Thursday, 28 May 2015

Britain’s Funniest Place Names II.

The ‘green and pleasant land’ that is Britain’s countryside hides some very colourful, amusing or even rather rude place names!  I’ve put together a list of some of my favourites.  This post follows on from Britain’s FunniestPlace names I, which I put together a couple of months back.  Funny as they sound, all the places on the list are real!  I hope you enjoy reading through them as I certainly smiled whilst putting the list together!



Booze, North Yorkshire.
A village called booze, and there’s not even a pub.  Disappointing.  The name stems from old Nordic languages, meaning ‘partition’.

Shitterton, Dorset.
What a name!  In fact, it was voted ‘Britain’s worst place name’ in 2012.  Although it was named over a thousand years ago, it means exactly what it sounds like.  The name ‘Shitterton’ stems from Old English, and literally means ‘village with an open sewer’.  This is likely to refer to the stream running through the village, which would once have been used as an open toilet back in historic times.  Nice.  However, today the village is charming and idyllic.  No open sewers any more, just pretty thatched cottages. 

Butt of Lewis, Western Isles.
Wild and windswept, this remote headland is often battered by fierce North Atlantic storms.  Butt of Lewis is a lot more beautiful than its name would suggest, forming the most northerly point of Scotland’s Isle of Lewis.

Lord Hereford’s Knob, Welsh borders.
Well this is a naughty one!  Lord Hereford’s Knob (known as Twmpa in Welsh) refers to a prominent hill in the Black Mountains, which separate Wales and England.  A very scenic place, but nothing to do with willies!

Crackpot, North Yorkshire.
This pretty village can be found in the pretty Yorkshire Dales.  Crackpot’s cute-sounding name originates from the Old English language; kraka meaning ‘crow’ and pot referring to a hollow in the limestone rock. 

Barking, Essex.
Disappointingly, this name is nothing to do with dogs.  It dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, and probably meant ‘village by the birch trees’.  Nowadays, the town has been swallowed up by the sprawling London suburbs, but many class Barking as part of Essex.

Scratchy Bottom, Dorset.

Whilst the name may conjure up rather unpleasant images, ‘Scratchy Bottom’ is a lush green valley in the pretty chalk hills of southern England.  Located close to stunning Dorset coastline, many walkers are drawn to Scratchy Bottom.  Like most of Britain’s place names, this unusual name originates from the past, and is thought to mean ‘rough hollow’.  Oddly, there are over 100 place names in Dorset containing the word ‘bottom’.

As I mentioned in the last post, Britain's funny place names are the result of its colourful history, with each group of settlers bringing new linguistics to the mix.  Many names date back hundreds, even thousands of years and have lost their initial meaning over time as language constantly evolves.  Consequently, they can sound quite funny to us today!

Thanks for reading, and happy travels!

Elis Griffiths. x