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Placename Spelling

Modern place names over Domesday spelling

When I first began the Bradecote and Catchpoll series I used the spellings as in Domesday Book. I do continue to use only places that are mentioned in it, but have changed to the modern spellings. In some ways it looks anachronistic, but it does mean that readers can follow the investigations when the characters trot about the countryside, and it gives a good sense of ‘geography’, even if it lessens the ‘history’. The other aspect is that spelling has wandered all over the place over the centuries, and Domesday itself was a rendition by a scribe of what the places were called by those living there at the time. Picking a consistent snapshot other than Domesday would have been very tricky indeed.

There are two very notable exceptions to my modern spelling rule. The first is that Droitwich was called Wich until the 14th C, and that was too obvious a great and late change to keep.

The second is Bradecote itself. The modern spelling is Bredicot, which shows how it has morphed over the centuries from the Bradecote of Domesday, via Bradicot, Bradecot and Brodecot in the 14th C. Hugh Bradecote is. of course. my invention, and in reality Bradecote was held by the Poer family from the Bishop of Worcester.