or burnt wood.”
We spoke to our resident Welsh expert, Neal Thompson (from FocusWales.com fame!) who told us “Coedpoeth is an incredibly Welsh word. The first letter may be mutated (trieiglo) according to the word that comes before it as far as I am aware. So sometimes, as with many other names, it could feasibly change to a G from a C.”
“I think if the translation is taken literally and you are referring to ‘Hot Trees’ as opposed to the given name for the village it would be spelt out as follows: ‘Y Goed Poeth’ ”
“Lots of place names should have the prefix ‘Y’ (meaning The) in Welsh, and although they are spelt in Welsh and used in English such as Rhyl and Y Rhyl the correct way is to apply the ‘Y’. ”
Neal concluded his explanation, or ‘best stab at it’ as he called it, by saying “In this instance I Think the ‘Y’ (The) is implied, thus generating the mutation from C to G. It may seem unnecessary to have Goedpoeth on the sign as well, but depending on where you are coming from it is grammatically correct.”
UPDATE: We have had an email in saying “I was interested to see the above but I’m sure your ‘Welsh expert’ has got it wrong. Plural nouns (like “coed”, “trees”) don’t usually take the ‘soft’ mutation (c to g), only singular ones. The name has for centuries been written with an initial “c” (or even “k” before spelling was standardised). Edward Lhuyd (a Welsh speaker) called it “Rhos y coed poeth” – “the moor of the burnt trees” – in about 1699.
I have a feeling this is simply down to an error by overzealous Council sign people….”
(Picture from Google Streetview of the sign from March 2009)