Origin of the name GWYNAIN.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name GWYNAIN.
A name that seems to have been derived from the Gwynhan
(q.v.) character in the ancient story of Kulhwch and Olwen in the Red Book of
Hergest, a name meaning "white," from gwyn.
... the name of the valley
which extends from Bedd Gelert in the direction of Pen y Gwrd... The
correct pronunciation, according to the Gwyndodeg or Venedotian dialect,
is Nangwynan, but the spelling Nanhoenem in an old charter
cited at page 198 of this volume seems to point to an original Nanhoenein,
and this seems borne out in the same by Bryngwynem and Hendrefwynein.
So the personal name involved would now be Gwynain; and Nanhwynain
sometimes occurs in that form. But it is characteristic of the
Gwyndodeg that it makes both ein and en in such positions
into an: hence the correct Gwynedd pronunciation is Nangwynan,
Bryn Gwynan, etc., while the spellings Nanhwynen and Bryn
Gwynen occupy a sort of intermediate position between the local
pronunciation and the book forms in ain. There are reasons
to suppose that the Gwyndodic predilection for a broad a in the
ending of words is of no recent origin. In fact, we seem to have
the name Gwynein or Gwynain as Gwynhan
in the ancient story of Culhwch ac Olwen in the Red Book of
Hergest: I refer to the designation therein of a certain Teithi Hen mab Gwynhan.
As I have said, Nangwynain and Bryn Gwynain have to be regarded as the
book forms, and Nangwynan and Bryn Gwynan as the local forms; but Nant
Gwynant and Bryn Gwynant are monstrosities of modern origin, partly due
to the difference between Nanh-Wynan and Bryn Gwynan. The
explanation, however, of that difference is a very simple matter of
Welsh grammar: nant is feminine in the dialect, and so
requires Gwynan to become Wynan; moreover, nt is
changed into nh, as in fy nhad, "my father," for
myn + tad. In modern Welsh there is a tendency to
efface the mutations and restore the radical consonants, whence
Nanhwynan is made into Nant Gwynan. This, however, is a very
different matter from making the personal name Gwynan into Gwynant,
as if it meant some sort of a nant, "brook or
valley." I have been told that Gwynant only dates from
the time when an English settler built the house of Plas Gwynant, and
what happened, I fancy, was this: the new comer wanted a name for
his house, and he was advised to consult the philological oracle of the
neighbourhood, who without any hesitation gave sage reasons why Gwynan
must be a corruption of Gwynant: hence Plas Gwynant, and from the
Plas the heresy has proceeded to attack Nanhwynan, Bryn Gwynan, and all
the others involving the name of Gwynan... (Bedd Gelert: Its Facts,
Fairies, & Folk-lore, Jenkins, 1899).