Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rude Toponymy, One

I’ve been attempting to track down information on what was, undoubtedly, one of the rudest place names ever for a creek in Buncombe County.

Along the way, I stumbled upon this recent article, published by the Telegraph (London).

Britain's rudest place names
As locals in West Yorkshire win their battle to reinstate the name of Tickle Cock Bridge, we list the rudest place names in the country.
Published: 11:21AM GMT 18 Feb 2010

1. Cocks, Cornwall
2. Minge Lane, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, England
3. Bell End, Worcestershire, England
4. Twatt, Shetland (note, there is another Twatt in Orkney)
5. Sandy Balls, a long-established holiday centre in New Forest, Hampshire, England with a name dating back to Henry VIII
6. Fingringhoe, Essex, England
7. Back Passage, City of London, an alleyway in the EC1 postal district
8. Shitterton, Dorset, England
9. Slag Lane, Merseyside, a residential street in Haydock, England
10. Hole of Horcum, North York Moors, England
11. Fanny Hands Lane, Lincolnshire, England
12. Inchinnan Drive, Renfrewshire, Scotland
13. Cockshoot Close, Oxfordshire, England
14. Funbag Drive, Watford, England
15. Fanny Avenue, Derbyshire, England

16. Beaver Close, Surrey, England
17. Dick Court, Lanarkshire, Scotland
18. Felch Square, Powys, Wales
19. Lickfold, West Sussex, England
20. Rimswell, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
21. Spanker Lane, Nether Heage, Derbyshire
22. Cocknmouth Close, West End, Surrey
23. Friars' Entry, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
24. Butt Hole Road, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire
25. Cockermouth, Allerdale, Cumbria
26. Fine Bush Lane, Ruislip
27. Ladygate Lane, Ruislip
28. Hornyold Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, England
29. Crotch Crescent, Marston, Oxford, England
30. Cumming Court, Pitville, Gloucestershire, England

Another article in this vein appeared last year in the Bangkok Post -

When Home is Pratt's Bottom

by Roger Crutchley

Last weekend, The New York Times carried an entertaining article by Sarah Lyall about some of the multitude of strange place names in Britain. The feature was datelined Crapstone, a tiny village in Devon which set the theme and included some familiar names including Ugley in Essex, Scotland's East Breast, North Piddle in Worcestershire, a Kent village called Pratt's Bottom and the splendid Spankers Lane in Derbyshire....

We must not overlook the wonderful sleepy villages of Norfolk, Great Snoring and Little Snoring, believed to be popular with Thai officials transferred to inactive posts. Nearby there is also a village called Seething, which prompted the local newspaper one day to come up with the splendid headline: "Little Snoring Man Marries Seething Woman."...

The North Piddle mentioned in the NYT article used to have some relations further south where the delightfully named River Piddle flows through Dorset. At the turn of the 19th century, among the numerous settlements on the river's banks were Tolpiddle, Alfpiddle and Piddletown. The ladies in these places were not too happy with the never ending juvenile jokes about their villages and they succeeded in changing the piddle to puddle in 1838. So were spawned Tolpuddle, Alfpuddle and Puddletown. History teachers really owe these ladies a vote of thanks, as you can imagine how schoolkids would have reacted to lessons about the heroic "Tolpiddle Martyrs". However, it's pleasing to know the River Piddle retained its name. ...

Gotta love the British sensibilities.

Next – naughty names on this side of the big pond, including that creek in Buncombe.


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