16 Feb By Any Other Name

There’s a good reason parents spend such a long time choosing the moniker for their newborns: names shape our self-identity and how others perceive us. This is not only true for people, but also products, places, and pets.

Despite all the precautions taken by parents, countries, and governing bodies, sometimes an odd name sticks. This is never more evident than in regards to the place names in the UK. Whether they have outlasted their original meaning or were just oddly named in the first place, here are our Top 5 Puzzling Place Names.


5) Lost, Aberdeenshire

Luckily not too many people are “Lost.” With a population of less than 2 dozen, this hamlet originally went by its Gaelic name taigh òsda, which translates to “inn.” Not many people come to stay in Lost though, unless they actually are.

4) Gog Magog Downs, Cambridge

Despite the rather ominous biblical name given to these chalk hills, they are relatively non-threatening. Inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, the Gog Magog Hills used to house forts, these days the most you’ll find is a 5k fun-run.

3) Barton in the Beans, Leicestershire

One of the main attractions of this town, according to online sources, is the post box. Yep, it’s really that small. Entered in the Domesday book, this town’s name harkens back to one of its earliest crops: beans.

2) Catbrain, Bristol

Before you get upset and call PETA please be reassured: no cats were harmed in the making of this village. The name refers instead to the stony clay soil that is native to the region. Apart from the name, this is a pretty standard town, phew!


1) Scratchy Bottom, Dorset

A smallish valley located near the sea cliffs, Scratchy Bottom is a rather puzzlingly named area in Dorset. Thought to reference a rough or craggy hollow it is, thankfully, uninhabited.


Now that you’ve heard some of the worst place names out there, aren’t you glad you were born in such a harmlessly dubbed hometown? So breathe deep, smile often, and be glad you don’t have “Scratchy Bottom” listed as your place of residence.

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