Word of the day – toponymy
Toponymy is the study of the origins and meanings of place names (toponyms). It comes from the Greek τόπος (topos) – place, and oνομα (ōnoma) – name. It is a branch onomastics, the study of all kinds of names.
The other day I came across an interesting site containing information about the Welsh, Gaelic, Scandinavian and Scots roots of some British places names. Here are a few Scandinavian elements that appear in some British places names, especially in Orkney and Shetland, parts of mainland Scotland, the north west of England and parts of Wales. Do you know of can you guess their meanings?
Beck, fell, fors, garth, gill, holm, noup, ramna, scord and ting.
The place where I grew up, Silverdale, Lancashire in the north west of England, has a name of Scandinavian origin – the dale part comes from the Norse dalr (valley), but nobody is quite sure of the origin of the Silver part. One theory is that it was named after a Viking chief called something like Silr or Selr. Another theory is that the name comes from the large number of silver birch trees that grow in the area.