I’ve always been fascinated by place names. Annoyingly, I’m not very good at remembering the information.
When I lived in North Yorkshire, there were many pairs of places that did not quite join up with each other. I lived in one village, Asenby, that was very close to its neighbour, Topcliffe. That is a slightly unusual case, because even if the two villages had expanded to meet each other, they would still have been kept apart by the river Swale. Apparently, when the Vikings arrived, they set up their settlements near to existing places, but they kept them slightly apart. The Viking settlements all ended in “by”. The area is littered with examples:
- Thirsk and Sowerby
- Nothallerton and Romanby
- Knayton and Borrowby
And there are many more.
But without this post on English place names to remind me, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which of the pair is Viking.
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