Reading Welsh Gravestones

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Translating monumental inscriptions is not too demanding for a non-Welsh speaker, as they tend to be simple in style and most fit the same standard format.

Most will tend to start with an opening phrase such as:

Welsh

English

Er cof am

In memory of

Er cof annwyl am

In beloved memory of

Er serchog gof am

In loving memory of

Er serchus cof am

In loving memory of

Er coffadwriaeth am

In remembrance of

Er coffadwriaeth parchus am

In respectful remembrance of

Er coffadwriaeth serchog am

In loving remembrance of

Er coffadwriaeth serchus am

In loving remembrance of

 

• followed by the name of the deceased

• followed by a relationship to others

Relationships

Welsh

English

Baban

Baby

Brawd

Brother

Brawd yng nghyfraith

Brother in law

Brodyr

Brothers

Cefnder

Cousin (m)

Cyfnither

Cousin (f)

Cymydog

Neighbour

Chwaer

Sister

Chwaer yng nghyfraith

Sister in law

Chwiorydd

Sisters

Ewythr

Uncle

Gwr

Husband

Gwraig

Wife

Hen-

Great-

Mab

Son

Meibion

Sons

Mam

Mother

Mamgu

Grandmother (in the south and west)

Merch

Daughter

Merched

Daughters

Modryb

Aunt

Nai

Nephew

Nain

Grandmother (in the north)

Nith

Niece

Plant

Children

Plentyn

Child

Priod

Spouse

Rhieni

Parents

Tad

Father

Tadcu

Grandfather (in the south and west)

Taid

Grandfather (in the north)

Wyr

Grandson

Wyrion

Grandsons

Wyres

Granddaughter

 

• followed by details of their life

Welsh

English

Ganed/Ganwyd

was born

Bu farw

died

Claddwyd

buried

yn .. mlwydd oed

aged .. years

Dydd Sul

Sunday

Dydd Llun

Monday

Dydd Mawrth

Tuesday

Dydd Mercher

Wednesday

Dydd Iau

Thursday

Dydd Gwener

Friday

Dydd Sadwrn

Saturday

cyntaf (1af)

first (1st)

ail (2il)

second (2nd)

trydydd (3ydd)

third (3rd)

pedwerydd (4ydd)

fourth (4th)

pumed (5ed)

fifth (5th)

chweched (6ed)

sixth (6th)

seithfed (7fed)

seventh (7th)

wythfed (8fed)

eighth (8th)

nawfed (9fed)

ninth (9th)

degfed (10fed)

tenth (10th)

Ionawr (Ion.)

January (Jan.)

Chwefror (Chwe.)

February (Feb.)

Mawrth (Maw.)

March (Mar.)

Ebrill (Ebr.)

April (Apr.)

Mai

May

Mehefin (Meh.)

June (Jun.)

Gorffennaf (Gor.)

July

Awst

August (Aug.)

Medi

September (Sep.)

Hydref (Hyd.)

October (Oct.)

Tachwedd (Tach.)

November (Nov.)

Rhagfyr (Rhag.)

December (Dec.)

 

• and possibly details of their work

Occupations

Welsh

English

Athrawes

Teacher (f)

Athro

Teacher (m)

Bardd

Poet, Bard

Bugail

Shepherd

Cariwr

Carrier

Cerddor

Musician

Crydd

Shoemaker, Cobbler

Cyfreithiwr

Solicitor, Lawyer

Chwarelwr

Quarryman

Dilledydd

Draper

Ffermwr

Farmer

Garddwr

Gardener

Glöwr

Collier

Masnachydd

Merchant

Melinydd

Miller

Mwynwr

Miner

Saer Coed

Carpenter

Saer Maen

Stone Mason

Tafarnwr

Publican

Telynor

Harpist

Ysgolfeistr

Schoolmaster

Ysgrifennydd

Secretary

 

• and possibly their position within a church or chapel:

Church positions

Welsh

English

Arweinydd y gân

Precentor, one who leads the singing

Blaenor

Elder, Deacon

Codwr canu

Precentor, one who leads the singing

Diacon

Deacon

Emynydd

Hymn Writer

Gweinidog

Minister

Organydd

Organist

Parchedig (Parch.)

Reverend (Rev.)

Pregethwr

Preacher

Trysorydd

Treasurer

 

• with possibly a final quotation:

Quotation

Welsh

English

Ac yn eu marwolaeth, ni wahanwyd hwy

And in their death, they were not divided [2 Samuel 1:23]

Cofia nawr dy Greawdwr yn nyddiau dy ieuenctid

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth

Coffadwriaeth y cyfiawn sydd fendigedig

The memory of the just is blessed [Proverbs 10:7]

Canys byw i mi yw Crist a marw sydd elw

For me, to live is Christ and dying is gain

Da, was da a ffyddlon

Well done, thou good and faithful servant [Matthew 25:21]

Ei diwedd oedd heddwch

Her end was peace

Gadewch i blant bychain ddyfod ataf fi

Let the little children come to me [Marc 10:14]

Gorffwys mewn hedd

Rest in peace

Gwyliwch gan hynny am na wyddoch pa awr y daw eich Arglwydd

Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come [Matthew 24:42]

Gwyn eu byd y meirw, y rhai sydd yn marw yn yr Arglwydd

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord [Revelations 14:13]

Gwyn eu byd y tangnefeddwyr, canys hwy a elwir yn blant i Dduw

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God

Hedd, Perffaith Hedd

Peace, Perfect Peace

Mi a ymdrechais ymdrech deg. Mi a orphenais fy ngyrfa. Mi a gedwais y ffydd.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [Timothy 4:7]

Ynghanol ein bywyd, yr ydym yn angau

In the midst of life we are in death

Yr hyn a allodd hon, hi a'i gwnaeth

She hath done what she could [Mark 14:8]

 

Example

Welsh

English

Er coffadwriaeth am

In remembrance of

ROBERT JONES

ROBERT JONES

Pentredwr

of Pentredwr

annwyl priod SARAH JONES

dearest spouse of SARAH JONES

yr hwn a fu farw

who died

Rhagfyr 19ed 1885

December 19th 1885

yn 65 mlwydd oed

65 years old

hefyd

also

SARAH JONES

SARAH JONES

ei annwyl wraig

his dearest wife

fu farw Ionawr 1af 1889

who died January 1st 1889

yn 68 mlwydd oed

68 years old

Hedd, Perffaith Hedd

Peace, Perfect Peace

 

It should also be remembered that stonemasons were not always literate and spelling mistakes and poor mutations are quite common.