There is an uncanny quality to medieval city names, they are familiar to our ears and yet come from a time unrecognizable to our own. And yet, we can imagine ourselves living in these places, filled as they were with humans with problems and desires like ours. A good medieval town name should evoke an image of yourself living there, with a character and a backstory springing to mind in its wake.
Good Medieval Town Names
Stodgy, consonant heavy and faintly recognisable, there is an indusputably archaic and church-like quality to these names. They all seem like the places an edict would be named after, or a rebellion quashed.
Peace in England was nothing more than a ceasefire, as the Saxons set to rebuild their scattered nation following the Normans devastating invasion. The fortifications at Down End Castle was one of many reasons William’s men feared walking into Somerset.
The home of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, nobody expected this sleepy Bavaria country town would give birth to Frederick the Second, the only atheist Holy Roman Emperor.
English Medieval Town Names
England, following the collapse of the Roman Empire in Europe, was still one of the most relatively cosmopolitan kingdoms in the medieval world. With settlements dotted throughout its green and mild landscape, there are plenty of places to set your medieval adventure.
The siege of Skipton by the fierce Scots was broken only when the city was fortified with stone. The only way in was the “Baker’s Hole”, which could fit only a loaf of bread.
- Acton Burnell
A Norman granted land by Edward the Confessor before the invasion of 1066, Richard was well placed to make his castle a bustling and vibrant community competing for the heart of Shropshire.
French Medieval Town Names
Fraught with religious civil wars, bloodthirsty nobles and vast masses of peasants continually repressed, Medieval France was a tense place to be. Each of these cities has a history of uprising and bloody retribution.
The small Huegenot family that had called Apremont home for three generations were not surprised to have been asked to leave. Still, leaving home felt as painful as it had the last time.
As the Kings of France enjoyed their brie and bread, they watched the sun set over the town of the same name. Little did they know of how one day the sun would set on the last King of France.
German Medieval Town Names
Seeing as English is a descendent of archaic German, places in Germany have an ancient quality when translated. They are hauntingly similar to familiar place names in the United States, but yet cannot be understood entirely.
They had been told the Christians prayed to a corpse, and denied every last fairy and river god was true but theirs. But this new fellow in the town center, holding in his hands the first book they’d ever seen, had some ideas worth listening to.
- Bischoff Theintz
- Ioachim Thael
A spa town, being in Honersdorf was not too unlike the spa experiences of today. The soldiers of the imperial army certainly enjoyed their stay.
We are so grateful that you have taken time out of your day to read this article, and we hope that you have gained some inspiration to start your own Medieval fantasy adventure. Now, at a moment’s notice you can transport yourself into the bloody, paranoid and yet whimsical world of medieval europe. Please leave a comment below with any facts or stories about the towns mentioned, or any new medieval cities you have found that have tickled your fancy. And of course, don’t forget to share this article with anyone you know who might want their own trip to the distant past.