22 SEPTEMBER 1906, Page 14


[To THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—In a review of Mr. T. W. Shore's book which appears in the Spectator of September 15th the reviewer says:— " It is very interesting to note that in Sussex, where the custom of borough English chiefly survives, we find continually the syllable mer as part of place-names. Now mir or seer is the Russian or Mongol name for a villaga community."

It is quite true that mer (for older mere) is of frequent occurrence as an element of Sussex place-names. In Domes- day we find Bergemere, Burgemere (later Bormer, Balmer), Falemere (now Falmer), Chemere (now Keymer), Dodimere, Felesmere, Langemere, Nivemere, Stanmere (now Stanmer), Tangemere, Welesmere, Esmerewic. Camden mentions Cuck- iner as a. place in Sussex near a large lake. But this pier (or mere) is not peculiar to Sussex. We find it both as an element in place-names and as an a.ppellative in various places from the Firth of Forth to the English Channel. Mere is simply an old English word for a sheet of water, the word which occurs in Windermere. Any connexion with the Russian mir is an impossibility. No Slavonic word has ever formed a part of any English place-name.—I am, Sir, &c., A. L. MAYHEW.