Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hertfordshire Place Names

With the up-coming release of Hertfordshire Place Names talks in the county on that very subject are on the horizon. Thus here is a taster featuring a name synonymous with film, quite relevant with both the BAFTAs and the Oscars in the news.


Listed as Tithulfes in the eleventh century, this name features a Saxon personal name and Old English treow and describes 'the boundary tree of a man called Tidwulf'. That the modern form is Elstree and not Telstree is almost to be expected, for Middle English would have described it as atte Telstree and the initial 'T' would have been easily confused with that at the end of the preceding word. Indeed this happens even more often when atte is followed by a vowel at the beginning of the original place name and thus starts 'T-' today.

Cranes Farm was named after Mary Crane, Nicoll Farm remembers Susanna Nicoll, and Palmers named after Edward Palmer, all of whom would have known each other for they were all here in the middle of the eighteenth century. Deacons Hill is of an earlier time, the old chantry here granted by Henry VIII to All Souls College, Oxofrd.

The Fishery Inn is aptly named as it overlooks Aldermaston Lake. The Artichoke was chosen for its image, the vegetable much less common than any tree names such as the Hollybush. The Woodcock is a pub which has taken the place name of Woodcock Hill, which must have been a family name as the habitat is quite wrong for the bird.

I would welcome any suggestions for themes or subjects, or even specific words to examine the origins, meanings and etymologies. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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