Sunday, 26 January 2014

Surrey Place Names

With the upcoming publication of my Surrey Place Names, a quick preview of the entry for Chessington.

The great survey of Domesday records this name as Cisendone in 1086. Here a Saxon personal name and Old English dun tells of 'the hill of a man called Cissa'.

Castle Hill represents an ancient earthwork encampment; Rushet Farm is 'the place of rushes'; World's End is a common humorous name found for the extremity of the parish; and Burnt Stubbs show the land was cleared by burning. Barwell Court can be traced to at least the thirteenth century, this from bere wella and describing ‘the spring near where barley is grown’. Note bere was also used a generic term for grains in general as well as for barley. Malden Rushett, once known as Lower Rushet, adds ‘the hill with a cross’ to ‘the place of the rushes’. Park Farm is a reminder of what was once known as Chessington Park. Telegraph Hill is a reminder of the signalling station situated here at the end of the eighteenth century, part of the communication network established to bring news to the nation. At the North Star public house we find the name of a very famous locomotive. Here we see the locomotive built by George Stephenson for the Great Western Railway. Archibald Menzies named the Monkey Puzzle, albeit indirectly. In 1796 he brought a sample of the Chilean Pine to England and was heard to comment how the spiky, twisted branches of the tree would prove a puzzle for a monkey to solve, and the nickname stuck.

First appearing in the sixteenth century, the Blackamoor’s Head is a variation on Black Boy. This reference is to the young black boys employed as personal servants from the eighteenth century who accompanied their employers to frequent the coffee houses and taverns of the day. These poor fellows were forced to wear brightly-coloured striped outfits, earning them the nickname of ‘tigers’.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment