Herdwick sheep on a wall copyright John Morrison

Cumbrian words and placenames

The Lake District has had a rich past. You can sometimes tell where Norse people lived because of local place names. Names ending in –by such as Ireby mean village. Those ending in –thwaite, like Satterthwaite, mean clearing.

Dialect words

  • blea - blue, especially water
  • inbye - fields nearer the farms
  • intake - higher fields by open fell
  • gimmer - female lamb
  • tup - ram
  • brossen - eaten fit to burst
  • laik - to play
  • as garn yam - I am going home
  • gurning - pulling a face
  • thrang - busy
  • lish - nimble or sprightly
  • cowpt ower - fallen over, collapsed
  • lig about - lay around

Place names

  • beck - stream
  • brant - steep
  • dale - valley
  • fell - hill or mountain
  • force - waterfall
  • gill - ravine
  • how - rounded hill
  • knott - rocky hill
  • mere - lake
  • thwaite - a clearing in the woods
  • tarn - small mountain lake

Explanation of placenames

  • Ambleside - a-melt-saetr - pastures by the river
  • Coniston - Konungr-tun - king's town or land
  • Elterwater - eltr vatn - swan lake
  • Hawkshead - Haukr saetr - hawk's pasture

Interesting placenames

Pantomime placenames

  • Baron's Hill
  • Bessyboot
  • Cinderdale Beck
  • Dollywaggon Pike
  • Rascal How
  • Revelin Crag
  • Slapstones
  • Thack Bottom

Food placenames

  • Candy Slack
  • Pudding Beck
  • Butter Crags
  • Oatmeal Crag
  • Peelplace Noddle

Spooky placenames

  • Boo Tarn near Coniston
  • Fangs Brow near Loweswater
  • Gobling Beck
  • Hare Raise
  • Hell Gill near Crinkle Crags
  • Ravenglass on the west coat
  • Wolf Crags above Ullswater

Romantic placenames

  • Darling Fell
  • Dovenest Crag
  • Hartsop
  • Lily Tarn
  • Rose Castle

More weird and wonderful placenames

  • Brackenwife Knotts
  • Captain Whelter Bog
  • Cloven Stone
  • Cummacatta Wood
  • Dobbinwood Lodge
  • Elf Howe
  • Emerald Bank
  • Evattsike
  • Fairy Crag
  • Fewling Stones
  • Flosh Gate
  • Freeze Beck
  • Gambling Well
  • Gawk Cove
  • Heel Toe Hill
  • High Snockrigg
  • Inking Knott
  • Mislet Scroggs
  • Muckleground
  • Ralfland Forest
  • Shudderstone Howe
  • Sippling Crag
  • Snowdrift Slack
  • Stone Arthur
  • Thrang Crag
  • Throstle Shaw

Useful links

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Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

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