Theydon Bois. Cockfosters. London has a lot of unique place names, but others are — when you look around — pretty damn common. Here are some locations from across the country that sound like they could easily fit within the M25.
Acton in Cheshire dates back at least to the Saxon era, with a Roman road passing by. The two Actons share a common etymology — basically, oak farms — although the northern version has a Grade I listed 15th century parish church and a scattering of other Grade II listed buildings. Both Actons have churches named after St Mary, but it's fair to say the one in Cheshire is slightly more... bucolic.
Clapham generally seems to come from 'Clopeham' or 'Clopp ham', meaning a village by the short hill. If the same etymology applies to this Clapham, then this picturesque village in the Dales, at the base of Ingleborough mountain, means Yorkshire's dry sense of humour has been in evidence for over 1,000 years. Alan Bennett spends weekends here, too.
Another medieval Clopeham, this one on the South Downs. There's a 13th century church, evidence of Saxon settlements and rather more spurious reports of Satanic rites going on in the nearby woods.
This Clapham, just north of Bedford, is very close to former RAF Twinwood. That's where Glenn Miller and two others took off from before he disappeared, presumably crashing in the English Channel. There's a museum dedicated to him, and another to aviation.
Dalston in Cumbria: surrounded by fields
Dalston in London: surrounded by hipsters
Dalston in Cumbria: cheese, ham and pineapple roll from Crumbs for £1.95
Dalston in London: kebab at Mangal 1 for £10
Dalston in Cumbria: pint of ale at The Blue Bell
Dalston in London: a cocktail served in an eagle at the Manhattans Project
Dalston in Cumbria: birthplace of sculptor Musgrave Watson and translator Georgiana Harcourt
Dalston in London: Razorlight wrote a song about it and Fry and Laurie shared a flat
Take your pick.
This is the original Euston: the land on which the station was built was owned by the Dukes of Grafton, who lived at Euston Hall, a couple of miles south of Thetford in Suffolk. It's a pretty small hamlet in itself, but has two impressive draws: Euston Hall and its grounds, part of which were designed by Capability Brown and John Evelyn, and the Grade I listed 17th century parish church.
(Brilliantly, the Wikipedia page for the village of Euston explains its etymological origins as being derived from "Efe's tun", where Efe is a person and a tun is a farmstead. The citation is our own article about how Euston station got its name. There's something very circular about this.)
This is a bit of a tangent, but bear with us. There's an odd connection between Lewisham and Highgate and two Yorkshire towns: Morley and Slaithwaite (pronounced 'Slawit', Southerners). All of them, at some point, were part of the estate of the Earl of Dartmouth. Dartmouth Park in north London once belonged to the family — hence the name.
There are other Dartmouth Parks around the country with a similar land ownership history, including one in Morley. Morley also has a Lewisham Park, and Slaithwaite has a Lewisham Road. Lewisham reciprocates with a Morley Road, with Slaithwaite Road branching off it. Which just goes to show how deep the feudal roots of this country still run.
Fun pub quiz fact: the current Earl of Dartmouth, William Legge, is a UKIP MEP for south west England and a deputy chair of the party.
Etymology's easy here: Kingston literally means 'King's town', and there are blimmin' loads of them. The largest is one that you might not have registered: Hull. Technically Kingston-upon-Hull, in the same way that London's Kingston is Kingston-upon-Thames, but hardly anyone can be bothered to say the whole thing. Hull is the butt of many jokes but it's UK City of Culture for 2017, so there you go.
Honourable mention of Kingston Bagpuize in Oxfordshire, for obvious reasons.
East Peckham, just north-east of Tonbridge in Kent, has the same etymological connection to Peckham in Southwark. Both are recorded in the Domesday Book as Pecheham, or 'homestead by a hill'. These days the village has moved on from its days of having enough woods to permit foraging for six pigs, and now has a rather lovely 16th century, Grade II listed coaching inn by the river Bourne to sink a pint of Tonbridge Coppernob in.
It's also very close to Hop Farm Family Park, with its llamas, Victorian oast houses and laser tag.
In addition, East Peckham is just a couple of miles away from Golden Green. Close, but no cigar.
Another place name that came first before London shamelessly nicked it. Henry VII's first title was Earl of Richmond, which came from the town in North Yorkshire, itself a shift from being named after the counts of Richemont in Normandy. Henry built a palace in Sheen and named it after his ancestral home.
Richmond Castle dates from 1086 and the 18th century Theatre Royal is one of the oldest in Britain. If there were a fight between the two towns to decide which was the most genteel, we'd be hard pressed to back a winner. (Though of course they're too genteel to fight. The contest would probably be a game of cribbage.)
Anywhere with a name meaning 'street with a ford' is going to have a lot of dopplegangers. Stratford's far more famous sister is Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare will forever beat the fact that we had the Olympics.
Another honourable mention goes to Fenny Stratford, which has an annual festival for the Fenny Poppers. They're small cannon, and not whatever your depraved mind went straight to.