Need Welsh Help

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by EIBB_Ray, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    A question came up at band about what the hymn name "Blaenwern" meant. So far we have failed attempting to translate it (other than to discover that "blaen" apparently means "fore," or "Forward.")

    It occurred to us that this may be a place name.

    I've found some references to Blaenwern as a farm, and in particular the Blaenwern Farm Trust. The references have been vague, referring to the "famous Blaenwern farm," but I can't tell if it is famous solely because of the hymn name or what.

    So, is the Blaenwern Farm Trust the same Blaenwern as the hym name, thus its location is in Llanybydder, West Wales?

    Anybody have any Blaenwern info to share with me? Also, while we're at it, we might as well pronounce it correctly, I believe the dipthong "ae" is pronounced as a hard "I" as in "eye." Any other pronunciation hints?

  2. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Blaenwern is not a word in itself - so it's probably a place name. Am struggling to find a proper reference to it on Google though. In all probability it is named after a house or a farm - and the word seems to be a combination of two seperate words - 'Blaen' and 'Gwern' - the second of which has been mutated.

    You were nearly there with your attempts at a translation of 'Blaen' - though in this case the word 'Front' is a biot closer to it.

    'Gwern' is the Welsh word for a 'swamp' or a 'meadow'

    Hence the word is probably the name of a house or farm that is close the front of a swamp or meadow.

    The Blaenwern Farm Trust you mention is unrelated to the hymn tune as far as I can see - the following was found on their website:

    [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    though that's not to say it's gone full circle - and taken it's name from the hymn tune! ;)

    As for the hymn tune itself, it was composed by William Penfro Rowlands who was born in Pembrokeshire - but can't find much information on the hymn tune I'm afraid.

    As for pronounciation - it's Bl-aye-n-wern - using a 'hard' rolled 'r' at the end.

    Hope that's of some help - if I come across any more I'll let you know.
  3. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Is Blaenwern number 7 in a hymbook?sorry that was a bit odd.
  4. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    Dyl, thanks for the info, just seems odd that I've ffound a few references to Blaenwern being a famous farm but no history on the web.

    Also, re: the pronunciation, I assume the "wern" component is like "air" or "where", not like "were," which is how we good old midwestern americans would default it to be.

    As for No 7 in a hymnbook, you got me, we were playing an arrangement, not sure what the point of the question was...
  5. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    EIBB_Ray: yes, sorry - 'wern' is pronounced 'where-n' - bit don't drag out the first 'e' and obviously don't pronounce the 'h' ;)

    re. the name 'Blaenwern' I found loads of references to various houses and farms called by that name - so the 'famous' farm I mentioned above re. the 'trust' is purely coinidental I think.

    yonhee: Yes - it is number 7 in the red hymn books! And don't worry - we expect nothing less than weird from you! ;)
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    "Blaenwern" was written by W.P.Rowlands (1860-1937), although it may have its basis in a traditional Welsh melody.