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  • Ann Parry Owen

Afalau (1633)

Updated: Apr 23

[Please scroll down for the English version]


Yn 1633, tra roedd dan glo yng ngharchar y Fleet yn Llundain am ei ddyledion, lluniodd John Jones, Gellilyfdy, restrau o wahanol eiriau yn ymwneud â byd natur. Yn eu mysg ceir rhestr yn trafod coed y berllan (perllanwydd) a’u ffrwythau. Wrth drafod y goeden afalau (afallen, afallwydd), enwir dros ugain math gwahanol o afal, ambell un yn hysbys, ond y rhan fwyaf yn ddieithr. (Am y rhestr, gweler isod.) Dyma’r unig restr o afalau a geir yn y Gymraeg, hyd y gwn i, cyn i Iolo Morganwg lunio casgliad ohonynt o Forgannwg. (Cyhoeddwyd y rhan fwyaf o enwau Iolo yn ‘Welsh names of apples’, Cambrian Journal, 1858, https://bit.ly/30rCvWa).


Mae’n debygol mai enw generig yw afal pêr, hynny ydi unrhyw afal melys yn gyffredinol; ac mae’n debygol fod yr un peth yn wir am afal sur, afal chwerwber ac afal melysber. Ond mae’r rhan fwyaf o’r enwau yn y rhestr fel petaent yn cyfeirio at fath arbennig o afal.

Gallwn fod yn hyderus mai hen afal mawr yw’r afal costard, a ddisgrifir yn GPC fel ‘afal o gryn faint a gwrymiau amlwg iddo’. Câi ei ystyried yn afal o safon uchel – ac roedd yn un o’r eitemau ar y bwrdd bwyd, ynghyd â phomgranadau a gwin, pan fwynhaodd y bardd Lewys Glyn Cothi letygarwch Ieuan ap Lewys a Thangwystl ym Mefenydd yn y bymthegfed ganrif (GLGC 88.49–50). Am afalau costard coch, costard gwyn a chostard llwyd, ni chefais hyd i gyfeiriadau Cymraeg pellach atynt, ond fe’u ceir mewn llawlyfrau garddio cynnar yn Saesneg, fel L. Meager, The Compleat English Gardner (10th ed., London, 1704), 50 ac R. Bradley, A Dictionary of Plants, vol. II (London, 1747) dan Malus: ‘The gray Costerd is a large good Apple, somewhat whiting on the Outside, and abideth the Winter’.


Mae afal cidodyn yn enw arall na lwyddais i’w ganfod mewn unrhyw eiriadur; ac yn ôl John Jones yma, mae’n un da i’w bobi ac at wneud seidr. Mae’n ddiddorol fod Iolo Morganwg yntau’n cyfeirio at yr afal hwn, gan ei gysylltu’n arbennig â swydd Henffordd a chan nodi ei fod yn dda at wneud seidr: LlGC 13089E, 64 Called also kedodin in Herefrodshire, a fine cyder apple; LlGC 13120B, 268 Called also kydodin in Herefrod a fine Cyder apple. (Diolch yn fawr i Dr Richard Crowe am y cyfeiriadau hyn.) Mae’n ddigon posibl mai o ryw enw Saesneg y daw cidodyn, ond ni lwyddwyd eto i’w olrhain.


Mae’n eithaf sicr, ar y llaw arall, mai o’r Saesneg y daw grining yn afal grining. Yn yr Oxford English Dictionary (OED) disgrifir afal greening fel ‘Any of several varieties of apple which are green when ripe, used for cooking or eating’.


Mae’n bosibl mai afal a elwir yn queening yw’r afal gwyn ochrog: OED queening ‘any of several varieties of apple having prominent angular ribs on the surface of the fruit’. Mewn nodyn ar darddiad queening yn yr OED, gwrthodir awgrym a wnaethpwyd yn flaenorol i’w gysylltu â coin, quoin ‘with reference to the angled shape of the fruit’; trueni, gan y byddai hynny wedi rhoi cyfatebiaeth dda i’r elfen ochrog yn yr enw Cymraeg yma.


Mae afal bresych ac afal pêr bresych yn gwbl ddieithr, ac yn swnio braidd yn anapelgar; felly hefyd afal caled du, er bod R. Bradley, A Dictionary of Plants, vol. II (London, 1747), dan malus, yn enwi sawl math o afal du, e.e. ‘The black Apple or Pippin, is a very good eating Apple, and very like a Permean, both in Form and Bigness, but of black sooty colour’.


Mae afal pig y glomen, ar y llaw arall, yn ddigon hysbys – GPC ‘apple with an excrescence at the stalk’. Gallwn dybio nad afal o’r math gorau oedd hwn, gan fod Lewis Morris yn 1740 yn cyfeirio ato mewn cerdd, gan fanylu braidd yn goeglyd ar yr eitemau yn ewyllys Morgan Goch y Melinydd: Dau Afal pîg y Glomen / ’Stol drithroed a chrys gwlanen / O wellt gwely …. Mae’n siŵr fod afal pig y biog yn un eithaf tebyg, ond ni ddeuthum ar draws gyfeiriad arall at hwnnw.


Mae’n bosibl mai’r un afal yw afal pêr Mair: a permain apple ag afal pêr Mai ‘pearmain apple’ (GPC), afal y ceir y dystiolaeth gynharaf drosto yn GPC ar lafar yng Ngheredigion yn yr 20g. Ar y llaw arall mae’r enw afal Mair yn hŷn. Wrth ddisgrifio melyster awen y bardd Llywelyn ab y Moel, meddai Guto’r Glyn: Naddai bob awenyddair / Fal mêl neu afalau Mair (GG.net 82.45–6). Os at Fair Fadlen y cyfeiria Mair yn yr enw, cymharer OED Magdalene ‘a variety of dessert apple’. Mae hwn yn afal sy’n aeddfedu’n gynnar yn yr haf a gall fod Mair wedi ei newid yn Mai mewn cyfnod Protestannaidd. Tybed ai'r Magdalene yw afal pêr Mair yma?


(Byddwn yn ddiolchgar iawn am unrhyw wybodaeth am yr afalau a drafodir yma.)



Apples (1633)


In 1633, whilst incarcerated in the Fleet prison in London as a debtor, John Jones of Gellilyfdy compiled lists of words pertaining to the natural world. Amongst these is a list under the heading perllanwydd a’u ffrwyth (‘trees of the orchard and their fruits’). In the section on the apple tree (afallen, afallwydd), he names over twenty different types of apple, a few known to us today, but most unfamiliar or unknown. As far as I am aware, this is the only list of apples in Welsh before Iolo Morganwg collected apple names from Morgannwg (most of those were published in ‘Welsh names of apples’, Cambrian Journal, 1858, https://bit.ly/30rCvWa).


Afal pêr is likely to be a generic name, for a ‘sweet apple’ in general; similarly afal sur ‘sour apple’, afal chwerwber ‘a sweet and sour apple’ and afal melysber ‘sweet and fragrant apple’. But most of the names in the list seem to refer to particular types of apple.

We can be confident that afal costard is a ‘costard apple’, an old and large type of apple that is described in the OED as ‘a large apple with prominent ribs or ridges’. It was a highly regarded apple – and was one of the items on the dinner table, along with pomegranate and wine, when the fifteenth-century poet Lewys Glyn Cothi enjoyed the hospitality of Ieuan ap Lewys and Tangwystl in Mefenydd (GLGC 88.49–50). I failed to find references to the red, white and grey varieties in Welsh (costard coch, costard gwyn and costard llwyd), but they are all mentioned in several early books in English on gardening, such as L. Meager, The Compleat English Gardner (10th ed., London, 1704), 50 and R. Bradley, A Dictionary of Plants, vol. II (London, 1747) under Malus: ‘The gray Costerd is a large good Apple, somewhat whiting on the Outside, and abideth the Winter’.


Afal cidodyn is another apple that I failed to find in any dictionary; and according to John Jones here, it’s a good apple for baking and for making cider. The only other references to this apple are by Iolo Morganwg, who also notes that it’s a good apple for making cider, associating it in particular with Herefordshire: NLW 13089E, 64 Called also kedodin in Herefrodshire, a fine cyder apple; NLW 13120B, 268 Called also kydodin in Herefrod a fine Cyder apple. (I’m grateful to Dr Richard Crowe for these references.) It’s quite possible that cidodyn derives from an English name, as yet unidentified.


On the other hand we can be quite sure that grining in afal grining comes from the English. In the OED a greening is described as ‘Any of several varieties of apple which are green when ripe, used for cooking or eating’.


Afal gwyn ochrog (‘a white angular apple’) is likely to refer to a queening: ‘any of several varieties of apple having prominent angular ribs on the surface of the fruit’ (OED). In a note on the etymology of queening, the OED reject a previous suggestion to derive it from coin, quoin ‘with reference to the angled shape of the fruit’; that’s a shame as that derivation would have corresponded well with the element ochrog in the Welsh name.


Both afal bresych (‘cabbage apple’) and afal pêr bresych (‘sweet cabbage apple’) are unknown and sound rather unappealing, as also does afal caled du (‘hard black apple’), although R. Bradley, A Dictionary of Plants, vol. II (London, 1747), under malus, names several types of black apple, e.g. ‘The black Apple or Pippin, is a very good eating Apple, and very like a Permean, both in Form and Bigness, but of black sooty colour’.


Afal pig y glomen (‘the pigeon’s beak apple’), on the other hand, is known – GPC ‘apple with an excrescence at the stalk’. We can presume that this was a second-rate apple, as Lewis Morris, in 1740, lists two of them in a rather satirical poem as items in the will of Morgan Goch the Miller: Dau Afal pîg y Glomen / ’Stol drithroed a chrys gwlanen / O wellt gwely … (‘two pigeon’s beak apples, a three-legged stool and a woollen shirt made of bed straw’). Afal pig y biog (‘the magpie’s beak apple’) is likely to have been a similar apple, but I have found no other reference to it.


Afal pêr Mair: a permain apple is likely to be the same apple as GPC afal pêr Mai ‘pearmain apple’; GPC’s evidence is from an oral source in Ceredigion in the 20th century. On the other hand, afal Mair (‘Mary’s apple’) is much older. To describe the sweetness of Llywelyn ab y Moel’s poetic muse, Guto’r Glyn says: Naddai bob awenyddair / Fal mêl neu afalau Mair (‘He would form every word of poetry like honey or apples of Mary’, GG.net 82.45–6). If Mair refers to Mary Magdalene, then compare perhaps OED Magdalene ‘a variety of dessert apple’, an apple which matures early in the summer. Was Mair ‘Mary’ perhaps changed to Mai ‘May’ in the Protestant period? Could the Magdalene apple be afal pêr Mair?


(I would be very grateful for any information about the apples discussed here.)



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