Armchair Travel with Sharon
 (Chix 68-71, 6950th Security Group)

Back to Special Features


 Column Number Two
The response for village name origins has been good. The e-mail bag has Ralph and Aileen Book or Aurora, Colorado, and another Chixter asking, respectively, about Toddington and Flitton. Name origins are taken from "The Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names", by A.D. Mills, and is quoted here as best as possible.

"Toddington Beds. Totingedone 1086 (DB). ‘Hill of the family or followers of a man called Tuda’. OE pers. Name + -inga- + dun."

"Flitton Beds. Flittan c.985, Flichtam (sic) 1086 (DB). Obscure in origin and meaning."

I’ll see if I can find more on ‘obscure’ Flitton and report at a later time.

Did you know? In "Pigot and Co’s British Atlas: Counties of England", the map of Bedfordshire shows "Chicksand Abbey" and "Chicksand Wood". And to quote this interesting volume, "the climate of Bedfordshire is experienced to be exceedingly healthy; the air is salubrious, and its temperature genial and invigorating."


British Museum Egyptian Artifacts on Tour in US

Didn’t see the marvelous Egyptian Collection of the British Museum while stationed at Chicksands, yet find Egyptian artifacts fascinating? Even if you did, you may want to revisit them. A stellar select collection of these items is touring the US now, perhaps at a major art museum near you. Below is a tour schedule for this incredible venue, and

can fill you in on other details. It it sure to not disappoint. Tut, tut!

Toledo Museum of Art, March 2-May 27, 2001;
Wonders: Memphis International Cultural Series, June 28-October 21, 2001;
Brooklyn Museum of Art, November 23, 2001-February 24, 2002;
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, April 12-July 7, 2002; The Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, August 10-November 3, 2002;
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, December 22, 2002-March 16, 2003;
The Field Museum, April 26-August 10, 2003;
Walters Art Museum, September 21, 2003-January 4,2004.

Admission charge is required and may vary from city to city. This venue is certain to draw a good crowd; plan accordingly.




I'm flattered to have been asked to contribute a small column to this website. As a fairly frequently traveler to the UK and other places, and as an inveterate librarian with a multitude of interests, I'll do my best to write an informative column. Invariably, I bring back several books from my wanderings, and I've amassed a lovely collection of Bedfordshire-area titles. This column gives me the opportunity to share some of that Chicksands area trivia and knowledge with former Chixters. Of course, London always has much to offer, so I plan to include new museum openings, special sights, that sort of thing, from that incredible city. Anyway, I hope you'll find the column of interest. Feel free to provide feedback and suggestions for topics to cover.


Village Name Origins
Column Number One

What Chixter wouldn't want enjoy a little armchair travel back to the land and villages that many of us remember so fondly? As many of you, I have been enchanted with English village names. Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Conquest, and Meppershall are three in particular near Chicksands that I've always wondered about.


The "Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names", by A.D. Mills, which I will quote here in full (as much as permits), gives us the origins of these three fascinating names. Some origins are sure to amuse, yet others seem inherently logical, once we look at its derivation. Browsing this dictionary, one is impressed with the richness of the language we know as English; at least one of these names is sure to strike a chord and take you back, to your favorite village or pub, and a good reminisce.


Houghton Conquest:

"Houghton, a common name, usually 'farmstead on or near a ridge or hill-spur', OE (Old English).....Houghton Conquest, Beds. Houstone 1086 (Domesday Book), Houghton Conquest 1316. Manorial affix from the Conquest family, here in the 13th century."

Leighton Buzzard:
"Leighton, 'leek or garlic enclosure, herb garden, OE (Old English) leac-tun.... Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Lestone 1086 (Domesday Book), Letton Busard 1254. Manorial affix is from a family called Busard, no doubt landowners here in the 13th century."

Meppershall: Beds.
"Maperteshale 1086 (Domesday Book). Probably 'nook of the maple-tree'. OE (Old English) maepel-treow + halh."

Leighton Buzzard:
Surprised about Leighton Buzzard? So was I. As you recall, the Domesday Book was, to quote "The New Encyclopedia Britannica", "the original record or summary of William I the Conqueror's survey of England. By contemporaries the whole operation was known as "the description of England," but the popular name Domesday-i.e., "doomsday," when men face the record from which there is no appeal - was in general use by the mid-12th century. The survey, in the scope of its detail and the speed of its execution, was perhaps the most remarkable administrative accomplishment in the Middle Ages."

Other news: Remember C&A, the department store with the distinctive blue/rose pink/cream-colored logo? The chain has ceased operations, following financial losses, after 75 years on the high street. Bedford had a C&A store in the main shopping area. Marks & Spencer has also had tough times, and has sold off Brooks Brothers, the clothing operation it has owned in the US. Marks & Spencer also owns Kings Supermarkets in the US.



About Sharon Lee Butcher


Sharon Lee Butcher - Biographical sketch

Sharon was stationed at RAF Chicksands from Oct 68 - Jun 71, 6950th Security Group. An R70250, she worked in Materiel Division, Base Supply Building, then the Hill. A USAF one-termer from Wapakoneta, Ohio, Sharon holds a BS in Animal Science (pre-veterinary) from Ohio State University, as well as an MLS (medical librarianship/information science) from Case Western Reserve University. She has worked at Ohio State University Hospital, and was a candidate for a library position in a World Health Organization library in Rome, Italy. She has worked primarily in science/technology libraries, with an emphasis in polymer science, engineering, regulatory/toxicology, patents, aeronautical engineering, and specialty chemicals. Her travels have taken her to Europe many times, as well as to Canada, the Yucatan, Australia, New Zealand. When Sharon finds spare time, she enjoys travel, needlework, cooking, creative writing, and reading ((fiction by Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth), history, interior design, true crime, and forensic science). She plans to visit Provence (France) this fall and begin another masters program at Cumberland University. Future travel will include India, Egypt, and Peru. She also participates in the Special Libraries Association, the American Association of University Women, and Toastmasters International. A softy for canines, Sharon has adopted Mr. Opie, Mr. Angel, and Miss Blackie, which share her country club Cape-Cod home, with a view of the lovely Cumberland Mountains.

ed. note: She also has a touch for Softee ice cream!

Back to home page