Our speaker at the March Meeting was Dr. Mike Jenkins, a retired medical doctor and amateur historian. He has been interested in the forms and diversity of place names for many years on encountering such Worcestershire villages as Upton Snodsbury, Wyre Piddle, Timberhonger Lane and The Vigo.
Dr Jenkins led us through how place names have developed over time, starting with the Celtic/pre-Roman names which we still use today. These occur mainly as features in the landscape, including Malvern, of course, which means “bare hill”. From there he showed us how Saxon/old English names evolved and then onto the Norman period. These later names often describe both the location – topographical or use – plus owner. Examples include endings such as -leigh or ley, meaning a clearing, and -berrow, meaning a long rounded hill.
It was a fascinating trip around the county and extended our knowledge of the origin of place names.