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: WHAT'S IN A NAME?  ( 5411 )

Mike Neighbour

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« : March 30, 2013, 02:21:48 PM »
Recently, when we were group emailing, Chris posted "it is evident that this name has denoted different areas over the years. The area we now know as Smallford was, in the past, either Horseshoes or Wilkins Green. When the station was called Springfield Station was that at Wilkins Green or Horseshoes? Relating the change of name being applied to the area because of the Station name change would be a bonus."  (Hope you don't mind me quoting you, Chris).

I replied with the following, and thought it would be useful to add it here, so that others can add their own comments and views.

Horseshoes or Smallford?  Very confusing.  We might like to ponder over these possibilities.  

1. Historically, local rural names often centred on the farm of the same name.  That takes us over to Smallford Farm, and maybe the former community along Barley Mow Lane (and maybe in other locations where those dwellings are no longer standing).  But between there and Smallford Lane and farm there was another farm  (Butterwick), which may confuse the issue.

2.  What about thinking of the name itself?  Small Ford.  This required a (small) stream or river to cross (ford).  We know of other east-flowing chalk streams nearer St Albans, now lost because of a lower water table.    Perhaps someone knows of a dry valley aligned N to S which would, maybe, have flowed into the Colne  at some time in the past.  A dry version of Boggy Mead Spring or Ellen Brook.

3.  Does anyone know when Smallford civil parish was formed?  It is the name of the parish which is printed on the OS maps, not a place, and that covers a larger area than simply a single place.  Was it formed when the bypass was built, or is it much older than that?  Is it subservient to Colney Heath PC?

4.  Do you think a parish needs to have a nucleus of houses and other buildings to attach itself to?  If so, might it be for this reason that Horseshoes became known as Smallford after WW2, in an age of greater administration?  I wonder whether there were any objections to this name change from people then living at Horseshoes?.  This is an interesting point because it begs the question, who is entitled to change the name of a place?  I am sure most people know that Oaklands College now calls its place at Oaklands  the Smallford campus!  How expansive can Smallford get?

5.  Christopher, you mentioned Springfield Station.  I thought there might have been a nearby field of that name, but could find none in the tithe records.  [Christopher discovered on his HALS visit that there was indeed a field called 'Springfield'. This was to the North of Wilkins Green Lane and roughly where the houses now stand just off Station Road. The road further north is Springfield Road']  Once renamed Smallford Station was it easier to think of Horseshoes as "the place near to Smallford Station?"  And was the lane called Smallford Lane all the way from Colney Heath to Horseshoes – before, that is, the bit between the station and Horseshoes was named (by someone) Station Road,  presumably after the railway opened!

These questions should open up a discussion, shouldn't they?


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« #1 : April 04, 2013, 02:25:10 PM »
Mike, you may find what I saw at HALS of interest, I have summarised it in the post linked here:


I will, when I get around to it, upload photos of the maps mentioned in the post which were taken when at HALS.
« : April 04, 2013, 02:27:39 PM JonMusk »