Why Solihull Is a Real Pigsty; (and Shugborough Is a Hell of a Place to Visit) REVEALED: THE HIDDEN MEANING BEHIND THE NAMES OF OUR TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Article excerpt

Byline: BY CAROLINE LOWBRIDGE

THEY are the quirky, baffling and sometimes downright daft place names which have left locals scratching their heads for generations.

Now an amateur historian is revealing the hidden meanings behind cities, towns and villages across the Midlands.

Anthony Poulton-Smith, 50, can tell you the meaning or story behind the name of the place where you live.

The engineer-turned-detective is author of five books on local history, with a sixth on the way.

Name any city, town, village or even hamlet in the Midlands and he can tell you about its origins.

But his passion for deciphering the mysteries began through an interest in ley-lines - believed by some to be 'magical' energy fields.

Anthony was convinced the ley-lines actually marked travel routes which pre-dated Roman settlers.

The super-sleuth developed an interest in place names while mapping out the lines and discovered that many were derived from medieval route markers.

Tipton's Burnt Tree Island, for example, would have originally been named after a tree was set alight so travellers following ley-lines knew where they were. …