We probably all have our favourite Cornish place names, but I think the number one place name, is one we can all agree on. Before we get to that one though let’s have a look at some of the other peculiar place names in Cornwall.
Let’s start with Pennycomequick. As bizarre as this name is there’s two of them. Pennys running all over the place. One is across the water in Plymouth and the other is near Falmouth. I like the idea of some poor girl running back and forth between the two. She could have done with a speedboat.
Other great place names that appear to be instructions are;
Come-to-Good, Stepaside, Pityme, Washaway or Stoptide. And we all know that last one will never work.
Then we have the issue of how to pronounce them. Given the Cornwall used to have its own distinct language, similar to Welsh, lots of place names have some weird and wonderful spellings as well as pronunciations. Just look at
Fowey. That’s Fowey as in Boy not Bowie or Bowie. Whichever way you pronounce David Bowie’s surname, neither should rhyme with Fowey.
And how would you pronounce Doublebois, Praze-an-Beeble, Cow-y-Jack or Polkanoggo? Or how about Lellizzick, we have more than our fair share of Zs down here Lizard, Halzephron, Zennor. And there might not be any Zs in Mousehole but you’d better be using them when you pronounce it!
Some names are great, like Brill or concerning like Greensplatt or Botusfleming, charming places. Nothing like a head cold. Some make us laugh or groan like, Notter Bridge. Every single time we drive past the turning for Notter Bridge I have to listen to Steve joke, “Well, what is it then?” Every single time. Other’s make you wonder if you should be there, like No Man’s Land or feel like you never want to leave, such as Golden which is every bit as lovely as it sounds.
Some places make you feel like you aren’t even in Cornwall, it can be a bit disconcerting driving past signs for Barcelona or Bethlehem, Mexico Towans or even Mount Ararat.
And talking of mountains we come to our very silliest place name in Cornwall, Brown Willy.
The most gloriously snigger worthy name. There was a campaign to rename Cornwall’s highest point with a Cornish name. The proposal gained no ground. Looks like we all prefer a bit of a giggle, here’s a few more silly names.
Bottom, Cheesering, Flushing, Green Bottom, Jolly’s Bottom, Looe, and Shag Rock.
Liz Hurley as well as being the owner of this blog, runs a bookshop in Cornwall, right by the sea and writes books. You can buy them in her shop (of course), Waterstones and other outlets as well as Amazon.
When she’s not reading, she’s writing and when she’s not writing, she’s walking. And when she’s not doing any of that she’s binging on box sets and sleeping.