Anglo Saxon Map shows familiar names | The Nosey Genealogist's: Help Me With My Family Tree
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Anglo Saxon Map shows familiar names

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist on November 29th, 2015


I love maps, it goes back to a series of lessons by an inspiring Geography and History teacher who introduced me and the rest of his class to Ordnance Survey maps.


I was fascinated by the symbols for Old Forts, quarries and also the battles marked by the crossed swords.


The lessons made me realise that historical settlements could be discovered on a modern map and so it gave me a sense of a link back to our past.

When I started looking into my family history, some years later, this rekindled my affection for maps and charts and most especially when I could see where ancestors lived on contemporary maps of their time.


This week I was drawn by a post on Facebook by Can’t Find My Past to a website that takes the mapping back even further. To Anglo Saxon times, to be precise. In 2011, with a revision in 2014, the website has uploaded some hand drawn maps showing what the area that is now London may well have looked like in Anglo Saxon times (roughly speaking, 500-1066AD).

The map has been pieced together from many resources, showing their guess at the roads, rivers, forests and marshland that characterised the region. The main purpose was to highlight the many villages, hamlets and farmsteads whose names are still part of modern London. For example, the map shows ‘Wemba Lea’, the land belonging to a local chieftain by the name of Wemba.

“We know nothing about Mr Wemba,” the website says, “yet his name is familiar to millions, perhaps billions, through its continuation into our own times as Wembley. Similarly, Croydon is a corruption of Crog Dene, which meant something like ‘valley of the crocuses’.”

Anyone think that they may be related to the Wembas of Lea? Or perhaps one of the ancient farmers called Cena, Padda and Fulla whose names have lived on down the centuries as Kennington, Paddington and Fulham?

Take a look at the website.




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