Litchfield Avenue, SM4

PLACE NAME

Takes its name from the Saxon Lichfield monastery. When Anglo-Saxon cleric Chad was made Bishop of Mercia in AD669, he moved his see from Repton to Lichfield, said to be the scene of a thousand Christian martyrdoms during the Roman occupation the area was already a holy site. After his death in AD672, Bishop Headda built a church to house the bones of the now beatified St Chad, which had become a sacred shrine to many pilgrims. The origin of the name Lichfield is two-fold. The first element has a Celtic origin, its Latin form, Letocetum, referred to a nearby Romano-British village and means grey forest, perhaps in reference to the variety of local trees such as ash and elm. This passed into Old English as Lyccid, hence in AD730 the name is recorded as Lyccidfelth. The second element is the Old English word feld, meaning open country, or perhaps in this case, common pasture. Hence, literally translated, the common pasture in or beside the grey wood. In the Middle Ages an alternative but not very sound interpretation was put forward by several authors. They claimed the name derived from the Old English word līc, meaning corpse, which gave rise to the assumption the name referenced the Christian martyrdoms. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.

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