Thursday, July 10, 2014

PARISH 3: beating the (verbal) bounds of Egham

The following verbal description (from The place-names of Surrey) I would characterise as all of the following: assemblage, ritual, rhizome, rogation, boundary, territory, map, meme, polyline, and irregular polygon.

From Gover et al (1934):

"In BCS 34 we have a ME version of the bounds of Egham (including Thorpe).  They start at a seohter or water course above Hersham supra 109 and so straight to Barrowhils supra 108 and from there to Eccantriwe (also on the bounds of Chobham) and so due south to the south end of the heath of Sir Geoffrey de la Croix, i.e. the point on Chobham common where the boundary makes an acute angle and turns north.  The boundary then goes almost to the upper end of Herdeie and so along the thorny hill to the lower end of Hertly and to Menechene Rude (supra 116), thence to the west side of Portnall (infra 122) and Winebrigth, and from there due west to a road that goes to Winchester, that is called Shrubs Hill (infra 124).  It then goes on due north beneath the gate of the Park (i.e. Windsor Great Park) to Harpsford infra 121, the mill, the park hedge, the new hatch, along the fridesbrok to the grey appletree, and from there to the knoll by the spring, under the stony slope, down by Tigelbeddeburne, i.e. the stream which runs out by Runny Mede Ho, then down to the eyot by Leatherlake infra 122, along the Thames to Glanty infra 121, to Hythe infra 122 and then back along the stream to Nipnose infra 134, and so past another hythe to the black withy and so to a foul brook.  Thence it goes to Sirepol, i.e. Sharpers Mead infra 383, and after an interval to Deepen Brook (supra 3), the three trees, the grey or boundary maple-tree, and the boundary-brook back to Hersham."

I accessed The place-names of Surrey in the Institute of Historical Research after a Landscape Surgery session in Bedford Square last term.  At the same time, my main purpose for being there was to access Margaret Gelling's Landscape of place-names, a book that comprehensively analyses and explains topographical place-naming systems in England.  It is with the two references mentioned here that I begin to make some headway in this PARISH mapping of Egham series, and into English place-names more generally.  I start by working outwards from home and office in Egham, moving to more and more 'exotic' locales within the very circumscribed limits of the parish boundary, as defined by official maps, verbal descriptions, GIS databases, and by my own GPS, apps, and maps.

The boundary description from Gover et al (1934) contains a wonderful set of very concrete items whose brief descriptions leave images to ponder, including:

"beneath the gate of the Park (i.e. Windsor Great Park)" (why underneath?  is this a 3D map?)

"along the fridesbrok to the grey appletree" (what is a fridesbrok?  grey bark?  or is the whole tree grey?)

"the knoll by the spring, under the stony slope..."

"and so past another hythe to the black withy and so to a foul brook"

"the three trees, the grey or boundary maple-tree, and the boundary-brook"

Note that trees and brooks feature quite prominently, and one might ask what a beating of these bounds might entail, traditionally, and today?  Did children's heads get bonked on the grey appletree or the boundary maple-tree?  Did these serve as memory trees?  Do they serve any such function today?  What about the rivers?  There's some connection between rivers and memory down through time, in literature, myth, and metaphors for history.

Gelling, M.  2000.  Landscape of place-names.  Stamford: Shaun Tyas.

Gover, J. E. B., A. Mawer, and F. M. Stenton.  1934.  The place-names of Surrey.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

*Note: a map of Egham parish is located in the British Library under the following entry:

  • Title: Plan of the parish of Egham in the county of Surrey / May and Collins surveyors Marlboro'.
  • Subjects: Egham (England) -- Maps ;
    Dewey: 912.42211
  • Publication Details: [London]: Nethercliff and Durlacher lith: 18 Brewer St. Golden Square, [1856]. 
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: System number 015492814 
  • Notes: Michael Monk May and Francis Collins, surveyors of Marlborough, Wiltshire. 
  • Physical Description: 1 map ; 185 x 154 cm.; Scale [ca. 1:4,800] six chains to one inch. 
  • Shelfmark(s): Cartographic Items Maps 250.a.79. 
  • UIN: BLL01015492814

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