Activity: Every name tells a story

Skip to section navigation
This is an activity for you to lead either in the classroom or on a visit to one of the New Forest places named in the activity sheet e.g. Beaulieu/Lymington/Hythe
Who for?
Key stage 2 - England and Wales
Level  - Scotland
Who by?
This activity is for you to take, using the resources below and activity sheet (print out PDF).

Activity aims:

To help pupils understand that place names can carry with them clues about the past. They will learn that names carry an imprint of the history and geography of a place and of their ancestors who lived there.

Learning outcomes: the clue is in the name!

Names and history

Pupils will learn about names can come from different historical periods:

  • Roman/Latin names - in use from cAD43
  • Saxon names - in use from c AD500
  • Medieval names - in use from 1066

Names and geography

They will also discover that names can be derived from the geography of a place:

  • is it on a river
  • was there once a ford or bridge there
  • is it on a hill
  • was it in a forest clearing

Names and nature/biology

Place names can also reflects the plants or species that once thrived in that place:

  • what plants once grew there
  • was it once the site of a wood

Names and work/industry

Place names can also reflect the type of activities that took place there

  • was there a mill there
  • was it the site of a market
  • was there a farm there
  • was it an important trading centre

What you will need:

  1. activity worksheet - every_name_tells_a_story.pdf
  2. maps of New Forest showing relevant place names
  3. paper and pens for making field notes

For classroom activity:

  1. activity worksheet
  2. internet access - to research New Forest place names as here
  3. maps of New Forest showing place names
  4. paper and pencil to complete names quiz

Curriculum links (England):