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
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