Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/163

This page needs to be proofread.


10 s. xii. AUG. u, 1909.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


131


be a matter of accident whether a town be named from the stream or the stream from the town. In this county (Wigtownshire) there are three streams of river dimensions to wit, the Cree, the Bladenoch, and the Luce, all ancient names which have been transferred to villages on their banks, viz., Oreetown, Bladenoch, Glenluce, and New Luce. Sometimes the river-name is empha- sized, as Newcas tie-up on-Tyne, Stratford-on- Avon, and Berwick-on- Tweed ; sometimes it stands alone as the name of a town, as in Annan and Girvan.

When COL. PRIDE AUX talks of " our simple ancestors " being content with generic names for streams, he ignores the wonder- fully minute picture of primitive Britain presented by the specific names conferred automatically by Celtic and Saxon settlers. Every rivulet in our moors has its separate title, either denoting peculiarities of cur- rent, soil, or colour, or commemorating men, animals, or vegetation distinguishing the environment. Font's maps of Scot- land, surveyed about 1590, and engraved in Blaeu's Atlas sixty years later, contain hundreds of such names, which continue in current use.

COL. PBIDEAUX mentions Plymouth and Plympton as names from rivers ; why does he omit Tavistock, Tiverton, Collumpton, Exeter, &c., in the same county ? Aberdeen, Inverness, Dublin, Arundel, Itchenstoke, Tynemouth town and village names taken from streams are almost innumerable.

HERBERT MAXWELL.

I beg leave to dissent from the argument -at the second reference. We are told that a settlement beside a bourne, which began with a single mill, would be called a mill at the bourne, and then a Milbourn. Such was not the Anglo-Saxon way of forming compounds. Our ancestors would have called such a mill by the name of Bourn-mill. It was the bourne itself that was at first distinguished from other streams by being called, specifically, the mill-bourne.

"A case in point is the village of Shal- bourne in Wiltshire." Just so ; for Shal- bourne means "shallow bourne," and the epithet " shallow " distinguished this stream from other streams, not from other villages. When people applied the name to the village, that also became Shalbourne ; and when they forgot the origin of the name of the stream, in consequence of its having been applied to the village, they made a new compound, and called it " Shalbourne water," i.e., " Shallow-stream-stream."


The word ford gives us a large number of place-names in the same way. Thus Shal- ford and Shelf ord mean (as Mr. Stevenson has proved) " shallow ford." It is not meant that the name of the ford was due to that of the village, but conversely.

WALTER W. SKEAT.

I would instance as a companion to the German Paderborn the Russian Kimburn or Kin burn, the fort in the Black Sea which was captured by the allied French and English troops in 1855. N. W. HILL.

New York.


" THE SARACEN'S HEAD," SNOW HILL (10 S. xii. 65). The carriers from Witney in Oxfordshire came to " The Saracen's Head " " without Newgate," and lodged there, no doubt bringing with them many a wagon- load of blankets, Witney duffels or pilot cloths, wagon and barge tiltings, gloves, malt, &c., since that town was famous from early times for the manufacture of those commodities. The old inn was the resting- place also for the carriers and wainmen from Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Bed- fordshire, and Gloucester city (Taylor's ' Carriers' Cosmographie '). In 1752 the Exeter fast coach left " The Saracen's Head " on Snow Hill every Monday " for the better conveyance of travellers " (Salis- bury Journal of that year).

"Next to this church" (i.e. St. Sepulchre's), says Stow, " is a fair and large inn for receipt of travellers, and hath to sign ' The Saracen's Head.' ' The hostelry appears to have served the purpose of an early local post- office, to judge from the following notice in The Daily Advertiser of 25 Sept., 1741 : General Post Office, London, Sept. 23, 1741.

Whereas the Post-Boy carrying the North and Peterborough Mails this Morning from London to Enfield, dropt the Peterborough Mail between this Office and that Place, which contain'd the following Bags, viz., Boston, Spalding, Peter- borough, Louth, and Horncastle ; the Post- Master-General thinks proper to give the Publick this Notice, that such Persons as may have sent Bills or Notes in any of the said Bags, may take such Measures as they think proper : And whoever shall find the said Mail and Bags entire, and bring them to this Office, shall have a Guinea Reward, to be paid by Joseph Plaisto, Pest- Master, at ' The Saracen's Head ' on Snow-Hill, by whose Servant's Negligence this Accident happen'd. By Order of the Post-Master-General. J. D. BARBUTT, Secretary.

From the courtyard of "The Saracen's Head" (of which there is a water-colour illustration in the Crace Collection, British Museum, portfolio xxvii. 81) the coach set out conveying Squeers with his un-