“Another volume for every local historian's bookshelf” - Local HistorianThis revised edition of the Dictionary of British Place-Names includes over 17,000 engaging and informative entries, tracing the development of the featured place-names from earliest times to the present day. Llansantffraid - 'Church of St. Bridget'. If I understand correctly, -ham and -ton have the same meaning (town). Southampton was hamm tun then Hamtun. Amsterdam ('River Amstel dam'), Liechtenstein ('Light-stone'), Copenhagen ('Merchants' harbour), Paris ('Home of the Parisii'), Shanghai (approximately 'Seaport'), Tashkent ('Stone city'). In the islands of Scotland, particularly Orkney and Shetland, but also the Western Isles, there are many names of Norse origin; this is also true of the coasts of the mainland. 5 5. comments. The answer is No. Rotherham was the village by the Rother. There are two Sidons mentioned in the Bible, a man and a town: The first born son of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:15). In general, the Anglo-Saxon and Norse place names tend to be rather mundane in origin, the most common types being [personal name + settlement/farm/place] or [type of farm + farm/settlement] (almost all towns ending in -wich, -ton, -ham, … Replaced Old English stow and stede. Australian place names are mainly a mixture of aboriginal and British-derived toponyms. Version Française disponible ici Prénom Ham Some terms, like cumb and penn, were adopted from Celtic by Anglo-Saxons. Ireland is no exception, except that its placenames can trace their ancestry to three language families: Gaelic, English and Viking. A famous bearer is retired English soccer player David Beckham (1975-). Note: at this point this site's collection is quite small and somewhat uneven. The historic market town of Stamford (Stone-crossing) is a surviving Anglo-Saxon settlement. . Origins of Place Names. The use of (-ton) in a place name harks back to a time on enclosed settlements. Some general conclusions about the nature of place names, and the way in which place names change, can be made and are examined below. However, often the name may be recycled and altered in some way. -ham, -ton, and -hampton as place name suffixes. The Roman settlements in England still exist, yet they have grown considerably since the fall of Rome and the Roman towns have morphed into cities with global recognition. However, some names come directly from the English language or Scots language, and a handful come from Old Norse. Some of the main problems are: The names of natural or man-made features in the landscape tend to be older than those of settlements since the former are often more widely known. The use of (-ham) in a place name is a clear piece of evidence to suggest Anglo-Saxon involvement in its evolution. More Filters. Other cities and towns with a similar heritage are Bradford, Thetford and Sleaford. The use of (- ham) in a place name is a clear piece of evidence to suggest Anglo-Saxon involvement in its evolution. Water was of major importance to the early settlers of an area, both for subsistence and for religious reasons. Ham 1 (spelled חם and probably pronounced as Cham) is the youngest son of Noah (Genesis 9:24). share. Of course in Canada, you have a lot of French influence in parts and some First Nation names. Names are given to water features, hills and valleys, islands and marshes, as well as woods and districts. Abbreviation tends to break down a name into a more easily pronounced form, e.g. However, some apparent meanings may be deceptive; New York was not directly named after the English city of York but after the Duke of York, who was the head of the British Navy at the time of the British take-over, and Los Angeles was not named after angels but after the Virgin Mary, or the Queen of the Angels (El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles). A good example is the London area of Hampstead which ties in the word components “ham”, meaning home, village, estate or farm, with “stead”, meaning place so that the full word means Home Place. ; 2006 September, Josh Norem, a review in Maximum PC, page 78: Any place which has caistor or chester in their name usually denotes a settlement with a direct link to the Roman Military encampments. 80% Upvoted. The “ham” suffix in a place name is widely accepted to mean “home” or “settlement” from an etymological point of view, although it can also be interpreted as meaning “town” in a … Many topographic elements become incorporated into settlement names, together with plant, creature names or personal names. The scholars of Oxford renamed the upper course of the River Thames running through Oxford to Dorchester-on-Thames as the "Isis", owing to an incorrect assumption that the Latin name of the river, Tamesis, represented a combination of "Thame" (a river that joins the Thames at Dorchester) and "Isis". Oakham and Hexham are further examples. "Der" means deer, so Derby is a settlement with or near many herds of Deer. This article is about the origins of place names themselves. There are also place names from Old English and Scots, such as Edinburgh. For every sensible sounding location such as a Southampton or Northampton, there is a Wetwang or a Caistor that can be located on the same map. That the latter are 'places' is obvious. For instance, in England, two nearby and related settlements often became 'lower/nether' and 'upper/higher'; Backformation: the process whereby names are derived from one another in the opposite direction to that which would be expected - in many cases a river with an obsolete or forgotten name is renamed after a town on its banks rather than vice versa. For example, Derby can be broken down to this basic explanation. From the portrait of Alexander Hamilton featured on them.. Noun . In Cornwall most place-names are Cornish in origin, whilst in Cumbria there remain a number of place names in Cumbric, the Brythonic language of this region; examples including Carlisle, Helvellyn and Blencathra. … With every successive immigration, we find a different way to describe the land. Jurisdictional terms of seats of government, justice, or punishment 4. . For instance, a relatively small, distinct upland valley (e.g. The Norse settlers also added other place names to the landscape. Bermondsey Bermondsey takes its name from a Saxon landowner. hide. from each other, then these features can be thought of as places, in that they represent distinct geographic locations. Obviously, whether a name element was originally ham or hamm would make a major difference in meaning. They may also have more linguistically diverse place names; for instance in England place names may have Pre-Celtic, Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, or Norman-French origins. At its most severe, the name may be completely replaced. Most place-names are of Gaelic or Norse origin but there are traces of an earlier language in some names. BELANGER English From the given name BERENGAR. Manchester, future home of the Northern Powerhouse. Most English place-names are made up of two elements (though some are threeor more). Virtually all of the place names decided on up to around the 14th Century were due to the environment of the area. The (-by) has since passed into common usage in the English language and can be seen in 'by-law' which means the local law of the town or village. The is no black and white facts when it comes to history. In much of the "Old World" (approximately Africa, Asia and Europe) the names of many places cannot easily be interpreted or understood; they do not convey any apparent meaning in the modern language of the area. These apply to both the names of settlements and natural features, although more so to the former. The Vikings were responsible for originating the names of many English towns and villages. This thread is archived. Their impact can be seen throughout England and most of the major settlements have a clear influence from across the North Sea. He has been on HubPages for many years. They also named geographical features for … In a two-element name, we call the first part the 'prefix' and thesecond part the 'suffix'. Maine has 32, Vermont 36. Modern London has changed drastically since the time of Roman Londinium. Town descriptive terms, of the form, location, characteristic, or age of the town. For example, Doncaster would probably have originated as a Roman fort on a hill, from the Roman 'Caster' and Celtic 'Don'. Some historians have argued that the Viking invasions involved very large numbers of people because there are so many Viking place names. Toponymy divides place-names into two broad categories: habitation names and feature names. If you know the meaning of a place name that is not here, you are encouraged to submit it. If, for whatever reason, a new language becomes spoken in the area, a place name may lose all meaning. Scunthorpe translates as either Scun's farm or Scun's land. Other place-names are hybrids of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon elements. King Harold was of Danish origin himself. Andrew Stewart (author) from England on January 29, 2018: Thanks Jorge, even my home city managed to make it across the Atlantic- Peterborough. Stead The suffix “–stead” comes from the word “stede” or staddt if you look at the Germanic version of it, and it translates simply to “place”. ham (v.) "over-act in performance," 1933, from ham (n.2). At … Ham meant village or estate. These (-by) endings, effectively meant it was a village or settlement. Most English place-names are either Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse in origin but Celtic names are to be found over the whole country, most notably in Cornwall (see below) and counties bordering Wales. Conversely, countries with a more uniform cultural/linguistic history tend to have less broken down and diverse place names - Wales for instance (especially when compared to neighbouring England). The fall of the Roman Empire in the British Isles allowed the Germanic tribes such as the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes to take over huge swathes of the southern half of the British Isles. Do they basically translate as South town town and North town town? 2. place (n.) c. 1200, "space, dimensional extent, room, area," from Old French place "place, spot" (12c.) England has been linguistically shaped by the Norman Conquest, Viking settlement, Anglo-Saxon invasion and Roman occupation. Many English places derive part of their name from the river upon which they were built, but in the 16th century many English rivers were renamed with back-formations from towns on their banks. 3. A good example of this is England's second city- Birmingham. Similarly, Negaunee, Michigan's name is derived from the Ojibwe word nigani meaning foremost, in advance, leading, which was determined to be the closest Ojibwe approximation to the English word pioneer. Old Norse was the North Germanic language spoken by the peoples of ancient Scandinavia. ; A Phoenician town a little over a day's journey north of Tyre, mentioned among the boundaries of the Canaanites (Genesis 10:19).This town rose to prominence and began to oppress Israel (Judges 10:12). Most pre-modern settlement names contain a generic element describing the place's function (e.g. The capital city of England rests upon the foundations of the Roman town of Londinium. However, as names are applied on a larger scale, they may become less useful as place names. The latter in particular can result in dramatic shifts in place names, since the original meaning (and often sounds) are not conveyed in the new language, the place name thus shifts to a form appropriate for the new language. In some cases these are in fact related to their Welsh name, but disguised through linguistic processes of mutation, for example Monmouth and the Welsh Trefynwy both referring to the River Monnow (Mon- < Monnow < Mynwy > -fynwy). Along the south coast of Wales, where English has historically been more widely spoken, many place names are commonly anglicized, such as Pontypool, derived from Pont-y-Pŵl. In the north and east, there are many place names of Norse origin; similarly, these contain many personal names. The word eg meant an island, a promontory of land or in this case an 'island' of dry land surrounded by marsh. Finally, we come to the use of (-ing). Shem stands for the mindset that allows a worldview irrespective of the self. Experts in the history of names can tell uswhich were Viking names, so when we come across one, we can be sure that thiswas a settlement which came into Scandinavian possession. When Europeans began arriving in New Zealand from the 17th century they gave their own names to many geographical features and settlements, often after places in Britain or important settlers or famous British people. Fort Knox, Thunder Bay, Little Rock and so on. The place names also can be based upon the nature of the occupation of the people in that area or the particular function performed by the people in that area. See also: Norman Place Names in England Norman Place Names Many others are of French origin, such as Detroit, Michigan, which was established along the banks of the river they called le détroit du lac Érié, meaning the strait of Lake Erie. This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional. How Place Names Reveal Our History", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Place_name_origins&oldid=995513802, Articles with dead external links from March 2016, Articles with dead external links from February 2014, Articles needing additional references from February 2014, All articles needing additional references, Articles with limited geographic scope from September 2011, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2017, All Wikipedia articles needing clarification, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from September 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Rhode Island has the fewest — 15 of them, from Bradford to Wickford. The vast majority of placenames in Ireland are anglicizations (adaptations to English phonology) of Irish language names. Other terms relate to the expansion of farming. Other English places with Roman origins in their name include... Over the passage of time, these settlements have become anglicized but the route of the name is very clear. In this time period, the Anglo Saxon inhabitants were joined by Scandinavian settlers and they lived under the rule of their Norse neighbours. When you find (-ham) in a place name, it tells us that the settlement was once a village. save. That notwithstanding, it is probable that the origins of the names of both settlements and natural features is the same, namely to distinguish one from another; and thus that both should be considered place names. Massachusetts has the most, with at least 104 English names for cities, towns and counties, starting with Amesbury and ending with Yarmouth. of platys "broad," from PIE root *plat-"to spread.". It will provide you with a name's meaning and a break-down of the different parts of the name (its 'elements') and the language(s) of those elements. The Maori named most of New Zealand's natural features. For instance, if a name no longer means anything in the modified language, it may drift towards a new form; e.g. In the north and east, there are many place names of Norse origin; similarly, these contain many personal names. Elaboration of place names often occurred to make distinctions between similarly named settlements. For instance Brittonic. Most old Roman settlements, whether actually inhabited or not, were given the title of -chester/caster in Anglo-Saxon (from the Latin castrum, 'camp' or its plural form castra); the specific names for each may only have little relation to the Roman names (e.g. I do find the subject very interesting. This is due to a general set of processes through which place names evolve over time, until their obvious meaning is lost. Cambridge, perhaps uniquely, illustrates both effects: originally Grontabricc, a bridge on the Granta, the name became Cantebruge and then Cambrugge, from which the river was renamed Cam. Bacillus botulinum was later placed in the genus Clostridium (from Greek kloster meaning spindle), while some debate still existed over the basis for the species name. THE following Glossary contains the principal components of the place-names in the British Isles, and with its aid the derivation of many names may be ascertained, and something may be learned of the physical condition of various localities in early times. Kettering - The Place of Ketter's people. The British town Bristol was … You can use the Key to search for a particular place-name, or to browse through the names of a particular county. Other examples include Manchester and Cirencester. Cambridge perhaps uniquely illustrates both normal and back formation. Place names often need specialists to interpret their meanings. It was a colony of the Danish leaders and it kept the Anglo-Saxon leaders on edge for many generations. Between 1880 and 2018 there were 7 births of Ham in the countries below, which represents an average of 0 birth of children bearing the first name Ham per year on average throughout this period. and directly from Medieval Latin placea "place, spot," from Latin platea "courtyard, open space; broad way, avenue," from Greek plateia (hodos) "broad (way)," fem. Here are a few settlements with its translation. The origin of place names of the countries within Britain are discussed below. Various names have been used for the island of Britain, see Britain (name). Often the Roman name for their settlements had become absorbed and adapted by successive invaders. Therefore was England truly conquered in 1066 by a foreign power? England had been already ruled by a Danish King in Canute. Many experts believe that Londinium is a Romanized name and its name has its true origins in the language of the Ancient Britons. Land characteristics were important to both hunters and farmers, and there are many terms relating to different types of hills and valleys. The determinant words have many variants but can be categorized: 1. Swaledale) clearly represents a definable geographic location. Many in the former New Netherland colony are of Dutch origin, such as Harlem, Brooklyn and Rhode Island. Many place names were shaped so long ago that nobody can be certain if any one explanation is correct. Sometimes a generic word was adopted as a specific label, for example the Celtic word for river was afon which is used in many cases as the name (Avon) of rivers in England. In the 21st century, real estate developers often conduct historical research in order to craft a name for a modern development that connects to the local history of the community. Etymology can be a game of probabilities. Many English place names can be peculiar and perplexing, even to those who live there. Ham also had a sports slang sense of "incompetent pugilist" (1888), perhaps from the notion in ham-fisted. Etymology. Roman | Celtic | Saxon | Viking. in. There is still controversy over the language of these roots. On the last available year for each country, we count 0 birth. However, the broad, extended valley of a major river, such as the Trent, is not easily understood as a single location. The use of (-ley) in a place name indicates that the settlement originates from a forest clearing. Although the origin of many place names is now forgotten, it is often possible to establish likely meanings through consideration of early forms of the name. From an English surname that was originally derived from place names meaning "ash tree clearing", from a combination of Old English æsc and leah. The Old English ham which means variously "homestead, village, manor, estate" (Mills, p. 381) and hamm which means "enclosure, land hemmed by water or marsh or higher ground, land in a riverbend, rivermeadow, promontory" (Mills, p. 381) both appear as ham in modern names. These basic elements can also be found in place names in other countries; e.g. The Danelaw was the area of England that the Danish Vikings claimed by warfare from the Anglo-Saxons who had previously settled the area. Additionally, the Anglo-Saxons used tree names in conjunction with ‘ley’, which means wood or clearing. Old Norse Origin Place Names Home » Names. Place names in the United States are often taken from the European nation that first colonized the land. Carson City, for instance, was named for Kit Carson, and Belo Horizonte means "beautiful view". Life would have continued without too much drastic change, but new words would enter the embryonic English language and they would appear in the names of new settlements. The Author of this hub is well read in history, having studied history at University in England. Previously names relating to pagan religion were extensively studied as these were thought to be early. There are place names that advertise a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and Viking words for example Caws-ton (Kalf's town) or Grimton (Grim's town). Many place names are taken from the languages of native peoples. New Zealand place names derive mostly from Maori and from British sources. In Shropshire and Herefordshire many Welsh place names are found in the borderlands such as Pontrilas and Trefonen. Before the arrival of invaders and settlers across the sea, the Ancient Britons had already named many of the original settlements but they would give way to more modern sounding cities and towns. Many other types of place name can be defined, for example those relating to tribal or personal names. If so, why combine the two into a place name like Southampton or Northampton? For example, the river running through Rochdale became known as the 'Roch' through this process. Roman Terms: 50BC - 410 AD. Barking Barking was Berica ingas, which means Berica's people. The name of a place provides hints not only about who used to live there, but about how they made their living, who their leaders were and what gods they worshiped. Beverley in East Yorkshire was named due to the Beavers that once resided along the banks of the river. It gave its name … There are several arguments connected with these place names. Their idea was to explain the origin of Africans by tracing African languages back to a certain part of the world. The area that incorporates Yorkshire, East Anglia, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire show heavy Viking settlement in their place names, this is due to the existence of the Danelaw between the ninth and eleventh century. This is a list of place names in which the origin is Old Norse. The byname Becca means "pickaxe" in Old English. It does not claim to be exact; etymology is not an accurate science. 'farm', 'market', 'fort') or a prominent natural feature, or both; if only one of these is present, it is often modified by a personal name or an adjective. Roman occupation of England left a lasting reminder that can still be seen in place names. Another factor is that few large Viking settlements were on entirely new sites: many Viking settlements continued on the traditional Anglo-Saxon sites. In contrast, in the "New World" (roughly North America, South America, and Australasia), many place names' origins are known. There is a high level of personal names within the place names, presumably the names of local landowners at the time of naming. The vast majority of place names in Wales are Welsh by origin, containing elements such as Llan-, Aber-, Pen- etc. Connecticut 31, including Hartford, an archaic spelling of Hertford (the birthplace of one of Thomas Hooker’s assistants, the Rev. Man-made landscape features that have been given names include roads and trackways as well as burial mounds, etc. Words from nature whether mineral, water, plants, animals, or mixed forms. There is a high level of personal names within the place names, presumably the names of local landowners at the time of naming. Glad you found it interesting. This article lists a number of common generic forms in place names in the British Isles, … Many topographical words convey not just an image of the place but also a wealth of information about the likely size, status and pattern of farming practised by the community living there.. William The Conqueror army was only 33% Norman + 33% French + 33% Welsh speaking Bretons. Etymology 2 . Replacement of the parent language is one of the most dramatic processes of change. The Book Of London Place Names, an excellent guide by Caroline Taggart; Map of Anglo Saxon London (by Londonist) What's In A Name?, a predictably named etymology … Welsh place names tend to be associated with natural features rather than people, hence elements describing rivers, hills and valleys are common. Acton Acton comes from ac tun meaning oak farm or village. The exceptions are places with the prefix Llan, meaning 'Church', which often contain the name of the Saint the church is dedicated to e.g. Many names that have been transferred from Britain, as is the case with Barnstable, Massachusetts and Danbury, Connecticut. A good example of this is England's second city- Birmingham. In lowland Scotland, names are of more diverse origin. Eilert Ekwall carried out an early study of river names in England while Krahe conducted a European-wide examination of river names which showed that there were common roots in the names over a wide area. report. Examples include Oakley, Ashley, Thornley and Willey. Hamm tun meant hamlet by the water meadow. Place names in the United States tend to be more easily traceable to their origins, such as towns simply named after the founder or an important politician of the time, with no alterations except a simple suffix, like -town. Many places throughout Wales have alternative names in English unrelated to the name in Welsh, for example, Newport (where the Welsh name Casnewydd means "New Castle") and Swansea (derived from the Norse meaning "Svein's island") for the Welsh Abertawe (Mouth of the River Tawe. A great many names that appear to be Native American in origin were created by non-Natives with at best a rudimentary grasp of native languages.  (see List of counties in Michigan.) In the Anglo-Saxon language the word hamm meant water meadow. Many of the native British place names have been lost to us but the foreign tongue of the recent occupier often allude to the nature of the environment. In some cases the native meanings of a place name are wholly lost, despite guesses and theories, for example Tampa and Oregon. Many a ham and tun was also named for a person, such as Birmingham, the ham of Beorma’s people (Beormingas). Most place names derive from Norman-French. Since the 17th century a number of suggestions have been made that relate the name Ham to a Hebrew word for "burnt", "black" or "hot", to the Egyptian word ḥm for "servant" or the word ḥm for "majesty" or the Egyptian word kmt for "Egypt". Over two millennium of immigration from continental Europe has seen a marked impact on the geography of the English countryside, signposts point to the mix-mash of different settlers from afar. Many are Gaelic, but many are also from the Brythonic branch of Celtic languages (such as Ayr). These place names usually refer to where farms once existed, but they can also refer to where a secondary settlement once stood. There are also aboriginal place names. In The Danelaw, the prefix is often the name of theperson who held that settlement.