FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR
Anthony Poulton-Smith

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NORTH DEVON PLACE NAMES

Ever wondered why our towns and villages are so named? Were they a deliberate creation by our ancestors or did they evolve naturally over time? Which place names tell us they were 'created by special charter'? Which river was recorded as Iska by Ptolemy in AD150? Which public house name has links with the legend of Zorro? Who lives at 'the robbers' clearing'? And where did buccaneers hunt and barbecue wild oxen?
In these pages we examine the origins of the names with which we are otherwise so familiar. Towns, villages, districts, hills, streams, woods, farms, fields, streets and even pubs are examined and explained. Some of the definitions give a glimpse of life in the earlier days of the settlement, and for the author there is nothing more satisfying than finding a name which gives such a snapshot. The definitions are supported by anecdotal evidence, bringing to life the individuals and events which have influenced the places and the way these names have developed.
This is not just a dictionary but a history and will prove invaluable not only for those who live and work in the county but also visitors and tourists, historians and former inhabitants, indeed anyone with an interest in North Devon.