Sona Merg

Photo credit: Mehrajmir13. Used under this licence.

It is rather obvious that the place in the picture is not in Cornwall.

Back in 2009 I did a post about some puzzling Cornish place-names. Today one of those puzzles has been solved. Sona Merg is a large house a few minutes walk from where I live. Nearby there is a small estate of modern houses called Sona Merg Close. Today I went to an exhibition of local history — photographs, documents etc. There was one folder about Sona Merg which explained that the name is Kashmiri and means ‘golden valley’. The house was apparently built and named by someone who had returned from service in India in the 19th century.

Actually, the Wikipedia entry gives the name as Sonamarg, which is very probably why I couldn’t find it in 2009. Also the meaning in Wikipedia is ‘golden meadow’. You can see part of the area in the picture.

6 thoughts on “Sona Merg

  1. Isn’t it marvellous and satisfying when a mystery is solved like this!

  2. Graham,

    It certainly is. And now I have another solution to a mystery. Watch this space.

  3. Wikipedia is right, it should be Sonamarg, a village NE of Shrinagar. We’ve been researching the history of the house for the last 50 years or so. The information in Bill Dale’s folder came from us. The house was built around 1905/6. It is not in the 1886 OS map, and is given as a blob in the 1906 map, possibly unfinished, as there is no driveway marked. Walter Keen, a pharmacist, and his family were living here at the time of the 1911 Census, followed by the Opies (1917-1960) and then us. The estate was quite considerable at one time, comprising the land now Hea Close (built in the 1960s) and Sona Merg Close(1980s). We are still trying to find who built it, because for a number of reasons, we do not believe it was Mr. Keen.

  4. Silvia,

    Thank you very much for this interesting information. I hope your search for the original builder of your house comes to a successful conclusion.

  5. I believe that in Cornish Sona Merg means blessed or shining Lady. I have just moved to Heamoor on the corner of Hea Road and Nevada Street a few yards from Sona Merg . Nevada refers to Nevada city California ( PZ’s us twin) NOT Nevada state and closeby Melbourne Terrace is named after Melbourne Australia where cousin Jacks went to find work sim Nevada

  6. Well, in Cornish, ‘mergh’ means daughter (and by extension can mean woman), and ‘sona’ is a verb meaning ‘bless’ or ‘charm’.
    However the morphology and syntax of Sona Merg(h) would be wrong in Cornish. First off, the adjectival would normally follow the noun; then we would expect a form of the verb that could be used as an adjectival. Even if we allowed the adjectival to precede the noun, then we would expect a mutation on the noun.

    So, I suspect the Kashmiri solution is correct, and the resemblance to Cornish is accidental.

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