Rocks and pasties

Last Friday we went out to lunch at the Godolphin Arms Hotel in Marazion. It’s marked as 5 on the aerial view above. The food, the service and the view were wonderful. Unfortunately, the weather was not. From where we sat in the dining room we could see Chapel Rock (4 above) which stands near the landward end of the causeway from St Michael’s Mount (3). When we first sat down, the causeway was uncovered, but pretty soon the tide started washing over it. A group of people were messing about on top of Chapel Rock and suddenly there was a great rush to get off. I reckon that they would have been stranded if they had left it just one minute later. It just goes to show how careful you have to be with the sea and why people are always getting into trouble. Before we left, I encountered some rather soggy lads in the gents’ loo trying to get dry.

In a post about Cornish placenames in 2009 I am afraid I goofed and provided a picture of Chapel Rock and called it Great Hogus. Great Hogus and Little Hogus are at 2 and 1 respectively in the aerial view. I am still uncertain about the meaning and derivation of the word hogus. There is a Cornish word hoggan. Here is what the OED has to say under the entry for the word oggy (= ‘pasty’):

Probably an alteration (see -y suffix6, with loss of initial h-) of Cornish hoggan pastry, pie (18th cent.), further etymology uncertain; perhaps a specific use (via a sense ‘lump of dough’) of an otherwise unattested cognate of Breton hogenn pile, heap, or perhaps cognate with Welsh chwiogen muffin, simnel-cake (15th cent.), of unknown origin.

It’s a bit of a jump from hogus to hoggan, but that’s the best I can come up with.

Photo credit: Ordnance Survey

7 thoughts on “Rocks and pasties

  1. You probably have to grow up with tides to know you have to keep an eye on the water. Fun to see the visitors spreading their towels at the waters edge and then moving back in panic a yard at a time.

    There’s a place called Hugus near Threemilestone and Baldhu – any connection?

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Sidney, but I’m afraid there appears to be no connection. Padel (Cornish Place-name Elements) gives the derivation huel (‘high’) + cos (‘wood’).

  3. Padel is not dissimilar to Weatherhill (Cornish Place Names & Language) in this respect; the latter glosses Hugus as LC “euh gooz” (“above a wood”). For Hogus, Weatherhill gives nothing, as far as I can see (but it is an extraordinarily frustrating book to use …).

  4. Thanks, Philip.

    In a later work, A Concise Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names (2009), Weatherhill seems to have changed his mind. He gives ughgos, glossed as ‘high wood’ No mention of hogus in this work either.

  5. Interesting. Does that mean, I wonder, that Craig Weatherhill has now adopted the Standard Written Form for Cornish in preference to the historically-based orthography of which he was such a strong advocate in 1995, when Cornish Place Names & Language was first written ?

  6. Philip,

    The answer to your question appears to be a qualified yes. As I understand it, SWF allows for both Middle Cornish and Late Cornish forms. In the introduction to his 2009 dictionary Weatherhill states:

    “In every instance the SWF’s Traditional forms have been used…”

    There follows a list of cases where SWF has NOT been followed for various reasons.

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