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Place Names in the Cotswolds

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ARTICLES BY RALPH GREEN FORMER ASSISTANT AT THE VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE STOW-ON-THE-WOLD

Morris Dancers

Stow on the Wold

Deserted Cotswold Villages

Cotswold Place Names

The Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold 1646

Tracks and Roads across the Cotswolds

The Cotswold Lion

An Early Cotswold Visit

The History of Bourton-on-the-Water

Cotswold Roofs

Cotswold Dry Stone Walls

Cotswold Ridge and Furrows

The Rollright Stones

The Gypsy Horse Fair at Stow-on-the-Wold

The Cotswolds - In the Beginning


Ralph Green

Ralph Green lives in Bourton-on-the-Water and used to work for many years at the Stow-on-the-Wold Visitor Information Centre.

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Cotswold Place Names

Most of the place names in the Cotswolds are Anglo-Saxon in origin dating from the 8th century onwards. The place name nearly always carries an element of a personal name as a prefix taken from the Saxon landowner or the farmer who worked the land. Part of the name may end in ‘ley’ meaning woodland clearing or ‘ton’ meaning farmstead or settlement. Oddington for example, where my wife comes from, means Otta’s farmstead. Otta was possibly a Saxon headman of the settlement; his name is mentioned in 811 AD in a Saxon manuscript.

During Norman times, in the 13th and 14th century, additions were included in place names. It became fashionable, if that is the right word, to include a family name of Norman origin into the place name.

Royal connections were also reflected as additions to old place names, as were ecclesiastical connections. Topography of the area and features in the landscape became quite common additions to place names.

All these changes to the basic Anglo-Saxon place name are common throughout England. It is just an accident of history that the Cotswolds have a concentration of landscape features included in their place names. Perhaps, even in those far off days, they could see the beauty in our part of England. 

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Place Names in the Cotswolds

This page last modified Wednesday, 25-May-2016 15:32:50 BST