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Local Place Names

Most of the local place names have their origins in the Old English language of Saxon times. Here are some examples.


Washing Sheep - James Aumonier 1889

Washing Sheep - James Aumonier - 1889

Bourne is the old English word for stream. Lambourn - 'the stream where lambs were washed'. The Lambourn downs are full of names which resonate the importance of sheep and the wool trade such as Ewe Hill and Sheepdrove.
Lambourn is often mis-spelt by adding an 'e' at the end. This may stem from the fact that bourne is generally spelt with an 'e' at the end and this common usage has affected the spelling of Lambourn.


The name Shefford is believed to mean sheep ford, being derived from two Saxon words "sciep" (sheep) and "ford" and may date back to earlier than the 6th c. AD. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book in the 11th c. AD and St. Mary's Church in Shefford dates from the end of the 12th c.


The name of the downs perplexes many since they are hills and not at all down. The word is most likely  a corruption of the Saxon word 'duns' which meant dunes or hills.