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Ordnance Survey site on UK place names
Posted: 15 March 2007 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here. An extensive site and worth a browse.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Speaking of UK place names, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask.  The term “Regis” crops up occasionally in British place names.  I recall “Bognor Regis” and “Chuffnell Regis” in the works of P.G. Wodehouse, which are possibly fictional, but I’ve seen it in real names too. [Edit: Bognor Regis is apparently real, assuming the site Eliza pointed out isn’t overrun with Wodehouse-loving pranksters.] What does it signify?  Presumably something to do with the king, but I’m not clear on what, exactly.

[ Edited: 15 March 2007 02:46 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 15 March 2007 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Apparently it means that the town was part of the sovereign’s estate.
See this Southampton University site on Lyme Regis:

In the reign of Edward I the manor came to the crown and, as the King’s demesne (manorial estate), the “Regis” was added and the town assumed its present name Woodward, 1889.

There aren’t any Regis towns in the north of England, come to think of it.  Maybe we weren’t worth annexing.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Bognor Regis is somewhat different. According to this local history site, confirmed by this JSTOR page, or at least the snippet I can see on Google results), George V convalesced at Craigwell House in the town in 1929 and the council applied for permission to add Regis to its name, which was granted.

Of course, George V is also rumoured to have replied with his dying breath, when told he would soon be well enough to go to Bognor again, “Bugger Bognor!”

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Posted: 15 March 2007 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks to you both.  Am I correct in supposing it is pronounced to rhyme with “aegis” (i.e., long e, soft g, hard s, accent on first syllable)?

BTW, my “which are possibly fictional,” above, was meant to refer to the places, not to “the works of P.G. Wodehouse”.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I suppose I could have asked, “Is it pronounced the same in British place-names as in ‘Regis Philbin’?”, but I wasn’t sure aldi and Eliza would know who he was and how he pronounced his name.  Although aldi sometimes seems better-acquained with American TV than I am.

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Posted: 15 March 2007 11:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Here’s a wiki list of Regis towns.  It seems, as I said, that the title “Regis” was originally conferred because the town was part of the sovereign’s estate.  More recently it may, for one reason or another, have been given because of royal patronage, as aldi said. 

Just another small slight we northerners bear lightly.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Other parts of the royal demesne flag the fact up in English, e.g. King’s Langley in Hertfordshire, which was so called to distinguish it from Abbot’s Langley in the same county, which belonged to the diocese of St Albans.

Other Latin genitive descriptors exist: Zeal Monachorum in Dorset belonged to the monks of Buckfast Abbey (BTW, if you go to Dorset, Monachorum is stressed on the second syllable, not where you’d expect). Also in Dorset, Toller Fratrum was the property of the brothers of Forde Abbey, as opposed to Toller Porcorum which apparently was well-known for its pigs.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I often wondered about “Regis” too. Thanks to all concerned.

A propos “monachorum”

Buckfast Abbey has its niche in my Hall of Fame because of its apiary. Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey was a world-famous scientific bee-keeper. The Abbey’s specialty was (is?) heather honey, which is so viscous that it is not easily extracted from the combs, and is usually marketed still in the comb. What particularly endeared the monks to me was the fact that they revived the dead, or near-dead, art of brewing alcoholic beverages (mead, metheglin) from honey, thus giving the lie to that infamous riddle:

Q. What fun does a monk have?

A. None.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The earliest form of Bognor (Regis) was Bucganora, which the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names says meant ‘shore of a woman called Bucge.’

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Jim Gorman asked:

Is Dave still running that site?

The site was You Bet Their Life and, no, I don’t run it anymore. (But I still play. Dismally; zero points so far this year.)

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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languagehat - 16 March 2007 06:10 AM

The earliest form of Bognor (Regis) was Bucganora, which the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names says meant ‘shore of a woman called Bucge.’

Interesting. Now what does “shore of a woman” mean?

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Posted: 16 March 2007 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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She owned beachfront property, I’m guessing.

Last time I was in Britain I saw some “tonic wine” from Buckfast Abbey.  It was caffeinated!  I brought a bottle to a party, mostly for the novelty value; it wasn’t very tasty.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Apparently 90% of the Buckfast monks’ production is sold in Scotland, where it is known as Buckie (and other epithets such as Wreck the Hoose Juice). For some unknown reason it is the drink of choice of thousands of Scottish alcoholics; so much so that the Scottish Health Minister recently exhorted the monks to stop making it - as though the Scots wouldn’t just go and find something else to get blootered on if they did.

Blootered and bewildered

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Posted: 16 March 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think it was in Scotland that I purchased it, as it happens.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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From SL’s article:
Some Scottish words for plastered:

without getting miroculous, stotious, wellied

Result of not writing for an international audience:

Alcohol-related deaths in Scotland have risen by a fifth in the last seven years

a rather unfortunate pun to USans.

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