Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meaning Behind the Name; from Murder Path to Goat's Head - MIKE KELLY Looks into How Some of Our Towns and Villages Got Their Names

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meaning Behind the Name; from Murder Path to Goat's Head - MIKE KELLY Looks into How Some of Our Towns and Villages Got Their Names

Article excerpt

HAVE you ever wondered how your village, town or city got its name? The reasons vary from the fanciful like identifying where Bison used to roam; the sinister with talk of a murder path; to the mundane - Wallsend is pretty self-explanatory.

In general, places were originally named according to landscape features, the nature of settlement and the name of the people or tribe living there.

They were modified over time through language shifts caused by political change.

While British history didn't start with the Celts, it was the Celtic tribes which arrived during the Iron Age who were the first to give a clear linguistic contribution that has lasted to modern times.

Two-thirds of England's rivers take their names from Celtic and even today, many hills and rivers have kept their Celtic names - especially in the North East. However in the North East the influence of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, and Normans is also evident.

Alnwick This means farm on the River Aln. The word wick for farm can be of Anglo-Saxon or Viking origin, but in Alnwick's case it is more likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Ashington There are a few possibilities but we'll stick to this one. The Saxon invader AEsc sailed from Northern Germany to the River Wansbeck and settled in the deep wooded valley near Sheepwash. The suffix "ington" denotes a settlement (usually a farm) belonging to an Anglo Saxon. This explains Bedlington, Choppington, Cramlington, Barrington, Whittington, Acklington, Stannington and the like.

Bamburgh Means 'Bebba's fortification'. It was named after Northumbrian King Aethfrith of Bernicia's queen - Bebba. A burh is a fortified place.

Beamish is one of a number of place names in County Durham containing the Norman French word 'beau' meaning beautiful or fine. Places containing this element are often noted for there natural beauty.

Turn to Page 26 From Page 25 The name Beamish derives from Beau-mis meaning beautifully placed or beautiful mansion, the second element being the Old French Mes or Metz.

Berwick Barley farm - made up of the Anglo-Saxon 'bere' (barley) and 'wick' which we identified before as meaning a farm.

Chillingham Literally means 'Homestead or village of Cheul's people'.

It starts with the family name, 'ingas' means 'the people called after' and finally 'ham' is an Old English (OE) word for a village community, a manor, an estate, or a homestead.

Glanton Most likely to mean Hawk Hill - 'glente' is an OE word for a bird of prey and dun means hill.

Beadnell Literally 'Bede's nook of land' starting with the name followed by 'halh', an OE word for a nook of land. Not thought to be the Venerable Bede however.

Cresswell Means 'cress spring or stream'. Caerse is OE for cress or water-cress and well means a spring or a stream. …

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