Cocks & Boobys In Kernow


The United Kingdom has some odd place names dotted around, no less so than in the south-west, Cornwall. Every time I venture to the British Riviera, I end up taking a second glance at a signpost as I drive along a winding country road. Here are just a few of the funny, oddly pronounced and unusual place names in Cornwall.

Booby’s Bay
A sandy beach near Padstow that is completely submerged at high tide. The wreck of SV Carl is still visible at low tide, the German ship having been abandoned while being towed to London during a storm in the First World War.

Brown Willy
Yes, one can climb Brown Willy, up one side and if you like, down the other. Situated right next to Rough Tor, Brown Willy is a hill and at 420m, it is the highest point on Bodmin Moor. There have been many suggestions as to where its name comes from, the one that seems to stick is Bronn Wennili which translates to Hill of Swallows.

Come-To-Good
A strange name for a place, but as charming as the actual place is. A small settlement of just seven houses, Come-To-Good’s naming origins isn’t entirely clear, although it does bear some relationship to the Quaker Meeting House found in the area.

Cocks
A hamlet in the parish of Perranzabuloe, south-east of Perranporth on the Cornish north coast.

Fowey
Pronouced Foy or Foi, Fowey is a port town on the southern coast. The town’s name is derived from the Cornish word Fowydh, meaning beech trees. Fowey’s claim to fame is that Jesus supposedly visited when he was a child, being accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, who had a commerical interest in the tin mines of the area.

Gweek
Situated a couple of miles from Helston at the northern point of the Lizard peninsula, Gweek’s name derives from the Cornish word gwig, meaning forest village.

Jolly’s Bottom
Located in the west of Cornwall, Jolly’s Bottom likely originates from the land owner’s name, the Jolly fanily.

Launceston
Pronounced in a variety of ways, one thing is certain is that it isn’t pronounced as most Brits would believe. It is not Launston or Lawnston, or worse still Lawn-sess-ton. But instead it is pronounced by locals as Lanson or Lanzan.

Looe
Pronounced pretty much s you would expect – Loo – Looe is a beautiful village straddling the river of the same name. The town is actually two, East and West, and each have their own MPs and mayor.

Mevagissey
Meva, which rhymes with never and Gissey, which rhymes with busy. A fishing port on Cornwall’s south coast, this popular town is inundated with tourists during the peak summer months, all soaking up the quaint narrow streets and picturesque harbour.

Minions
A small village north of Caradon Hill and Liskeard, Minions sadly is not the home of The Minions. At 300m above sea level, Minions is considered the highest village in Cornwall.

Mousehole
Another village with an unconventional pronounciation is Mousehole, spoken as Mauzel.

Skinner’s Bottom
Another hamlet, this one situated close to the north coast near Porthtowan.

Tintagel
The legendary home of King Arthur, Tintagel’s naming origins is basically unknown because it doesn’t really make sense in Cornish, especially with the soft g sound. Needless to say that aside from its natural beauty, Tintagel is quite a draw for tourists for the reference to King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.