What’s in a name?

The name Moelyci refers to the mountain above the farm.  There are many people who know it not only by many different spellings and meanings but also how it is pronounced.

Ffarm Moelyci was the new name picked by the community here at the farm.  Moelyci reflects the mountain and it’s watchful eye over us and Ffarm, a slight twist on the Welsh word Fferm.  In the Ogwen valley, colloquially, there is more emphasis on an ‘a’  over the ‘e’.  For example the local newspaper is known as Llais Ogwan.  For us, it gives a more local community connection to the valley and works in both English and Welsh.  Love it or loath it, it always starts the conversation.

The same could be said for ‘Moelyci’ too.  During the Social and Natural Heritage Project, supported by the National Lottery, the name of the mountain and it’s different spellings through history were examined:

Moylleiki – Rental record 1627

Moelycci – Common across several sources 1750 – 1850

Moelyck – John Edwards will 1815

Moel Leuci – “History of North Wales II, William Cathrall 1828

Moel-y-ci – Ordnance survey 1838

Moel leqi – Owen Owens inventory 1848

Moelyci – Most common by 1850

Until about 1800 spellings of Moelyci in documents varied widely, reflecting an era when few people could read or write, and were dependent on the “scribe” to write down what he heard.  Variations in pronunciation no doubt also played a part.

By now it is often accepted that Moelyci derives from “Moel Lleucu”, commemorating someone called Lleucu (which also has wide variations in spelling), as argued by Melville Richards.

The Ordnance Survey Legacy

The first occurrence of ‘Moel y Ci’ (which translates as the hill of the dog) was possibly on the C19th Ordnance Survey maps and this spelling has persisted in various English language documents.


The pronunciation ‘Moel y Ci’ dates back to the 1930s at least, and can’t be attributed solely to a recent influx of incomers first meeting the name on a map.

Could it be that ‘Moel y Ci’ has become a common pronunciation by any speaker (Welsh-speaking or otherwise), when speaking in English?  With wide variations in pronunciation even among born and bred locals, what will we be saying in 50 years’ time?

Moelyci, Moel y Ci, Moelci, Moel-yci, Molyci, Mylci……

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