Thursday, 6 November 2014

Aston Rogers, Grindley Brook, Cheney Longville - Shropshire is full of secret service agents, adventurers and private detectives!

We were driving around Shropshire a few years’ ago when one of us (it might have been me) realised that many of the towns and villages we were passing through had names that sounded like characters out of 1920s thrillers – you know, square-jawed, upper-class chaps who’d done their bit on the Western front and, finding civilian life a bit of a bore, had gravitated towards the secret service or taken up big-game hunting or had opted for detective work, out-smarting and out-biffing the sort of blackmailers, jewel-thieves and wily foreigners (often Semitic) who tended to prey on their class. I’m thinking of the manly heroes created by the likes of Sapper, John Buchan, Dornford Yates and E. Phillips Oppenheim.

I’m pretty sure it was the name Stanton Lacy that started it all off. Or perhaps it was Dorrington Lane. Or Neen Savage. Anyway, as soon as we’d noticed this phenomenon, every signpost seemed to lend weight to it. If I’m reincarnated, I want to come back as Sibdon Carwood, Roddington (“Roddy”) Heath or Ditton Priors. In case you think I’m exaggerating, here, in alphabetical order, is a list of Shropshire’s men of action – brimming with testosterone and simply dying to give Johnny Foreigner a damned good thrashing:

Acton Burnell
Acton Pigott and his brother, Aston Pigott
Aston Botterell
Aston Eyre
Aston Rogers
Ashford Bowdler
Ashford Carbonel
Apley Forge
Bagley Marsh
Bings Heath
Betton Strange
Breaden Heath
Cheney Longville
Cleobury (“Cleo”) North
Ditton Priors
Dorrington Lane
Donnington Wood
Dudleston Heath
Eaton Constantine
Eaton Mascott
Grindley Brook
Llanfair Waterdine
Lydbury North
Middleton Baggot
Middleton Priors
Montford Bridge
Neen Savage
Preston Gubbals
Rodington Heath
Sibdon Carwood
Stanton Lacy
Stanton Long
Stretton Westwood
Weston Rhyn
Whitcott Keysett

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