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24 ORIGIN OP THE NAME,
Before proceeding any further, it will be proper to give
the definition of some ancient English and Scottish words
which are in some way connected with this subject : viz., a
" town " is a settlement containing sufficient inhabitants to be
entitled to a market ; a " village " is a settlement of somewhat
less inhabitants than a town ; a " hamlet " is less than a
village ; and a " court" is the manor of a nobleman or gentle-
man, containing the mansion and dwellings of less magni-
tude for the residence of his retainers and peasants. Towns
or villages in England, ending with " ham," were once ham-
lets ; and the first part of the word, in most cases, though
not always, was the name of the principal owner. In the
course of time, the last syllable was dispensed with ; and, in
some cases, the word " hamlet " has become wholly disused.
In others, the orthography is slightly altered, so that the
original cannot be identified without care and attention.
As for instance : the word " Renham " was, originally,
" Reed's hamlet ; " and, in the course of time, the last sylla-
ble and one of the " e's " were omitted, the name being pro-
nounced Redham ; and, by substituting an " n " for a " d," it
became Renham. A similar fate has followed the names of
many other places. Other words have been not only abbre-
viated, but have entirely lost their original significance.
Thus Sussex was South Saxony, or the southern settlement
of the Saxons in England ; Essex was East Saxony, or the
eastern settlement ; Wessex was the western settlement ; Mid-
dlesex was the middle settlement ; and Norfolk was the north
folks. Norwich was the northern bailiwick, or sheriffdom ;
Canterbury was the place of the principal castle for the
kingdom of Kent, as " bury " meant castle ; and Kent has
been somewhat altered by substituting an e for an a. Dor-
chester meant the place of keeping the chest, or public
depository, for the county of Dorset. The word Exeter
meant, " towards the river Exe." Newcastle denoted the

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