There is more to it than just a name. Many Cornish place names have a certain charm and use a language which fits in with the Brythonic group. The Celtic lands of Cornwall has a distant relationship with the language of Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Manx. You might have noticed that the place names in Cornwall stand out and are different to other parts of the UK with a few similarities with the Welsh language. Cornwall has a certain allurement to it, so we thought it would be interesting to delve a little bit into discovering the meanings behind Cornish place names and some Cornish words related to the sea and coast. We’ve also given you an insight into colours used in some of our favourite Cornish Beads.
Poldhu (pictured below far right) was inspired by the waves that roll onto the beach. A translucent aqua combines with Ivory Lapis Murano glass. A stinger of glass combined with silver leaf is placed around the circumference of the bead. A twist is then added creating a perfect wave shape. Poldhu is also known as Black Pool Cove, is a charming and popular sandy beach best at high tide for surfing.
Stunning Sandymouth is a gorgeous sandy beach on the North Cornish coast. This beach is set between Bude and Morwenstow and has plenty of swell from the Atlantic and has dramatic steep cliffs looming as a backdrop. Dark teal glass is used on this bead as a representation of the moss laden rocks and greenery nearby. An Ivory and Lapis stringer is wrapped around the bead with twists added to symbolize the swirling movements of the sea and waterfall.
Trevone is a small seaside village on the North Cornish coast, a stones throw away from Padstow. On the right tide the gentle sloping beach has enjoyable waves to surf. This bead (pictured far left) has many hues of blue, green and purple glass. We’ve picked these colours to capture all the colours seen on this piece of coast through the seasons. The winter seas here take on a deep dark colour, while in the summer everything lightens up with lighter blues and green colours being more prevalent.
(Pictured above from left to right – Trevone, Sandymouth & Poldhu)
Cornish Place Name Meanings
Perran – Another version of this word is Piran named after Saint Piran, the patron saint of tin miners and Cornwall. This word is used in the names of the stunning beaches of Perranporth and Perranuthonoe.
Tre – Tre used in the name of one of our most recently released bead – Trebarwith Strand. The Tre part means homestead or settlement. Trebarwith sits close to Tintagel. At low tide the beach expands to nearly a mile. Be aware of the tide times as at high tide the beaches close off leaving just flat rocks backed by high cliffs and caves. This location has been picked on many occasions to feature in films including “The Seaweed Children” and “Twelfth Night.”
Pol – Pol found in the names Polzeath, Polperro and Poldhu is the cornish word for pool. Polzeath beach is found between Pentire head and Highcliff and is one of our favourites renowned for it’s surfing, low tide rock pools and the possibility of seeing dolphins and puffins.
Porth – Examples using this word are Portreath, Porthtowan, Porthmeor and Portcurno. This cornish word stands for bay, harbour or port. Porthmeor is a bay in Cornwall with the iconic Tate Gallery overlooking the beach. Rugged headlands sit either side with jet black rocks in the sea contrasting with the vivid blue sea. This is haven for beach lovers, surfers and artists!
Pen – Pen means head or headland. An example of the use of Pen in Cornwall include Pentire, Penzanze and Penryn.
Here’s a few other coast and sea related Cornish words:
mor – sea
moryb – seaside
gras – blue
carreg – rocks
Treth – Treth means sand, beach or seashore.
avon – river
arvor – coast
als – cliff
gorowyji – lighthouse
dowr – water