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Shitterton named most unfortunate place name in UK

A roadside sign welcomes visitors to Shitterton

A roadside sign welcomes visitors to Shitterton

IT IS AN idyllic hamlet based around a single street of picturesque thatched cottages in rural Dorset.

But however lovely Shitterton is, the tiny collection of homes on the edge of the village of Bere Regis has been named as Britain’s most unfortunate place name in a new survey.

The tiny settlement between Dorchester and Poole beat the nearby valley of Scratchy Bottom, near Durdle Door in Dorset and Brokenwind in Aberdeenshire in the survey by findmypast.co.uk,

Shitterton is a very literal English translation of the village name recorded in Norman French in the 11th century Domesday Book as Scatera or Scetra which means a little town that is on the stream of a midden or sewer.

But Ian Ventham, chairman of Bere Regis Parish Council and proud Shitterton resident, said he does not find the name of the hamlet, with its long history, embarrassing.

“Shit is shit. Let’s not beat around the bush, that is where the name comes from,” the retired RNLI director said.

“But it isn’t a midden or shitheap now. It is a perfect rural hamlet with thatched cottages and idyllic Dorset countryside.

“Those of us who live here are not the least bit embarrassed by it.”

Shitterton hit the headlines in 2010 when residents got so fed up with pranksters stealing the standard road signs displaying the name that they clubbed together and bought a £680 one-and-a-half-tonne Purbeck stone version set in concrete.

According to the website, the valley of Scratchy Bottom is thought to take its name from the fact that it is a rough and rugged hollow.

Brokenwind was known as “Broken Wynd” in the 19th century, with wynd, the website said, a Scots word for a narrow path that snakes or winds between two larger roads.

Crapstone, a picturesque village on the western edge of Dartmoor in Devon, came fourth in the survey of 1,773 people, ahead of Golden Balls in Oxfordshire, Ugley in Essex, Crackpot in North Yorkshire, Backside in Aberdeenshire, Great Snoring in Norfolk and Happy Bottom in Dorset.

“If there were an Olympics for unlikely place names, Britain would surely be good for a medal, if not the gold”, said Debra Chatfield, a family historian at findmypast.co.uk.

“In the course of researching their family history, people can discover that their ancestors came from somewhere with an unlikely, unfortunate or downright embarrassing name.

“Some people are unsettled to discover that their forebears came from somewhere called, say, Crackpot, Ugley or Happy Bottom.”

 

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