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Two-word towns

March 12, 2019

I was in Exeter yesterday, teaching a course. I like Exeter. Beautiful Norman/Gothic cathedral, lovely people, and  a brilliant second-hand bookshop (Hospiscare Books and Antiques Shop in South Street). Devon has long been one of my favourite counties. And here’s an interesting thing about Devon: it has a large number of towns/villages with two-word names. Examples: Newton Abbot, Combe Martin, Bovey Tracey, Budleigh Salterton, Bishop’s Tawton, Ottery St Mary and the wonderfully-named Westward Ho! (though that last one is a special case, being named after a novel by Charles Kingsley). I don’t think other English counties have these two-noun settlements, or not to the same extent. Any explanations welcome.

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11 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Chipping Sodbury, Pratt’s Bottom and Badgers Mount. Can’t think why.

  2. Paul S. permalink

    I’ll see your Devon and raise you Lincolnshire

    Ashby Puerorum, Boothby Graffoe, Claxby Pluckacre, Donna Nook.
    Eagle Barnsdale, Freiston Shore, Gosberton Risegate, Hop Pole.
    Leake Commonside, Mavis Enderby, Potterhanworth Booths.
    Quadring Eaudike,Scott Willoughby, Tongue End, Wasps Nest.

  3. OK. You totally got me.

  4. Simon Carter permalink

    Those Lincs towns could be characters in a western.

    • Paul S. permalink

      That wasn’t even an exhaustive list; there are dozens of them.

      Anton’s Gowt, Bag Enderby, Burton Pedwardine, Byards Leap.
      Carlton Scroop, Cherry Willingham, Drinsey Nook, Ewerby Thorpe.
      Gipsey Bridge, Holbeach Hurn, Kirton Holme, Limber Parva.
      Norton Disney, Pepper Gowt, Skendleby Psalter, Tumby Woodside.

  5. Lincs wins by miles. My favourites are Pepper Gowt and Skendleby Psalter.

  6. Simon Carter permalink

    They still sound like cowboys.

  7. Yes. “Sheriff! Sheriff! The outlaw Pepper Gowt’s comin’ to town!”

  8. Simon Carter permalink

    Carlton Scroop has been gunnin’ for Burton Pendarwine since he started a-courtin Cherry Willingham and Tumby Woodside sold Claxby Pluckacre’s best horse to old Leake Commonside.

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