January 23, 2009

Expert: ‘Rude’ place names start innocent

A British expert says towns in the country with seemingly rude names, including Crapstone and Spanker Lane, were named when the words had other meanings.

Ed Hurst, a co-author of the books Rude Britain and Rude UK, which document places with arguably offensive names, said England is home to towns called Crapstone, Ugley, North Piddle, Spanker Lane, Crotch Crescent, Wetwang, Slutshole Lane and Pratts Bottom, The New York Times reported Friday.

Place names and street names are full of history and culture, and it's only because language has evolved over the centuries that they've wound up sounding rude, Hurst said.

Crapstone residents said the name of their village began innocently, but theories were mixed as to how the name came about. Some locals theorized the name meant place of the rocks, and was the result of a kind of twisting of the original word, had something to do with soil or had something to do with Sir Francis Drake, who lived near the village.