Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Newcastle’s Suburbs, Pt.1

It doesn’t take a genius to work out how Newcastle-upon-Tyne got its name. But what about its many suburbs? These were all originally settlements in their own right but have long-since been swallowed up by the sprawling city.

Benton/Longbenton – Old English (OE) beonet- or bean-tun, hence ‘course/bent grass farm’ or ‘bean-farm’ (we’re not sure which). In time, two settlements grew – ‘Long-’ and ‘Little-’;

Benwell – OE bionnan walle, meaning ‘place inside the (Roman) wall’. Not a well in sight;

Blakelaw – Old Norse = ‘black hill’;

Byker – Again, probably Old Norse by-kiarr, which means ‘the village marsh’;

Denton – From the OE den-tun, which translates as ‘valley farmstead’;

Elswick – OE ‘Aelfsige’s (diary) farm’;

Fawdon – Again OE, from fag-dun, meaning ‘multicoloured hill’;

Fenham – A slightly tricky one. Certainly OE, but could mean ‘place at the fens’ or ‘(water-) meadow by the fen’;

Gosforth – OE meaning, literally, ‘goose-ford’, i.e. the ford where there are geese;

Heaton – OE for ‘high farm/settlement’;

Jesmond – An interesting one, this. Seems to mean ‘Ouse mouth’ – the Ouse being the river that runs through the area and whose confluence with the Tyne is a little to the south. Both elements (‘Ouse’ and ‘mouth’) have been corrupted to ‘Jes’ and ‘mond’ under French/Norman influence. Or so the academics tell us.

Part 2 next week…

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