Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – The Tumps

The Firs (SO 599 573) - recommended name change from Grendon Green

There has been a recommendation of a Significant Name Change to a hill that is listed in the Tumps, with the height of the hill confirmed by a Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey conducted by Myrddyn Phillips and which took place on the 30th January 2018 in good dry conditions, with no breeze and clear visibility.

The criterion for the list that this recommendation affects is:

Tumps – All British hills with 30m or more of drop.

The list was duplicated, compiled and collated by Mark Jackson and first published in 2009, with the word Tump being an acronym meaning Thirty & Upward Metre Prominences.

The hill is situated in West Gloucestershire, Hereford & Worcester and is placed in Region 38 Welsh Borders, Section 38B with its Parent Hill being Hegdon Hill (SO 585 539).  The hill is positioned above the A 44 road which is to its south, and has the town of Bromyard toward its south-east and the city of Worcester towards its east.

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data from the high point of bounded land known as The Firs

This hill is listed in the Tumps under the name of Grendon Green, which is a name that is prominent near the summit of this hill on Ordnance Survey maps.  When compiling hill lists authors are prone to use a name that appears nearest to its summit on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps, without much consideration for its local or historical confirmation, or whether map placement is appropriate.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map

With time and inclination place-name data can be improved either by asking local people or by examining historical documents, through this form of research the locally known name for the hill or the land where the summit of the hill is situated can usually be found, and in the case of this hill it was the local farmer who gave the name of The Firs for the bounded land where the summit of this hill is situated.

The local farmer is Mary Whitfield Jones who farms from Batchley which is further down the track to the north-east of where the summit of this hill is positioned.  I met Mary whilst surveying this hill as she walked up the track from her farm, she was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and immediately approached me and said; ‘oh you’re another one, I had one over a while ago, like buses you are, I expect you’re looking for the trig pillar, it’s over there buried in the undergrowth, come with me I’ll show you where it is.’  I thanked her for offering to take me to the trig, but explained my interest lay in surveying the high point of this hill and also in its name.

Mary Whitfield Jones

Once Mary realised I had little interest in the trig pillar we concentrated on the name of the hill, she told me that the actual hill had no name, or at least she did not know of one, I asked about the name of Grendon Green, she explained that this is strictly applicable to the land at the end of the track where it forms a T-junction with the A 44 road, and that the end house is named Grendon and that it’s a little disappointing as there isn’t even a triangle of green to lay claim to the name.

I then asked Mary if the bounded land where the Trimble was placed had a name, she told me that it is known as The Firs, by this stage she’d also told me that she had lived at the farm for 42 years and was born and bred in Herefordshire.  I asked about the name of The Firs, Mary explained that the land between the two grazing fields to the west and the east once had conifers on it and that’s why it is known as The Firs, she suggested I should look on the Tithe map (which I do, but mainly for Welsh hills), I then asked her about the two adjacent fields and she said that the field to the west is known as The Harps and the field to the east is known as the Front Meadow.

Therefore, as the person who owns the land where the summit of this hill is situated considers the name of Grendon Green to apply to a small area of land at the T-junction where the track and the A44 road meet, which is beside the house that is named Grendon, and that the bounded land where the data produced by surveying with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 was gathered from is known as The Firs, the recommendation is that the listed name of this hill in the Tumps is changed to The Firs.  With the caveat that if higher ground is situated in the adjacent field to the east of the track the listed name of the hill would then be the Front Meadow.

The full details for the hill are:

Parent Hill:  Hegdon Hill

Recommended Name:  The Firs

Current Listed Name:  Grendon Green 

Summit Height:  253.6m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  149

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 59900 57311 
Drop:  c 41m

Myrddyn Phillips (March 2018)

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