This is just an update for the list. I have forwarded your message to a
friend of mine in California. She comes from the Prendergast family who are
reputed to be related to Maurice de Prendergast who along with Strongbow the
Earl of Pembroke invaded Ireland in 1172.
She has done extensive research into this topic and may be able to help.
Pembrokeshire Census, Memorials, Hearths,
Orielton CD's and Baptist Sketches at
----- Original Message -----
From: "REGINALD DAVIES" <regandpaddy(a)btinternet.com>
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:56 PM
Subject: [Dyfed] The meaning of the name Prendergast.
Can anyone help with the meaning and geographical distribution of the place
The best source for the interpretation of PEM place names are the volumes
of B.G. Charles entitled "The Place Names of Pembrokeshire" published in
1992. But Prendergast presented him with problems. Prendergast is a parish
to the north east of Haverfordwest, which has many references pre-1600 to
it. In his research he found sixteen other examples of Prendergast as a
place name in the northern half of the county.
He continues "It looks as if the first element could be Welsh pren meaning
'tree, wood, timber'. Prender could stand for 'oak tree', i.e. from Pren
derw. The only known meaning of the Welsh gast is 'bitch, whore'. If this
analysis is correct the allusion may be to an oak tree which was the haunt
of the wild dog". But he concludes that such a tentative interpretation as
this did not explain the exceptional number of the other examples of the
name in the county.
He continues "Prendergast, on the north-east of Haverfordwest, became a
poor suburb of the town and as such was well known to the folk of north
Pembrokeshire. It would seem that the name Prendergast, often pronounced
Prengast, became an epithet in the Welsh dialect for places situated in the
east ends of villages where the poorer people often lived, and later the
appellative was applied to humble cottages in the vicinity. There are places
called Prendergast in the east ends of Llantwyd, Bletherston, Trevine and
Solva. He could also have included Nevern where Brengast, (Prendergast in
the early 19th century parish register) lies to the south east of the
In Newport, Prendergast (2 dwellings in the early 19th century) is to the
north of the town. The earliest reference thus far found to Prendergast in
Newport is a lease in 1706 for 21 years of 'Place prenkergast otherwise
Casel lands', between George Bowen of Llwyngwair, Esquire and John Nicholas,
a yeoman, the lessor.
Surprising Prendergast is absent from the recently published Dictionary of
the Place-Names of Wales and Y Llyfr Enw. Perhaps suggesting that the name
is local to Pembrokeshire and perhaps to only part of that county.
So is there a Prendergast near you? Any comment of the late B.G. Charles'
observations will be welcomed.
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