Blennerhasset and Torpenhow

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"Blennerhasset" redirects here. For the family of an almost identical name, see Blennerhassett (disambiguation).
Building at Torpenhow, formerly the Sun Inn

Blennerhasset and Torpenhow is a civil parish in the Allerdale district of Cumbria, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 437, reducing to 423 at the 2011 Census.[1] It includes the villages of Blennerhasset grid reference NY178415 and Torpenhow at NY202397 and the smaller settlement of Kirkland Guards at NY187401.

The local pronunciation of Torpenhow is /trəˈpɛnə/, which causes consternation to those living outside West Cumbria, who would use the more intuitive pronunciation /ˈtɔːrpənh/. Blennerhasset is pronounced blen-RAY-sit rather than the more intuitive BLE-ner-has-set.

A Roman fort[2] is situated on the old Roman Road between Old Carlisle grid reference NY263466 and Papcastle grid reference NY109314


Further information: Torpenhow Hill

'Blennerhasset' derives from the Old Norse 'heysætr', 'hay shieling', which has been added to a British place-name containing 'blaen', 'top'. The '-er-' part in the middle " is best explained by Ekwall [3] on the supposition that the full first element corresponded to Welsh 'blaen-dre', 'hill farm' ".[4]

Torpenhow was etymologized as "Tosti's howe" (with howe reflecting Old Norse haugr "hill, mound") in The place-names of Cumberland (1950),[5] against a tradition identifying the name as an example of tautology in placenames, first proposed by Denton (1688).[6] Denton interpreted tor, pen and how as three elements all with the base meaning "hill".[7] The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames (4th ed. 1960) accepted Denton's torr+pen+howe etymology (against the 1950s "Tosti" proposal), but notes that torr+penn is not tautological, but expresses the idea of "top or breast of the hill", to which howe was added in a (single) tautology.[8]

The local pronunciation of Torpenhow Village is /trəˈpɛnə/, though the more intuitive pronunciation /ˈtɔːrpənh/ is also used.[9]

Blennerhasset Mill[edit]

Blennerhasset Mill (at grid reference NY419185) is on the south bank of the River Ellen. Plans are in hand to re-establish the mill and make it energy neutral by having it produce its own energy from a rebuilt water wheel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Roman Britain
  3. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1922). The place-names of Lancashire. Manchester: Chetham Society. 
  4. ^ Armstrong, A. M.; Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M.; Dickens, B. (1950). The place-names of Cumberland. English Place-Name Society, vol.xxi. part 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 265–66. 
  5. ^ Armstrong, 1950, p.266
  6. ^ Thomas Denton: A Perambulation of Cumberland, 1687-8, including descriptions of Westmorland, the Isle of Man and Ireland
  7. ^ Denton apprarently exaggerated the example to a "Torpenhow Hill", which would quadruple the "hill" element, but the existence of a toponym "Torpenhow Hill" is not substantiated. Francis, Darryl (2003). "The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill". Word Ways. 36 (1): 6–8. 
  8. ^ the same etymology is also accepted y David Mills, 2011, A Dictionary of British Place-Names.
  9. ^ Francis, Darryl (2003). "The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill". Word Ways. 36 (1): 6–8. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°45′15″N 3°15′34″W / 54.754247°N 3.259313°W / 54.754247; -3.259313