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A selection of unusual Somerset place names and their history

Thu 24 June 2021

With an office in every corner of the West Country, Stags has 145 years of experience across the region, from rural retreats to bustling towns, coastal villages to country estates. Here’s a few of the unusual place names we have come across in Somerset and their presumed origins.
 

Catsgore

A rural parish in the scenic southern limits of Somerton. The name Catsgore is thought to derive from the Old English catt and gara meaning ‘point of land frequented by wild-cats’ - although nowadays it is only frequented by the domestic kind!


 

Blue Anchor

Blue Anchor is a quintessential seaside village boasting a sweeping sand and shingle beach called Blue Anchor Bay, which is home to a variety of fossils within the Triassic cliffs. There are many speculations for the reason behind the name, mainly being that when boats moored in the bay and pulled up their anchors they were always covered in a blue-grey mud from the lias cliffs.
 

Nempnett Thrubwell

Nempnett Thrubwell is a tiny village in the idyllic countryside north of Blagdon Lake. The curious name Nempnett Thrubwell is thought to be a combination of the Celtic words nemett meaning grove, and the Old English wiell, meaning well, thus meaning ‘the grove by the well’. However, Nempnett Thrubwell is probably more recognised from songs by The Wurzels, than for any groves!
 

Huish Champflower

Huish Champflower is a small village nestled in unspoilt countryside. The name is thought to come from hiwisc, Old English for ‘homestead’. The suffix is assumed to mark its past ownership by the family of Thomas de Champflower, who was Lord of the Manor in 1166.

 

Temple Cloud

Temple Cloud is a quiet, unassuming village with a mysterious history. The first word, ‘Temple’ is thought to take its name from the shadowy Knights Templar who held the manors of Cameley and Cloud in the 12th century. ‘Cloud’ is thought to come from either the personal name, ‘Cloda’ or the Old English clud meaning rocky outcrop.



Cheddar

Cheddar is a large village in northern Somerset, situated at the mouth of the towering limestone gorge it is famed globally for. Despite also having a reputation for its locally made cheese, ‘Cheddar’ is actually thought to derive from the Old English cēodor meaning ‘ravine’ due to its dramatic surroundings. Therefore ‘Cheddar Gorge’ actually means ‘ravine ravine’!




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