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Hoo, Howe, Ware, Wye and Wem: An Excerpt

Tour 17: Body Parts

As if we’ve not found enough odd things already scattered all around the country, we can even find parts of the body in some places.

There’s a Tongue in Sutherland, a Tongue End near Spalding in Lincolnshire and Spital Tongues in Newcastle upon Tyne.

‘Yuk,’ says Sophie, ‘that’s disgusting!’

Such sensitivity is touching.

We find Jaw Hill near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Mouth Mill near Bideford in Devon.

‘I like Mouth Mill,’ says Jason. ‘It reminds me of the lady in the post office.’

Ouch. Give the lad a saucer of milk.

Then we have Eype’s Mouth near Bridport, Dorset, and Eye near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, and also in Herefordshire and Suffolk.

There is a Hand and Pen near Exeter in Devon.

‘Do you suppose it does any writing?’ quips Sophie.

By now I wouldn’t be surprised at anything.

We find Hand Green near Tarporley, Cheshire, Foots Cray near Sidcup in south-east London, Brain’s Green near Blakeney, Gloucestershire, and Braintree in Essex.

It’s hard to imagine brains growing on a tree, but then the way medical science is going – why not?

Even a few ailments feature, with Long Sight near Oldham, Lancashire, and Longsight in Manchester.

‘No Short Sight, then?’ says Sophie.

Then there’s Deaf Hill near Trimdon Station, County Durham, Mumps near Oldham, Lancashire, and Pains Hill near Limpsfield in Surrey. But there is also a Pill near Bristol and another near Milford Haven in west Wales.

We also discover some clothes and other accessories. The Shoe near Chippenham, Wiltshire.

‘So that’s where the old lady came from,’ retorted Sophie.

I’m surprised she can still remember her nursery rhymes.

There’s Boot near Holmrook, Cumbria, Boot Street near Ipswich in Suffolk, Boots Green near Knutsford, Cheshire, and, of course, Wellington in Somerset.

‘That must have been named after the duke,’ said Jason. ‘Or maybe the other way round. Did you know he was prime minister for a while?’

Your history is better than mine, mon ami.

Then we have Sole Street, two in Kent, one near Gravesend, the other near Canterbury, Stocking near Hereford, Coat near Martock in Somerset, Wig near Newtown, mid Wales, Combs in Derbyshire, Suffolk and West Yorkshire, and even a Matching Tye near Harlow in Essex.

There’s a Pillows Green near Staunton in Gloucestershire, a Sheet near Petersfield, Hampshire, and another near Ludlow in Shropshire, Sleepers Hill in Winchester, Hampshire, and Kip Hill in Stanley, County Durham. No doubt this will lead to Great Snoring and Little Snoring near Fakenham in Norfolk.

‘I don’t fancy living there,’ said Sophie. ‘Where did they get the name from?’

Dunno, girl.

And would any human story be complete without its tale of conflict? Well, we start with March in Cambridgeshire and near Biggar, Lanarkshire, to Barrack Hill near Newport, south Wales, and into Battle in East Sussex and another near Brecon, south Wales, Battlefield near Shrewsbury in Shropshire and near Glasgow, and Upper Battlefield also near Shrewsbury.

We find plenty of artillery at Cannon’s Green near Ongar, Essex, Gun Green near Hawkhurst in Kent, Gun Hill near Heathfield, East Sussex, Guns Village near West Bromwich in the West Midlands, Rifle Green near Pontypool, south Wales, Shoot Hill near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Shooters Hill in south-east London.

‘I think I’d be a conscientious objector if there was a war,’ announced Jason seriously.

There is Knight’s Hill in south London and he seems to have come to grief at Knight’s End near March in Cambridgeshire. We have Marshalls Heath near Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, Major’s Green near Solihull, West Midlands, Captain Fold near Heywood, Lancashire, and Guard House near Keighley in West Yorkshire.

‘How many people can you get in a place called Guard House?’ asks Jason.

I wonder if this is a trick question of the two-in-the-front, two-in-the-back variety.

All of this leads to Slaughter Hill near Crewe in Cheshire, Slaughterbridge near Camelford, Cornwall, Coffinswell near Torquay in Devon, Gravesend in Kent and near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, and Maidensgrave near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

But all is not lost, for new life begins at Bourne near Bristol and also in Lincolnshire, and there’s Phoenix Row near Bishop Auckland in County Durham.

There are many regal-sounding places. Here is just a small selection of those we found. Royal’s Green near Whitchurch in Shropshire, King Street near Ongar, Essex, and King Edward near Banff.

‘I’ve heard that King Edward put himself about a bit,’ said Jason.

I don’t think I wish to ask which King Edward.

Then there’s all sorts of queens including Queen Adelaide near Ely in Cambridgeshire, Queen Street near Tonbridge, Kent, and Queenzieburn – oh yes! – near Glasgow. And there’s Prince Royd near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and Prince’s Marsh near Petersfield, Hampshire.

Amongst other nobility we have Dukestown near Ebbw Vale, south Wales.

‘I wonder which duke that was,’ says Sophie.

Then Countess Cross near Halstead in Essex.

‘And who made the countess cross,’ said Jason.

Okay, okay!

We have Countess Wear near Exeter, Devon, Earl Shilton near Hinckley in Leicestershire, Earl Sterndale near Buxton, Derbyshire, and Earl Stoneham near Stowmarket in Suffolk. There are various earl’s thingies all over the place including Earl’s Common near Worcester, Earl’s Down in East Sussex and Earl’s Green in Suffolk.

There appear to be no witches – unless they’re all in hiding somewhere – but there is a Cackle Hill near Spalding in Lincolnshire and Cackle Street near Uckfield, near Robertsbridge, and near Rye, all in East Sussex; and there’s Stake Hill near Manchester, Dunk’s Green near Tonbridge, Kent, reminiscent, perhaps, of what befell witches in the past.

Then we have Merlin’s Bridge near Haverfordwest, west Wales, and Merlin’s Cross near Pembroke, also in west Wales, and there’s Dragons Green near Horsham, West Sussex, and Dragon’s Hill near Lyme Regis in Dorset.

No aunts and uncles, but there’s room for most of the family here. We’ve got Boys Hill near Sherborne in Dorset, Boys Village near Barry, south Wales, and Brotherhouse Bar near Spalding, Lincolnshire.

That sounds like my sort of place.

My pals seem to concur.

There’s Three Sisters near Ruthin in north Wales and Child Okeford near Blandford, Dorset.

‘He or she must be an orphan,’ says Sophie. There’s no mummy or daddy Okeford.

Good grief!

Then Child’s Hill in north London and Little Herbert’s near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. And Ladies Riggs near Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire, Old Wives Lees near Canterbury in Kent, Man’s Cross near Halstead, Essex, and Scholar Green near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

At the end of another tiring day it is time for a pie and a pint followed by a good night’s rest. I have a feeling tomorrow, our last day, will be particularly mind-boggling.