Keith Briggs

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Shit- place-names in England

Please excuse this disgusting webpage. I had to create it to persuade people that these names really exist.

There are three categories here: Shit- names which don't mean what they sound like they mean; Shit- names which do mean what they sound like they mean; and names with other words meaning `dung, muck, filth'.

Names which don't mean what they sound like they mean

  • Shitlington in Yorkshire, south of Dewsbury (SE 265 175). Until about 1900, there was Upper, Middle and Nether Shitlington. Now there is only Overton, Middlestown and Netherton. The map shows part of the area in about 1855. According to A. H. Smith's The place-names of the West Riding of Yorkshire, part II, page 206, the name means `Scyt(t)els farmstead', with an unrecorded personal name that also occurs in Shillington (Beds.) and Shitlington (Northumberland, see below). According to CODEPN, the name is derived from an OE tribal name Scytlingas, of uncertain origin (perhaps `The archers'?).
    Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey
  • Shitlington in Northumberland, west of Bellingham (NY 380 582), which still exists. According to Mawer's The place-names of Northumberland and Durham (page 178), this the `farm of Scyttel and his sons'. Mawer points out that Chesters had an earlier name Scytlescester, possibly referring to the same man.
    Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey
  • Shittlehope NZ 004 384 (near Stanhope); Shittleheugh NY 865 949 (near Otterburn). According to Mawer's The place-names of Northumberland and Durham (page 178), they both might contain the word "shuttle". Shittlehope was recorded as Shuttilhopfeld in 1382. Note that there are several places called Shuttleworth, and Littleworth (in Rossington) was Scitelsuuorde in DB. These names mostly likely refer to an enclosure with a bolted gate, and contain OE scyttels `bar, bolt'.

Names which do mean what they sound like they mean

  • Shitterton near Bere Regis, Dorset (SY 840 949). According to ERN, the name is probably derived from a river called Shiter `... a brook used as a privy'. ERN mentions other streams called Shitebrok and Shitebroke in the 14th and 15th centuries.

    Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey
    Here are the 25,000 and 50,000 Ordnance Survey maps as there were at 2006 Aug 23. On the latter, the place is called Sitterton (this is an error - see email from OS below).

    Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
  • The River Shooter, Lancashire - called Schiter in the 14th century, from OE scitere 'a brook used as a privy' (ERN s.n. Shooter).
  • Shatterford, Staffordshire (SO 7981) - was Shitterford in 1673 (Horovitz) , also from OE scitere
  • Shuttershaw, Staffordshire (SJ 9257) - was Shittershaw in 1815 (Horovitz), also from OE scitere
  • Shutwell, Warwickshire. OE `dung well' (Elements s.n. scite).
  • Skitham, Lancashire, and Skitwath, Cumberland. (ON: Elements s.n. skitr).
  • Skidbrook, Lincolnshire - a Norse version of Shitebrok (ERN s.n. Shiter, Elements s.n. scite).

Names with other words

  • Slough: OE slóh `mud, mire'.
  • Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire: OE `dung stream', and other names with the same first element such as Sharnal ('well'), Sharnford, Sharrington, Shernborne, Shernden, Shorncote.
  • Scarndale, Scarah (ON: Elements s.n. skarn).
  • Quidhamptom, Hampshire: OE cwead `dung' (CODEPN, PNH).
  • Maxted, Kent: OE mix `muck' (Elements).
  • Terwick, Terrible Down: OE tord `turd' (Elements).
  • Dirtham, Droitwich, Durton?: OE drit `dirt' (Elements).
  • Horton: OE horu `filth' (Elements).

Email from OS 2006 September 21 re Sitterton

From: Customer Services
Sent: 21 September 2006 11:59
To: Briggs,KM,Keith
Subject: RE: query re Sitterton - SAP 58726

Dear Mr Briggs

Thank you for your e-mail dated 23 August 2006 regarding the incorrect spelling
of a placename on our mapping.

I am pleased to inform you that the Local Authority has confirmed the spelling
as Shitterton, and future editions of our mapping have been amended to reflect
this.

Kind regards
Customer Services
Ordnance Survey

References

  • CODEPN: E. Ekwall, Concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names
  • ERN: E. Ekwall, English river-names
  • Elements: A. H. Smith, English place-name elements
  • PNH: R. Coates, The place-names of Hampshire
  • D. Horovitz, The place-names of Staffordshire, 2005
This website uses no cookies. This page was last modified 2013-05-12 10:17 by Keith Briggs.