Heritage fears triggered by parish name change

A PARISH council is to have the Latin word “cum” removed from its name because it was deemed “too antiquated”.

Barrow cum Denham Parish Council has lodged a formal request with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to change its name to, simply, Barrow and Denham Parish Council.

The move – which the council said would bring it “into the modern age” – has been approved by the borough council and when the next register of electors for the area is published on December 1, the parish of Barrow cum Denham, which serves the two villages near Bury St Edmunds, will be consigned to the history books.

The change might even raise a doubt about the future of parishes and villages with unusual names such as Rickinghall Superior, Stonham Parva, Stow cum Quy and others.

Explaining why Barrow cum Denham Parish Council voted to seek a name change, clerk Sue Houlder said many people felt it was too antiquated and something more modern and up to date was needed.

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And she said backing for the request by the parish council had been strong.

“The council thought that perhaps it should be brought into the modern age. There are for and against arguments and some villagers are against it.”

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One of them is the parish council’s vice chairman Laurence Simpson. He said: “Personally I think it is a shame. I think we are losing too many of the old names.

“But some of the newcomers to the village do not apparently know what the ‘cum’ in the title means. It is an old word that has been used here for a long time.”

The forthcoming name change has aroused interest in other villages and parishes with unusual names.

Carol Baxter, vice-chairman of Messing-Cum-Inworth Parish Council in Essex, said she and her fellow villagers were proud of their name.

She said the name was part of an overall traditional and historic package that visitors and newcomers found appealing.

“The idea of changing the name of Messing has never been raised and never been questioned. For the people who live here everybody knows what it means.”

One of those who has visited a place purely because of its name is EADT reader Mike Holliday, of Great Tey, near Colchester.

He said: “When my wife and I came across the name Freistom cum Butterwick [in Lincolnshire], we were so taken by the name that we visited the village.”

Speaking about the Barrow cum Denham name change, Mr Holliday said: “What a shame and how boring. One of the charms of Britain is the quirkiness of village names. They create interest and alsc a link with times past.”

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