St. George Would Be Proud (And Mildly Amused)
The 23 Best- And Worst-Sounding Places To Live In England
As a nation celebrates its patron saint, on this 23rd day of April, we delve into a very peculiar aspect of Englishness by celebrating the 23 best- and worst-sounding English places.
- Happy Bottom in Dorset has the best-sounding, most optimistic and pleasing-to-say place name in England
- Shittlehope, Durham and The Slaughters, Gloucestershire head a strong list of contenders for worst-sounding place name in England
- Nobody really cares how these places score on property prices, average salary, life expectancy or weather
- The Westcountry and North of England dominate the 'best' 23, whilst the 'worst' 23 are strewn all over, with a slight southerly bias - both lists have been compiled by a panel of experts assembled by cartographers extraordinaire, ST&G
A tranquil corner of Dorset has been named the best-sounding place to live in England. Happy Bottom, a hamlet near Corfe Mullen, has been given the accolade after scoring highly on a range of factors, including its effect on 6-year-old children when they hear it for the first time.
We are used to being told that such-and-such a town is one of the best places to live, based on objectively measurable criteria such as average hedge height and median decibels from lawnmowers within a 50-metre radius on weekends, but these frequently-published reports all too often ignore the most important factor of all.
The English already attach castle-like importance to our homes, so it should come as no surprise that how our address sounds - to us and to others - plays a huge role in how we feel about where we live.
So on the day we celebrate Englishness in all its glory, join us as we revel in the best- and worst-sounding English place names. Rest assured the results have nothing to do with whether these places are actually nice to live in.
The 23 Best-Sounding Places In England
- Happy Bottom, Dorset - A cracking new entry at no. 1 in our hit parade.
- Brill, Cornwall and Brill, Bucks - So much better than awesome.
- Scilly Isles, Cornwall - A great way to stay young.
- Beer, Devon - So many to choose from, dotted all over the Westcountry.
- Chipshop, Devon - Exactly where one should be after visiting 4 and 18.
- Guzzle Down, Devon - Exactly what one should do in 5.
- Fryup, North Yorkshire - The perfect place to find yourself the morning after travelling through 4, 5, 6 and 18 the night before.
- Giggleswick, North Yorkshire - Knowing a place name means the ‘dwelling or (dairy) farm of a man called Gikel or Gichel’ should not stop you enjoying it.
- Friendly, West Yorkshire - What a welcome.
- Settle, North Yorkshire - Perfect for a quiet night in.
- Golden Balls, Oxfordshire - possibly the best-named roundabout in the history of roundabouts.
- Angel, London - What better place name as term of endearment?
- Truelove, Cornwall - And we seem to have answered that question almost immediately.
- Dancing Ledge, Dorset - Perfect 10s for this shimmying piece of cliff.
- Lovely Seat, North Yorkshire - And views to match.
- Wham, North Yorkshire - Wake us up before you go-go to this lovely spot on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
- Hugglepit, Cornwall - Don’t you just want to wrap your arms around this one?
- Booze Moor, North Yorkshire - Party time atop a delightful hill.
- Frolic, Northumberland - Unbridled joy to match a newborn lamb.
- Bath, Somerset - After a long day where else would you want to head home to? (Other than Beer, Chipshop, Frolic, etc.)
- Great Ledge, Devon - A fine bromantic compliment, perhaps the finest.
- Caring, Kent - Twinned with Sharing.
- Laughter Hole, Devon - Get your laughing gear round that.
THE 23 WORST-SOUNDING PLACES IN ENGLAND
- Shittlehope, Durham - Nothing like forlorn pessimism to kick off a list like this.
- Upper and Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire - How nice to have the choice.
- Looe, Cornwall - It’s loovely there, but that’s of little consequence to our panel.
- Belchford, Lincolnshire - Very pleasing as it rolls off the tongue, less pleasing on the ear, and even less so on the nose.
- Bland, Cumbria - Two words that usually do not get seen together, Cumbria being home to the beautiful Lake District (completely irrelevant for the purposes of this academic research).
- Boringdon Camp, Devon - The perfect location for an adrenaline-fuelled outdoor adventure.
- Nasty, Hertfordshire - That sounds like a gross and possibly unfair generalisation.
- Slap Bottom, Hampshire - Whatever floats your boat, minister.
- Nether Wallop, Hampshire - Pretty much the same thing.
- Bicker, Lincolnshire - What a relaxed-sounding location.
- Droop, Dorset - So uplifting.
- Bell End, Worcestershire - Going here could be worse than being sent to Coventry.
- Pea Down, East Sussex - Always good, when in England, to be reminded of the English weather, actual or forecast.
- Longsplatt, Wiltshire - Scoring high on mental imagery and even higher as it rolls off the tongue, this lovely Westcountry hamlet shows there’s a long drop from the lofty ledge of sophistication to the gutter of toilet humour.
- Horrabridge, Devon - A highly evocative village name at odds with its natural beauty - the location featured in the opening credits of television’s Bagpuss in days gone by.
- Shitterton, Dorset - The old classic, famous for being an excrement place name.
- Thong, Kent - Now really, who would live in a place like this?
- Breakheart Bottom, Wiltshire - Next stop rock bottom.
- Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire - An ailment not to be treated lightly, as many senior-ranking men and women of the cloth will tell you.
- Loose Bottom, East Sussex - Definitely not the place to be at any time, day or night.
- Burnt Balls, Hampshire - Surely someone at the Ordnance Survey was having a laugh when they put this on the map. We certainly hope so.
- Barf, Cumbria - A place name that vomits all over the great beauty and good name of the county of the Lake District.
- Peover Eye, Cheshire - Some people may pay good money for that kind of thing, but it doesn’t sound too pleasant to our panel.
The panel of expert judges, assembled by cartographers extraordinaire and renowned pedants, ST&G, comprised Bishop Norton, Moreton Pinkney, Virginia Water, Haselbury Plucknett and Ben Nevis. Their criteria were:
- The mental imagery evoked by each place name,
- The ease and enjoyment with which each place name rolls off the tongue, and
- The effect each place name has on people upon hearing it.
Factors the panel completely ignored in their analysis include house prices, employment rate, average salaries, crime rates, weather, life expectancy, school exam results and average minutes of queueing per year in each of the places.
We want to hear from you!
Do you live in one of England’s best- or worst-sounding places? We’d love to hear from you about how the sound of your hometown makes you feel. We feel utterly tickled just to be pondering this weighty, and oh-so-essentially English, topic. Happy St. George’s Day to you.
Today's Weather: Shittlehope