Summat Yorkshire | ten origins of place names in Kirklees
By Oliver ThompsonThe largest town in the Metropolitian Borough of Kirklees derives from ‘Odersfelt’ which is essence translates to ‘Oder’s’ Field. Contray to folklore, there has been rumours that the area used to be referred to as ‘Uddersfield in reference to the large quality of cows with the ‘H’ added in at a later date. There is very little evidence to support this however. The question is who was Oder?To the outsider you may assume it has something to do with the nut which is an entire fabrication. ‘Almond’ derives from the Norse word for ‘all men’ and ‘bury’ comes from ‘burg’ which means fortified hilltop. Makes sense when there is a former hillfort in the region called Castle Hill.‘Birk’ means ‘birch tree’ and ‘by’ stands for ‘secondary settlement’ in ancient Danish which is surprising as the village doesn’t appear in any records pre-1500.‘Holm’ comes from ‘Holn’ which is an abbreviation of ‘Hollin’ – a place with Holly. ‘Firth’ means an open area in a forest or wood. Locals commonly refer to the place as a mini ‘Hollywood’ – best fitting for a small town which used to have a larger film production industry than Hollywood at the turn of the 20th Century.Named after St Guthlac, who was a popular preacher in the area during the 8th century.Commonly referred to as the Kirklees Council but there was a former settlement which possessed the name ‘Kirklees’ situated between Brighouse and Mirfield. ‘Kirk’ refers to church or priory and ‘Lees’ means ‘meadows’. Quite suiting as the area was significantly impacted by the rise of Benedictine monks in the 13th Century.Named after the former Waterloo public house, which in essence was named after the Duke of Wellington, who defeated the French emperor Napolean at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Fervor was high for Wellington and the Victoria Tower on top of Castle Hill was going to be called Wellington Tower before the townsfolk opted to adopt the current name.In the Domesday the settlement was recorded as ‘Scelmertorp’, which derives from the personal name ‘Skjaldmarr’ and a ‘thorp’ meaning outlying farmstead. Locals know the area as ‘shat’ which is an abbreviation of ‘Shatterers’. During the construction of railways in the area, labourers from the area had to break or ‘shatter’ rocks on the excavations and thus their nickname became ‘Shatterers’.