Sometimes we like to have a bit of fun with local place names, in between helping people with their research and all the other things we do. Once we made up the cast list for a melodrama (including Maisey Hampton, our heroine, Stanley Pontlarge her hard-up clergyman uncle, Acton Turville, a cad and a bounder, and Temple Guiting and Clifford Chambers, a pair of unscrupulous lawyers…) – although we never actually managed to write the melodrama itself.
Another time, we found ourselves explaining the pronunciation of various place names through the medium of limericks. It was back in the days before blogs and suchlike, and we never got round to sharing the results, but I’ve used several of them as reminders to myself on how to pronounce the places concerned, and I thought it would be nice to share them now – and to challenge all of you to write some of your own!
There was on old lady from Siston
Renowned for her champion bison
To determine its sex
Made her very perplexed
Said she, “this I must take some advice on”
There once was a young man called Berkeley
Whose name made him terribly narked, he
Said don’t call me berk
Else I’ll call you a jerk
And a jackass, he added, quite darkly
A gentleman living in Over
Fell madly in love with his hoover
But I’m sad to relate
Passion soon turned to hate
Now they’re living apart in Vancouver
There was a young fellow named Carr,
Who lived in the village of Awre,
He was shocked to the core
When he heard it called ‘Ore’,
And he fell to the floor of the bar.
A daffy young lady from Southrop
said after ringing her mother up.
‘They answered the phone but said she’s not known –
I must have rung someone other up!’
A young rambler walking the lanes
said ‘I always get lost when it rains.
As the sky is so grey,
Please tell me the way
from here to Somerford Keynes.’
Credit for these works of poetic genius goes to Kate Maisey, Averil Kear and James Turtle. Now – does anyone else fancy having a go? Do you know of a Gloucestershire place name that’s always being mispronounced? Now’s your chance to put it right!
Karen Davidson, Collections Management Archivist