The Story of Caldicot

Home >>So how did Caldicot get its name or should it be Cil-y-Coed?

We have now been given the opportunity to use the Welsh derivation of Caldicot - Cil-y-Coed but is this what should be used? The extract below from "The Place Names of Eastern Gwent" by Graham Osborne should give us some clues.

The impression appears to have gained currency in some quarters that "Cil-y-coed" is the Welsh name, possibly the original name, of Caldicot. This idea appears to have arisen as follows:

Coxe in An Historical Tour of Monmouthshire (1801) p18, says that Caldicot is "Caldecot" or "Calecoyd." Coxe, who spoke no Welsh, communicated this fact to the Welsh scholar William Owen Pugh, the compiler of an early and somewhat controversial Welsh Dictionary (1832). William Owen Pugh suggested that "Calecoyd" was a form of Cil-y-coed which he translated as "the skirt of the wood" i.e. Wentwood. (The Welsh "cil" may also mean "retreat", "corner" etc).

Name-forms of Caldicot given by B G Charles in Non-Celtic Place Names in Wales (1938) are as follows:

A Caldecote 1086 1291 1552
  Caldecotes 1313 1374 1371
  Caldicot 1581    
  Caldicotte 1577    
  Kaldicote 1397    
  Caldicote 1286 1293  
  Caldycott 1571    
B Calecote 1381 1437  
  Callicote 1535    
also Calkote 1493    

The name-forms in group A are all related. They display only minor differences in spelling. The name is clearly derived from Old English "calde" meaning "cold" then "cot" meaning "cottage" or "shelter" i.e. "cold shelter." Cold Harbour, a place-name also found in Gwent and elsewhere denotes the same thing.

The two names in group B, Calecote and Callicote, are clearly related to those in group A but have lost the "d." They are in fact mutilated forms. But the form "Calecoyd" mentioned by Coxe, presumably written down from local speech, closely resembles these mutilated forms (cote > coyd) and has NOT apparently come from an original Welsh form. In fact, the form "Cil-y-coed" seems NOT to have been evidenced for Caldicot.

In the Mabinogion in "Manawyddan the Son of Llyr" there is, indeed, a reference to "Llwyd the Son of Kilcoed." But there is no evidence to link this with Caldicot.

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