Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Jerusalems That Aren't

Whether through buildings recreating holy places in Jerusalem such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre:

London Temple Church. Photograph: Laura Slater

or via towns and places named after the Holy Land, Jerusalem has been remapped onto local landscapes for centuries, and in a bewildering variety of ways. There are Jerusalems in Arkansas, New York and Ohio, to name only a very few!

But it is also easy to get caught out. Here, for example, is the small English village of Palestine in Hampshire.

Palestine in Hampshire. Photograph: Wikipedia
This might seem like a reference to the Holy Land. In fact, the name is a garbled survival of an old Celtic or Cornish-language place name: pen lestyn, meaning ‘chief lodging place’. Jerusalem may be found in more places that you might think, but it is not always there!

Reference: Percy H.Reaney, The Origin of English Place-Names (London, 1960), p.96.

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