Northern town names, a pronunciation guide

Jump to our pronunciation guide to Northern towns with counterintuitive pronunciations (below).

As a child my parents often took me on camping trips around the north of England. Getting lost is one of my abiding memories. With no sat nav to hand in those days, we would often resort to pulling over and asking someone for directions. As is often the case this didn’t always go smoothly…

Travelling up the East coast, we were heading for a coastal town called Staithes. We had been in the car for quite some time when we started to wonder if we’d missed the town altogether. My Dad pulled the car over and asked a passing gentleman “excuse me, do you know where Staithes is?”, “never heard of it” was his response.

After much confusion and more than a hint of pedantism from the passer by, my Dad resorted to writing the town name on a piece of paper. “Oh, you mean Steers” he said, in a sudden light bulb moment. It turns out we were 10 minutes away.

Now, I don’t for a second think that this man really couldn’t understand what my Dad meant. What is more likely, is he had been asked the same question by many tourists and simply enjoyed the opportunity to be awkward. There is no way that – without some local knowledge – you could possibly deduce that Staithes is pronounced Steers.

My point is, there are a lot of places out there, a lot of which have odd pronunciations and in these towns live pedants who love to “not understand” what you’re saying.

Below is our pronunciation guide to Northern towns with counterintuitive pronunciations. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions or corrections.

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Commonly mispronounced Northern Towns
Hough Cheshire Huff
Place Name Area Pronunciation
Rawcliffe Near Preston Raycla
Cholmondeley Cheshire Chumley
Aigburth Liverpool Egberth
Luddendenfoot West Yorkshire Lud Foot
Mytholmroyd West Yorkshire Mithumroyd
Peover Cheshire Peever
Sough Lancashire Suff
Roose Cumbria Rooz
Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria Barra-in-furnace
Harrogate North Yorkshire Harragut
Huyton Liverpool Hi-ton
Bury Greater Manchester Beri
Barnoldswick Lancashire Barlick
Aspatria Cumbria Spatry
Workington Cumbria Wukinton or W'kton locally
Alnwick Northumberland Annick
Euxton Lancashire Ekston
Oswaldtwistle Lancashire Ozzletwizzle
Staithes North Yorkshire Steers (Local Pronunciation)
Altrincham Greater Manchester Aultringam
Barugh South Yorkshire Bark
Beauchief Sheffield Beechiff
Bellingham Northumberland Bellinjam
Brougham Cumbria Broom
Sandwith Cumbria Sannuth
Burgh By Sands Cumbria Bruff By Sands
Kirkby Merseyside Kerby
Cambois Northumberland Kamas
Ponteland Northumberland Pon-tee-land
Cholmondeley Cheshire Chumly
Cholmondeston Cheshire Chumston
Chop Gate North Yorkshire Chop Yat
Claughton Lancashire Klafton
Claughton On Brock Lancashire Klighton
Cowpen Northumberland Koopen
Keswick Cumbria Kezzick
Cudworth South Yorkshire Kuderth
Dodworth South Yorkshire Doderth
Elsecar South Yorkshire Elsikar
Gateacre Liverpool Gattaka
Greysouthen Cumbria Graysun
Keighley West Yorkshire Keithlee
Masham Northern Yorkshire Masam
Meols Merseyside Melz
Meols Cop Southport Milz
Ovingham Northumberland Ovinjum
Prudhoe Northumberland Pruda
Quernmore Lancashire Kwormer
Rievaulx North Yorkshire Reevo
Slaithwaite West Yorkshire Slawit Or Slathwit
Sowerby / Sowerby Bridge West Yorkshire Saw-bi / Saw-bi Bridge
Torpenhow Cumbria Trapena
Ulgham Northumberland Uffam
Wavertree Lancashire Wartree
Market Weighton East Riding Of Yorkshire Weeton
Wesham Lancashire Wessem
Wombwell South Yorkshire Wumwel
Wybunbury Cheshire Winbry
Todmorden West Yorkshire Todmuden
Simonstone Lancashire Simmunsten
Whalley Lancashire Warley
Barrowford Lancashire Barrah-ford
Stalmine Fylde coast Stomin
Blacko Lancashire Blackah
Foulridge Lancashire Folridge
Wiswell Lancashire Wizzle
Hough Cheshire Huff

9 COMMENTS

  1. Stalmine, on the Fylde coast, is pronounced Stomin by the old locals. These are a dying breed so that pronunciation will probably die. But consider how we pronounce talk and walk. This suggests that the old locals are right. What a strange language we have!

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