English town origins

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English town origins

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:32 am

I'd like to know where the English town name 'Mortlake' originated from. Something tells me it could be sinister...i.e death-lake etc

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English town origins

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:46 am

First jump in and test the waters, so that we may make an
informed statement.
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English town origins

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:01 pm

.. I can see where you are coming from with the association between "mort" and the French word for "death" .. however one English meaning for "mort" is as follows >>
mort:
NOUN: The note sounded on a hunting horn to announce the death of a deer.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, death, from Old French, from Latin mors, mort-. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.)
.. could there be an early association between the hunting of deer as they came to drink at the lake and hence an abundance of morts being blown ?? .. Mort is also listed as a surname and hence the Mortlake could be named after a particular family, ie Mort's Lake .. just to keep you thinking ..
Wizard of Oz, Australia. 13/11/03

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English town origins

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:15 pm

The ‘Domesday Book’ (‘domesday’ is an archaic form of ‘doomsday’) was commissioned in 1085 by William the Conqueror who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in 1086 and contained massive and detailed records (e.g. village names, numbers of serfs, how much pasture land, how much woodland, how many mills, . . .) for thousands of settlements in the English counties south of the Scottish border. In his book ‘A Dictionary of English Place-Names’ A.D. Mills has used this source and others to come up with information on place-names origins. The following is the entry for Mortlake:

MORTLAKE: Mortelage 1086 (Doomsday Book). Probably ‘stream of a man called Morta,’ Old English personal name + lacu. Alternatively the first element may be Old English mort, ‘young salmon or similar fish.’
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Ken G – November 12, 2003



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English town origins

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:29 pm

"Mort" is still used in colloquial speech in the U.S. I have heard it used by country folk and it means a "great number" or a "great many." Its use may be as in "I saw a mort of elk" or "I saw a great mort of elk (an even larger number of elk. It's opposite is a "mite" meaning a bit or small amount. Don't know if that applies to Mortlake. Is it a large lake?

Leif, WA, USA
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