Friday 25 January 2013

Pondering peculiar British place names: Beer, Auchenshuggle, Curry Mallet, Kingston Bagpuize

Location: Oxfordshire, Kingston Bagpiuze

Moodmusic: It's a new day with a fresh direction just dawning

Today's soundbites and memories
This time in Oxfordshire, playing about in the woods again, has led me to another settlement with an interesting name.  I've been just outside Kingston Bagpuize.  What kind of name is that?  Well it seems a village name inherited from the family name of a Norman nobleman Ralph de Bachepuz.  Fine.  That set me musing on all the other places I have drunk beer in, or near to, this past year that have notable names.  There was of course Beer which I wrote about in my Jurassic coast blog, other places worth a mention because I think they are odd or just amazing words are:
  • Ampney Crucis - Located near Ampney Brook and close to the church of the Holy Cross (Crucis)
  • Chimney - Old English meaning "Island of a man named Ceomma"
  • Curry Mallet - Cury and Malet families of the ruling manors
  • Auchenshuggle - "the rye field" in Gaelic
  • Gowkthrapple - ????? who knows .... I couldn't find out
  • Turner's Puddle - from Tonerespydele meaning an "estate on the river Piddle held by the Toner family"
  • Piddletrenthide - listed in Doomesday as meaning an "estate of thirty hides on the river Piddle"
  • Felldownhead - a good one for a beer blog! Nobody has any idea otherwise
  • Bovey Tracey - town on the river Bovey taking the Tracey from a Norman noble family
  • Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant - meaning "Parish of the waterfall in the valley of the pigs"
  • Wigwig - "Wyga's settlement" in Olde English
  • Homer - squatter's settlement grown on "Honemor" common land
  • Quat - ??
Then my thoughts diverted to something else, and led to wondering about the English civil war once again.  Last year in my beer drinking travels I kept on bumping into references and traces of Cromwell as he fought his way through England and Scotland.  This part of Oxfordshire was of course a Royalist stronghold. But  I still wondered if Cromwell had been active at all roundabouts. Hey .... guess what ..... there was some connection ..... Besselsleigh just a few miles up the road turns out to be the home of William Lenthall. He represented Woodstock in the Short Parliament (April 1640) and Long Parliament (November 1640), for which latter Parliament he was chosen by King Charles I to be Speaker. Later, on the outbreak of war, he remained a Parliamentarian and was supported by the new army, even though he remained biased towards the King. Well he was almost a round head then ...... 'ish.  Not quite Cromwell though.  I digress. What was the beer like in this part of the world?  Well it was a motley selection as follows:


The Dog House, Frilford Heath, near Abingdon
1. ??, Dog House (4.6%),
Emotional: right pint at the right time .... can't find any reference anywhere to the brewer ... not even the pump clip told me ... it just said specially brewed for the Dog House .... staff didn't know either
Critical: Nice meaty decent bitter with a good hoppy strength and medium bitter biscuit finish.

2. Moorland, Old Speckled Hen (4.6%)
Critical: It's ages since I had this, and even longer since I had it on draft. It tasted good! Great standard British bitter. Light hop and light bitterness. Very easy to drink and get into a session

3. Greene King, IPA (3.6%)
Critical: Lovely amber colour. Smooth and medium bodied. Quite a fresh flavour with some haylage and grassy notes to finish. Not bad.

The Red Lion, Aston, Bampton, Oxfordshire
4. Sharps, Doom Bar (4%)
Emotional: nought more than .... quaffable
Critical: Not bad but not brilliant either. It’s a bit on the ordinary side. Easy introduction to bitter? Great golden colour. Some fruity citrus hop flavours and slight resin aftertaste.

The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, Faringdon, on the Thames
5. Robinsons, Tom and Berry (4.6%)
Emotional: WOW! Like drinking a very, very upmarket chocolate bar. Luciousness
Critical: Nice and chocolatey with really strong delicious berry fruits.  I thought this was great but others may find the fruit too much.  Not sure this is a session beer, could end up being too cloying.  Great for the one pint.

6. Whitehorse, Wayland Smithy (4.4%)
Emotional: Aaaaaaghhhh a standard bitter at last. Relief
Critical: Good quality bitter with a medium body and good balance of floral, fruity and bitter hop flavours. Far too easy to drink.

7. Steam Box Brewery, Funnel Blower (4.5%)
Emotional: Fantastic!!
Critical: Pours to give a deep head, and a bit of treacley aroma. Carbonation medium to give an easy to drink pint. Flavors begin with toasted rye bread, and break into bourbon vanilla and smooth chocolate. Ends with clean bitterness.

 Oxfordshire view
Not too sure how Gandalf would feel about this?
BE_WABL08 Milestone at Tubney Woods, conserved
I literally bumped into this walking up the road from the pubs to
the woods .... hard to see in sleet ... pic from Tollhouse Alan's photostream on Flickr 

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