Place and streets names often derive from the person who founded them or lived there and so forth. Some names are just curious whilst others have a story to tell :
Llywelyn was Prince of North Wales back in the 13th century and he had a palace in a lovely valley not far from Caernarfon. One day the Prince went hunting leaving his faithful dog, Gelert, to guard his baby son. When he returned the dog, covered in blood, sprang to meet his master. The Prince was alarmed and when he found his son’s cot empty with bloodstains everywhere he assumed that the dog had savaged the child. He promptly killed the dog with his sword. He then heard a child crying and found the boy unharmed but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The Prince buried the dog nearby and the village, near to the stone which marks the grave, is called Beddgelert.
A tombstone preserved in the church at Conisby in
Caithness is that of one
John De Groot, a Dutchman who settled in the area in the 15th
century. He ran a ferry across the Firth
of Orkney for which he charged a fare of 4d and this little silver coin became
known as a ‘groat.’ So this man not only gave his name to a
coin but he also gave it to that famous village known today as John O’Groats. De Groot built an octagonal house there –
the story goes that in order to settle a dispute and quarrels over precedence
amongst his seven sons, he built the house with eight doors to enable himself
and each of his sons to enter the house by his own door, and he furnished it
with an octagonal table so that each could sit at the ‘head’. The site in marked by a mound and a
flagpole. In 1875, a hotel with an
octagonal tower was built nearby.
John O' Groats
In 1853, on his 50th birthday, Sir Titus Salt opened his visionary textile mill and workers village on the bank of the River Aire near to Shipley in
Yorkshire. The mill had 4
beam engines supplied with steam by 14 boilers, which powered 1200 looms capable
of producing 30,000 yards of cloth a day.
The village, called Saltaire,
comprising 22 streets, 850 houses and 42 alms houses, provided almost luxury
accommodation for his workforce. There
were no public houses, but a Club and Institute which cost £25,000 to build,
catered for the moral and physical welfare of the community, together with
reading rooms, a theatre, a library and several shops. A also contained a
gymnasium and a billiard room, whilst wash houses were complete with washing
machines and drying facilities. There
was of course a school for the worker’s children and a very fine Congregational
Church which cost £16,000 to build. The
village even had its own fire brigade, was serviced by gas, and had a canal and
a railway station. Allotments were
provided and the worker’s had full use of a dining room where they could bring
their own food and have it cooked, or they could purchase food at very low
cost. Curiosities within the village are
the four stone lions to be seen on guard outside the Literary Institute and the
schools. They had been commissioned for
the embellishment of Nelson’s Column in School
of Arts Trafalgar Square but in the event they
were considered to be too insignificant for the purpose and were subsequently
bought By Sir Titus Salt. Landseer’s
lions were of course chosen for the
Although times have changed, the whole complex is now preserved and in 2001 became a World Heritage Site. It is still a living community, but the houses, the mill and other premises are privately occupied. The church, one of the nation’s most precious Victorian architectural gems, is now a Grade 1 listed building and the Italianate religious architecture is a sight top behold.
On the western outskirts of
in Pickering North Yorkshire alongside the A170 road, is a large pond
known as Keld Head Spring. Legend has
it that this was a favourite haunt and bathing place for the young King
Pereduras, whose palace was on the banks of the pond. The story goes that the King lost a ring,
a heirloom passed from father to son to continued the royal line. Apparently he accused a young servant girl of
stealing the ring. Some time later the
King was served at dinner with a huge pike which had been caught in the nearby
pond and as he cut open the fish, Pereduras found the lost ring inside the
fish. His triumphal discovery gave him
the idea to call the town Pike-a-ring. Of course, he married the servant girl and
they all lived happily ever after.
The Yorkshire Dales are a well known National Park in the north-west of the county. However, the dales of
are widespread in all corners of the county.
One count revealed as many as 562 dales in Yorkshire.
No less than sixteen dales run into the hamlet of Thixendale on the Yorkshire Wolds. The name of course means sixteen dales: Waterdale, Williedale, Blubberdale, Courtdale, Honeydale, Buckdale, Longdale, Middledale, Breckondale, Warrendale, Broadholmedale, Pluckhamdale, Millandale, Fotherdale, Bowdale and Fairdale.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest place name in
. It means ‘St
Mary’s church in a hollow by the white hazel close to the rapid whirlpool by
the red Britain .’ It is said the name of this cave of St Tysilio Anglesey
village consisted of only 20 letters until it was renamed by a local man in the
19th century, making the name 58 letters long. It is better known as Llanfair P.G, although tourists flock there to see the full name in all its glory on the railway station
nestles on the northern edge of village of Flookburgh .
The weathervane on top of the church tower depicts a large fish – a
flounder – which gives a clue to the unusual name of this village. A
Flook is the local name for a flounder, still caught in these parts. Morecambe Bay
On size alone, St David’s in South West Wales, is no more then a large village with a population of some 2,000 people, but its cathedral qualifies it as the smallest city in the United Kingdom and it was so designated by Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1994. The cathedral was founded by St David, the patron saint of Wales in the 6th century but the present fine building dates from the 11th century. A casket behind the altar is said to contain the bones of St David and St Justian.
City of St David's
St David's Cathedral
St David's Shrine
Curious place names
A signpost on the A614 road at Holme-on-Spalding Moor in
tells us that The Land of Nod is just 2
miles distant. This remote spot consists
of just two farmsteads.
Dull in Perthshire is paired with Boring in Oregon, USA.
Dull in Perthshire is paired with Boring in Oregon, USA.
Come to Good is the name of a hamlet in
near Cornwall . Truro
Sixpenny Handley is a village near Blandford in
Sloley is a hamlet near Worstead in
Great and Little Snoring are twin villages near Fakenham in
Cold Christmas is off the A10 between Ware and Wadesmill in Hertfordshire.
Fryup is a name to be seen in the Eskdale area of
A small place called Ugley in
has a similar problem with The Ugley Womens’ Institute!
I don’t know about Sexey in
Curious street names
The shortest street in
has the longest name
– Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate. In 1505 it was called Whitnourwhatnourgate,
meaning ‘what a street.’ Known as the
street of punishment it is said to have derived its curious name from the place
where petty criminals were whipped, or even to relate to the custom of dog
whipping on St Lukes Day – but nobody seems to know the truth. York
The Land of Green Ginger is the name of s street in
in Hull East Yorkshire.
If you are in the
Lake District look for
Leather, Rag and Putty Street in
you can find Squeeze Guts Alley in Cornwall ,
Belly Alley in Port Isaac. Truro
There are many alleys and yards in
in Whitby North Yorkshire – look for Arguments Yard and Loggerheads Yard ?
Meanwhile do be careful if you are in the vicinity of Puddletown or Piddletrenthide in
– a lane in nearby Cerne Abbas is called
Piddle Lane which is where the puddle probably came