Blencowe Families’ Association Newsletter Vol. 24 No. 1 February 2009

To “e” or not to “e”
that is the question? ...

Saturday, 23 June 2001 Cumberland and West Moreland Herald

TO “e” or not to “e” that is the question? The Herald's long-established spelling of Blencowe has again been challenged.

“The spelling is Blencow,” we are told. “Just look at the signposts. Sure enough, the road junction version of the name of the charming little village ends in “cow”. Several directories also leave off the final “e”.

But sound historical records show that the name really is Blencowe, a title which stems from the family who once owned the place. “The Blencowes for long owned Blencowe,” says the book Cumberland Families and Heraldry, by C. Roy Hudleston and R. S. Boumphrey, who devote almost a page to the family.

The late Roy Hudleston, a meticulous researcher and one of the founders of the Cumbria Family History Society, recalled in the book that Thomas and Simon Blencowe were jurors in 1340, Sir Henry Blencowe was High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1608, and Henry Prescott Blencowe sold Blencowe Hall to the Duke of Norfolk in 1802.

The assumption is that, at some time deep in the past, a council official or careless sign writer brought about the mix-up by leaving off the “e”.

In a rural area, where they call a spade a spade, “cowe” became “cow”. Were the cattle grazing in nearby fields an influence on the errant sign painter?

By way of further evidence of the correct version, the village used to have a grammar school and its master, Thomas Fawcett, sent nature notes to the Herald, always from Blencowe GS. Then along came that careless signwriter, not realising that the omission of an “e” would cause consternation in 2001.

Thanks to Allen & Gail Blincoe for the link to the Cumberland and West Moreland Herald

updated: 26 February 2009