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Lake District Place Names


About this book:

The spoken tongue evolves and changes over the years and centuries; in fact many of the everyday words we use today in 2013 have changed from those we used even so recently as the twentieth century.
However, change cannot obviously apply to place names and proper nouns as much. This allows the researcher of word derivation a more direct and unchanged path to follow.
Robert Gambles has produced a work of considerable scholarship which can only have been completed by spending long dedicated hours in research and study. Thankfully he has arranged the place names in alphabetical order for quick and easy reference.
So, if you've ever wondered how on earth romantic-sounding names such as: Blencathra, Glenderamackin, Helvellyn or Dollywaggon came into being, then you will enjoy a wander through this fascinating lexicon.
Apart from our own curiosity as locals, a knowledge of mountain and town names makes us seem less ignorant when visitors ask us why a mountain or town has such a strange, outlandish name. The arrival of so many different invaders, often by sea, to our region was crucial in the development of our place names and local speech. Robert has carefully noted these contributors; be they Norse, Danish, French, Celtic, Old English, Middle English or Cumbrian dialect words.
This is a useful reference book which is also an enjoyable read.
(Keswick Reminder).

A welcome reprint of a 1980 book, updated with insights from more recent scholarship, which has often been consulted in my household to settle disputes on the origins of local place names. It has to be said we do have some unusual ones in Cumbria- all those ‘thwaites’, ‘birks’ and ‘gills’ deriving form Old English and Viking roots, as well as the resonant Cymric names like Blencathra and Helvellyn, and Gambles offers authoritative insights into them all. And then there’s Torpenhow: either ‘hill, hill, hill’ or Thorfinn’s how or mound, but always pronounced Trepanna. (Cumbria Life)

A book which has been very successful in Lakeland and beyond. (Westmorland Gazette).

...combines scholarly research with popular presentation... and will answer many questions and settle many an argument, and enrich the Lakeland experience. (Keswick Reminder)

...rooted in serious research, it succeeds in maintaining its level of intelligent explanation ...carefully compiled and purposefully presented, it will furnish answers to the inquisitive, please browsers, and provide many a surprise for the uninitiated. (Conserving Lakeland)

The Author:
ROBERT Gambles was born and grew up in Derbyshire. He was a scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, where he took an Honours degree in Modern History and a post-graduate Diploma in Education. He also has a Licentiate Diploma in Music. His professional career was spent in Education, mainly in Cambridge and Liverpool.
He acquired a love of the Lake District early in life and he has lived in Cumbria in his years of retirement during which he has explored the whole district and written a number of books and many articles on various aspects of its history.
These have included Man in Lakeland: 4,000 Years of Human Settlement; Out of the Forest: The Natural World and the Place-names of Cumbria; Walks around Windermere; The Place-names of the Yorkshire Dales; The Spa Resorts and Mineral Springs of Cumbria; Walks on the Borders of Lakeland; The Story of the Lakeland Dales; Echoes of Old Lakeland; and Escape to the Lakes: The First Tourists which won awards at the 2012 Lake District Book of the Year event. He has also pursued his interest in a wider national history and a critical study of some of the well-known stories from British history will be published soon. Through his Norwegian wife he acquired a special interest in the life and history of Norway.
A keen but pragmatic interest in conservation and the protection of the natural environment has always featured in his philosophy of life and he was for many years a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Lake District.


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