We all know Sunderland’s the place to be - but how many of you know these peculiar place names on Wearside?
There’s Cut Throat Dene, the village of Success near Shiney Row and Worm Hill at Fatfield. There’s The Clouds at Houghton-le-Spring, Roker Rocks, Howly Hill, Pacific Hall, Nab End, Maud’s Hole and of course Maiden Paps.
These, and hundreds more, feature on a new map of the North East which is dedicated to the rude and peculiar place names in the region.
Tangled Worm, a Durham-based publisher of poster prints, has launched the new map which has been compiled by historian David Simpson.
It covers the region from north Northumberland to the northern fringe of North Yorkshire with a fair share of lively names along the coast from South Shields around Sunderland and down to Hartlepool.
Alongside well-known names like Pity Me (there are three) are hundreds of surprising names many people will not know.
I’ve always been fascinated by place-names and their origins but it’s the rude and peculiar names that catch your attentionDavid Simpson
Condundrum, Tiptoe, Boca Chica, Clinch, Frolic, Whamlands, Peepy, Delight and Old Man’s Bottom are Northumberland examples while County Durham’s contribution includes Nickynack Bridge, Slit Foot, No Place, Towdy Pots, Great Burst, Dead Friars and Penny Pie. North Yorkshire gives us Crackpot, Grimy Gutter Hags, Barf House, Booze and Kisdon Bottom.
Tangled Worm owner David said: “I’ve always been fascinated by place-names and their origins but it’s the rude and peculiar names that catch your attention”.
Surprisingly, several peculiar names crop up more than once, so as well as three Pity Mes, we find eight Unthanks, three Seldom Seens, four Twizells (a fork in a stream) and four occurrences of Make-me-rich.
The map is divided into three types of colour-coded names with topographical features depicted in green, hamlets and farms in red and familiar villages, towns and suburbs in black.
There’s also an international air to several places: New York, Havannah, Greenland, Gibraltar, Moscow, Nova Scotia, Canada, Philadelphia, Quebec and California as well as names recalling distant battles like Vigo, Inkerman, Spion Kop, Waterloo and Camperdown.
“There are one thousand and thirty-seven places on the map in total”, said David, “It’s hard to pick a favourite but some are surprisingly rude and you can’t always tell if it’s intentional.”
David’s interest in names goes beyond curious place-names. Tangled Worm creations include a map of Border Reiver surnames like Armstrong, Robson and Charlton and a print featuring 150 ‘Batty Book’ pun book titles that play on imaginary author names.
“We do prints featuring local landmarks, history and a map featuring the story of the region’s worm legends including the Lambton Worm” says David which may explain the inspiration behind the peculiar name for his business.
Curious Place-Names of North East England and other poster print maps are now available in A3 format at £10.95 or in larger A2 format at £15.95 from tangledworm.com