English Family and Place Names

View of Abergavenny Castle from the lake

The British like to shrink words and let the pronunciation drift around a bit. (We do the same: listen to a Frenchman pronounce “Connecticut.”) And the metamorphoses are unpredictable: you just have to know.

Anyway, here are some examples, often acquired in embarrassing ways!

Abergavenny:  Abergnny (hard ‘g’)

Alnwick:  Annick

Arbuthnot:  A-buth-not

Auchinleck:  Afflck (or as spelt)

Beauchamp:  Beecham

Beaufort:  Bofoot

Beaulieu:  Biew-li

Belvoir:  Beava

Bethune:  Beaton

Blenheim:  Blenim

Bolingbroke:  Bullingbrook

Borrowes:  Burrows

Broughton:  Brawton

Buccleuch:  Buckloo

Burgh:  Bura

Bury:  Berry

Caius:  Keys (College)

Calverley:  Cahvaly

Capell:  Cayple

Carnegie:  Cahnggie

Cecil: in the family, Sissl

Cirencester:  Sista, or Saye-ren-sesta

Clwyd:  Cloo-id

Cockburn:  Cobun

Colquhoun:  Cahoon

Constable:  Cunstable

Courthope:  Coht-hope

Cowper:  Cooper

Cromartie:  Crumaty

Cromwell:  formerly, Cruml

Dalyell or Dalzell:  Dee-l (usually)

Davies:  Daviss

De Crespigny:  De Crppni

De la Warr:  Dlaware

Drogheda:  Dry-da

Dysart:  Diez’t

Elgin:  Elgin (hard g)

Fermor:  Fahma

Ffolkes:  Foaks

Gifford:  Jiffud

Glamis:  Glahms

Gower:  Gaw

Harewood:  Hahwood

Heathcoat or Heathcote:  Hethcut

Hepburn:  Heb’n

Hertford:  Hahfud

Hobart:  Hbud

Home:  Hume

Inge:  Ing

Inveraray:  Inveraira

Islay:  Eye-la (and on Ilsay, Bruichladdich: Brookladdie)

Kirkcudbright:  Kukobri

Knollys:  Nowles

Lascelles:  Lassells

Legh:  Lee

Leinster:  Linsta

Leominster:  Lemsta

Leveson-Gower:  Loosun-Gaw

Leycester:  Lesta

MacCorquodale:  M’cwkadale

McGillicuddy:  Mgillicuddy

McMahon:  Mcmhn

Magdalen or Magdalene:  Mawdlin

Magrath:  Mgraw

Mahon:  Mahn or Mahhn

Mainwaring:  Mannering

Marjoribanks:  Marshbanks

Marlborough:  Mawlbra

Menzies:  Mingiz (Scotland)

Meyrick:  Mrrick

Montgomery or Montgomerie:  Mungumri

Moray:  Murray

Newburgh:  Newbra

Northcote:  Nawthcut

Norwich:  Norridge

Pytchley:  Pie-chley

Renwick:  Rennick

Rhys:  Rees (usually);  Rice (among Anglicized Welshmen)

Romney:  Rumney

Roxburghe:  Roxbra

Ruthven:  Rivven

St. Clair:  Sinclair

St. John:  Sinjun

St. Leger:  Sllinja;  sometimes as spelt

Scrymgeour:  Scrmjer

Seymour:  Seama (or as spelt)

Sherborne:  Shbn

Shrewsbury:  (locally) Shrowsbry

Sotheby:  Suthaby

Southwark:  Suthuk

Stanhope:  Stannup

Strabolgi:  Strabwgie (hard g)

Strachan, Straghan or Strahan:  Strawn

Synge:  Sing

Tichbourne:  Tichbn

Towcaster:  Taoster

Trevelyan:  Trevillian

Urquhart:  Uhkut

Vanbrugh:  Vanbra

Wemyss:  Weems

Westmorland:  Wsmlund

Willoughby de Broke:  Willabi de Brook

Woburn:  Woobun

Wodehouse:  Woodhouse