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This report is taken from PN Review 241, Volume 44 Number 5, May - June 2018.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
I have written before, a long time ago, about driving south from Hay (Y Gelli) or thereabouts and, as the high-hedged country road dawdles this way and that, crossing and re-crossing the border: here we are in England and Hurrah, welcome again to Wales! There are so many Welsh names, of villages and farms, on the map of the Southern March to the east of Offa’s Dyke – Pen-y-lan, Cayo, Cwmcoched, Bryngwyn, Marlas, Bagwyllydiart – extending as far as Hereford itself, that at fanciful moments I like to think the folk of south Herefordshire will one day vote themselves part of ‘Greater Wales’. Though they have since moved to Abergavenny, for some years we regularly visited friends living in the village of Ewyas Harold and, thanks to them, became a little familiar with lanes and villages around and about. No one seems to know what ‘Ewyas’ means, beyond signifying the territory that still bears the name, but Harold is alleged to be the grandson of Æthelred the Unready. Approaching, within a mile of our friends’ door we would pass through the hamlet of Llangua (‘church of Ciwan’, a female saint who lost the final ‘n’ of her name in the fifteenth century), take our turn at the lights commanding the bridge over the Monnow and enter England.

A few hundred yards farther brought us to Pontrilas (‘bridge over the Dulas’), a Welsh name that superseded the English ‘Heliston’ as late as the eighteenth century, and soon after we turned sharp left into Ewyas Harold. If ...


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