Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cerot's island

I promised that I would look into the origins of the name of Chertsey, and the town itself. Ann pre-empted me a bit in the comments(!) but here is a slightly longer version. It is lifted from the Chertsey Museum website' page on Chertsey so here's where to look if you want more detail.

The settlement of Chertsey dates back to the founding of an abbey in 666. The name Chertsey (originally Cerotaesei) means the island of Cerot, and is it likely that Cerot was therefore the original owner of the land given by King Egbwert of Kent to Prince Erkenvald to build a monastery. At the time this was a slightly raised area of land in the middle of the Thames floodplain. We see similar names in the Fens - Ramsey, Whittlesey - with the 'sey' again denoting an island.

From the mid thirteenth century Chertsey was a thriving market town, and later, owing to its position between London and Windsor, became a successful coaching town, where from the sixteenth century horses would be changed and travellers patronise its many inns. From the eighteenth century it became the trendy place for Londoners to decamp to, a fashion led by the Whig politiocian Charles James Fox.

And as Minnow informed us the other week, Chertsey is one of the last towns in England to ring a nightly curfew bell. One day I'll go and have a look for myself. We've been through on Warrior - and indeed, we bought Helyn there - but have never seen the town apart from from the river.

No comments:

Post a Comment