It is also often spelt "Fan", with the full, correct Welsh languagename being "Y Fan". It is believed the name originates from the two ancient farms of the area; Manledd Uchaf and Manledd Isaf.
Van Lead Mines
The hamlet grew in the 19th century with the discovery of large deposits of lead, and a thriving lead mine was developed. At one point during the late 19th century 'Van Mine' was the most productive in Europe. The mines declined under pressure from foreign imports in the early 20th century plus mis-management, and operations ceased in the inter-war period. The name Van is also given to the small lake located just outside the village, Van Pool (Welsh: Pwll y Fan).