Tuesday, April 13, 2010


from Milly Molly Mandy, by Joyce Lankester Brisley

Checking the map recently, on the way to visit my father in Sussex, I got drawn - as always - into exploration of the map-minutiae: the multiplicity of little tors, copses and valleys; the generous spattering of "historic" symbols indicating earthworks, monuments and other ancient remnants; the water water everywhere, thin blue veins meandering up, down and around the contour lines.

And I take a particular delight, always, in some of the place-names.

The names below - towns and villages - all come from a section of Sussex in South East England. They are the kind of place names which I imagine appearing on a map like the one shown above, which comes from one of the books I loved as a child.

Some of the names we spotted in Sussex might be suggestive of a particular type of resident:



Crabbet Park

Plumpton Green

Muddles Green

Cackle Street




don't some of these conjure up delightful images?

Some of them are prosaic and - possibly - descriptive:

Small Field



some of them are simply picturesque:

Rose Hill



or its opposite:

Foul Mile


(what is term for the opposite of picturesque?)

while some of them hint tantalizingly at some past history:

Tarring Neville

Saint Hill


Toy’s Hill

Iron’s Bottom

And some of them appeal to me for no clearly definable reason:


Pease Pottage

Small Dole

In which of these places do you think you'd choose to live?


Wendy said...

M's grandparents are buried in Hellingly.

There's a road in the countryside near Winchelsea and Rye called Dumb Woman's Lane. I also love the descriptive names.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Love this post!!

I personally have been to some version of Hellingly, but not the one on your map, I'm afraid. And Underriver sounds a little boggy for my tastes. But it does go hand-in-hand with my favorite place name in the USA, Toad Suck Ferry, Arkansas. Now, it is more "in your face," as American things tend to be, really, but has its own humorous associations.

It was fun to see the map in your book from childhood, too. It's not a story with which I am familiar.

Lynne said...

I would like to live in Warbleton. I imagine lots of warbly birds singing away all the time.

Also Pease Pottage sounds rather nice.

You have to wonder how places are named. The only two odd-ish names within a mile of me are Burnt Meadow Road and Dead Man's Curve. Both pretty boring!

Dumdad said...

I don't know where I'd like to live but I know friends who live in Plumpton Green and in Flimwell.

Reya Mellicker said...

Definitely NEVER visit Tarring Neville. Yikes. Cackle Street - that sounds jolly.

I love maps of all kinds except I am not a fan of on-line maps.

Wonder where my fairy map of Iceland is? Folded up and gathering dust in some file folder somewhere I suppose.

ArtSparker said...

I like the list, I am fascinated by names generally and sometimes become envious of ones that seem more exotic than mine (of which there are many). Stephen King wrote a horror story called "Crouch End" I think, presumably because he could'nt resist.

Martin H. said...

Most definitely Muddles Green.

When we lived in Cornwall, Skinners Bottom, Scredda and Greensplat raised a smile, if not an eyebrow.

Betty said...

Another vote for Pease Pottage here. When I was a student in Durham, I loved some of the place names there - Pity Me, Brotherlee, Crook, Broom, Bearpark & looking at the map I can see Running Waters, Old Cassop & Quaking Houses. Wonderful!

Megan said...

Two pages ago in the book I'm reading, there was this sentence:

"We did and drove off down some more little roads until we came to a perfect little English village, whose name I have quite forgotten: Dorking Smedley? Inching Tweedle? Something like that..."


As tweens of the D&D era, my brother and I spent hours and hours and HOURS making maps of imaginary places. Did you ever do that? I'd put some of these names in mine if I made one today!

Baino said...

I love these quaint English names. I fancy Toy's Hill or Iron Bottom or Pease Pottage! They sound very Hardyesque . . just the place for Digory Venn the Reddleman! Here it would be Woolloomooloo or Coonabarabran!

Tom said...

quaint stuff, indeed...you can see where Tolkien got his inspiration for the Shire.

The Clever Pup said...

I love this. I am Map Mad! Warbleton appeals as a place to live. In my Toronto neighbourhood Sunnyside figures prominently - there used to be an amusement park of that name at the bottom of our road.

Pease Pottage sounds like a great place, but cold, or nine days old...

Akelamalu said...

Don't know about you but I'd like the address: Hope Cottage, Pease Pottage. :)

Everyday Goddess said...

Not Iron's Bottom, Hellingly, nor Limpsfield.

I do rather like Pease Pottage.

This was very fun! Nice to meet you!

lettuce said...

ha, lots of funny and great comments, thankyou!

Dumb Womans Lane. pffft!
Toad Suck Ferry, thats an eye-watering one

ArtSparker, there is a Crouch End, in North London I think.

Megan, whats the book? I so like Dorking Smedley and Inching Tweedle
(and wouldn't be surprised if they are real place names)

Baino, Toys Hill features in Pride and Prejudice - and we used to go there when I was little.

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