Friday, January 02, 2009

Kings Heath or King's Heath?

The Council's Transportation Department are about to erect various signage directing people to Kings Heath.

They have asked me about whether Kings Heath should have an apostrophe making it King's Heath.

the A-Z  shows  's while Google and the Council websites do not.

I also note that various 19th century maps have the apostrophe.

I need to let the Transportation Department know whether the apostrophe should stay or go by 7th January.

Could residents who have a far greater understanding of apostrophes and the historical orgins of place names let me know their views?


At 2:27 PM, Blogger podnosh said...

At 10:52 PM, Blogger fatboyfat said...

Of course, there could be more than one King.

Kings' Heath, anyone?

At 11:39 AM, Blogger jdk653 said...

The name is first recorded in 1511 as Kyngesheth, meaning "the king's heath". (Source: A.D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford, 2003). The name uses the possessive form of king so should have an apostrophe in its contemporary English two word form. The apostrophe is generally only omitted in compound forms.

In reply to fatboyfat, the reference to a king in placenames usually refers to the original royal ownership, and there would have been only one king on the English throne at a time (and yes I know you were making a joke).

As evidence of my entitlement to comment, my BA Dissertation at the University of Birmingham was on English place-names, although I am a historian not a linguist.

Jack Kirby


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