A Conversation for Pronouncing British Placenames

Dorset entries

Post 1

beaminsterboy

I live in Beaminster, mentioned on the original article. I suspect that the "Bemster" pronunciation is a bit misleading. William Barnes pronounced it that way and I once heard an inebriated farmer refer to it likewise, but you'll find the residents call it "Bemminster".

Other oddities in West Dorset include Chideock ("Chidduck") and Eype ("Eep") in addition to the previously cited Puncknowle ("Punnel").

Just across the border into Somerset, the jury is still out over Crewkerne (Shrewsbury Syndrome). Some have it as written (stress on the last syllable), while some pronounce it "Crook-un" (stress on the first syllable).


Dorset entries

Post 2

Itchy Ron

Hi Beaminsterboy, and welcome to h2g2 smiley - smiley

Many thanks for this. I had some friends who lived nearby, who called it 'Bemster', but they weren't Darzet-bred. I'm fairly sure about Leominster = 'Lemster', though.

I know Chideock, but I didn't know Eype - it sounds similar to Eyam.

I didn't know the Crewkerne 'crook-un' alternative, either. smiley - ok

Hope to see you around the site!

smiley - cheers Icy


Dorset entries

Post 3

beaminsterboy

I agree about Leominster. At least that was what I was brought up to believe.

Another local name which no agreed pronunciation is Lewesdon Hill. Is it "Loos-den" or "Lewiz-den"? Anybody got an opinion??


Dorset entries

Post 4

Itchy Ron

I can't help you with that one. My reference tells me that its also a topographical poem by William Crowe, but it doesn't say how to pronounce it.


Dorset entries

Post 5

gladtobegrey

Not forgetting 'Iwerne Minster', prounounced 'Yew-earn' or 'Ewe-earn'. Probably means the 'yew tree stream', though I have also been told it's Old Saxon for 'the gravelly stream'. Gave the Estate Agents the opportunity to be very sniffy about the ignorant incomer when we first moved to Dorset ...


Dorset entries

Post 6

Itchy Ron

Hi gladtobegrey smiley - smiley

Thanks for mentioning Iwerne. I just looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Place Names:

***
Iwerne Courtney or Shroton, Iwerne Minster Dorset.

Ywern 877, Werne, Evneministre 1086 (DB), Iwerne Courteney alias Shyrevton 1403.

Named from the River Iwerne, a Celtic river-name possibly meaning ‘yew river’ or referring to a goddess. Distinguishing affixes from the Courtenay family, here in the 13th cent., and from OE mynster ‘church of a monastery’ in allusion to early possession by Shaftesbury Abbey. Shroton means ‘sheriff's estate’, OE scr-rfa + tn.
***

So, 'yew tree stream' sounds about right. smiley - smiley I didn't know estate agents were such scholars of old Saxon - anything if it hikes up the asking price, I suppose. smiley - erm

smiley - cheers Icy


Dorset entries

Post 7

tayrick

I grew up in the village adjoining Crewkerne, and locally it was always pronounced CROOK-urn (not CROOK-un - we always pronounce our R's in Somerset). It seems only people wishing to sound posh, or who don't know the area, say crew-KERNE. And I've never heard Beaminster pronounced Bemster.


Dorset entries

Post 8

tayrick

On my many bike rides from Misterton to Pilsdon and Lewesdon, the latter was always Looz-don so far as I was concerned.


Dorset entries

Post 9

Itchy Ron

Hi Tayrick, and welcome to h2g2 smiley - smiley

How would you pronunce 'Beaminster'?

I've had a few disagreements now, so I'll try to tidy them up and update the entry over the next few weeks.


Dorset entries

Post 10

arghans

I have always heard 'Beminster', too. As you're from Dorset, how do Swyre and Long/Little Bredy go? I have always thought 'Sweer' and Bredy to rhyme with 'ready' - but am I correct?


Dorset entries

Post 11

Itchy Ron

Thanks for that smiley - smiley I'd better get around to getting it changed, in that case smiley - smiley


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