Property firm Anglesey Homes, based on the Isle of Anglesey, or Ynys Môn, in North Wales, has been slammed by Welsh people across the country for “disrespecting” the Welsh language. The criticism comes after the company shared it had removed a property’s original Welsh name and replaced it with an English name. Members of the public, as well as politicians, reacted to the news with anger and frustration.
Earlier this week, property firm Anglesey Homes wrote on Twitter: “We’ve renamed our Gwel-yr-Wyddfa property!
“It is now known as 9 Sandy Retreat – available for eight guests, pet friendly, and in the beautiful village of Llanfaelog.”
Llanfaelog is a tiny village in a remote part of Anglesey and home to a predominantly Welsh-speaking community.
Gwel-yr-Wyddfa, the holiday let’s original name, literally translates to “Snowdon View”, whereas “Sandy Retreat” signifies something else entirely. This erasure of meaning, as well as various other reasons, ignited fury among Welsh people.
READ MORE: ‘The best way’ to get your lawn to ‘thrive’ for summer – ‘important’
“De-Welshing is something that belongs in the 19th century past, not the 21st century present.”
Angharad Walters said: “Not a good look folks.”
Lisa Parry added: “I genuinely don’t get why you’d do this. The disrespect aside, a lot of English people I know are now refusing to book cottages in Wales with English names because they assume they’ve been changed and they hate it too.
“We were going to book with you soon. And now we won’t.”
“They’re celebrations of Wales’ cultural and linguistic history and very much still a part of our living language and culture today.”
He claimed that “to casually ditch them is an act of vandalism, frankly, and is hugely disrespectful” and “it shouldn’t be allowed”.
After the reaction on social media, Anglesey Homes released a bilingual statement yesterday, June 23.
In it, the firm said that the Gwel-yr-Wyddfa development was completed in 2019 and, working with Anglesey Council, “the Gwel-yr-Wyddfa name was agreed upon and implemented as the name of the development and street”.
It continued: “We are very proud of the name and of the development we have created.
“To address the above misunderstanding, all nine properties on the Gwel-yr-Wyddfa development were sold to third parties and the house in question was also privately sold to a third party.
“The owners of this property have independently decided to attach a plaque to their house ‘Sandy Retreat’ in addition to their official address, this remains the same and will always be ‘Gwel-yr-Wyddfa’.
“They have given their house this name as they feel with the amazing views of Snowdonia, a stone’s throw away from beautiful beaches, the wonderful community and the environment means they feel the house is a retreat to them.
“As the owners of the property, they are entitled, like anyone else, to put a plaque on their property and give it a name.
“But this does not have any effect on the address of the development or the road which is proudly named and will remain ‘Gwel-yr-Wyddfa’.”
Speaking on BBC Radio Cymru yesterday morning, Anglesey Councillor Llinos Medi Huws called the replacement of the Welsh name “disappointing”, claiming it showed “pure disrespect towards us and our language”.
She said she was frustrated by people placing blame on the council, whose “hands are tied” when it comes to changing the name of individual properties.
It is council policy to write to developers who choose to change Welsh names into English, but they have no means of “enforcing [rules] in any way”, according to Ms Huws.
She added: “The problem is they’ve got the right [to change names] because the Government won’t stand up for the Welsh language and our right to maintain our heritage.”