English place names. What a delight they are! Today I was invited to two meetings in Hampton and Woking and while mapping my route was able to rejoice in the names of other Surrey towns like Hersham, Deepcut and Pirbright. They just sounded ever so, well… Surrey!
The condition known as Synaesthesia is a the neurological mixing of the senses which allows some people to see numbers as shapes, eat sounds and hear colours. One Ukrainian individual called Andriy Tychonovych Slyusarchuk claimed to be able to recite randomly selected sequences from the first 30 million places of Pi aided by seeing them as shapes but he was uncovered as an imposter.
So I thought I’d see if towns in other counties had a resonance to them and sounded like a county. I think they do; these lists of towns you’ve never been to conjure images inextricably associated with the counties (or at least the regions) they come from. I kind of like that.
Essex: Ugley, Stansted, Brentwood, Barking, Finchingfield, Coggeshall, Great Notley
Norfolk: Reepham, Dereham, Sprowston, Wymondham, Great Massingham
Devon: Hatherleigh, Shebbear, Okehampton, Crediton, Tavistock
Cornwall: Polperro, Looe, Grampound, Mevagissey, Perranporth, Newton Ferrers
Head North-East and the tone changes altogether:
Northumberland: Seahouses, Hartlepool, Halfwhistle, Morpeth, Whitley Bay, Coquetdale
And of course north of the border it all goes to pot: Biggar, Peebles, Cock of Arran and so on and so on.
In fact my link of the day award goes to http://www.anglotopia.net/ultimate-list-of-funny-british-place-names/ where entertaining English town names like Titty Hill (Sussex) and Splatt (Cornwall) and Spanker Lane, (Derbyshire) can be found alongside Scottish ones like Fattiehead, (Banffshire) and Brokenwind, (Aberdeenshire). We even exported a few excellent names to the Orkneys where you can visit the town of Twatt if you so choose.
Yes indeed, place names are a joy.