Cold Harbour

Posted by James Briggs on October 22, 2005

In Reply to: Cold Harbour posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 21, 2005

: : There are several places named "Cold Harbour", but what exactly is a Cold Harbour? I did hear something about a connection with Queen Elizabeth the first.

: : Can anyone enlighten me?
: A "cold harbour" was a shelter for wayfarers constructed by the roadside, which was not occupied or manned by anyone and therefore didn't provide meals and comfort - just a rather dank chilly roof to protect you against the weather. "Harbour" here has the archaic meaning "shelter". There is no connection to Elizabeth I that I can think of. (VSD)

There are several possible explanations for the name - in fact one professor in the north of England allegedly found more than 100 suggestions. There's no certain origin; in fact there may not be a single origin. However, my favourite, supported by the geography of Bristol, where I live, and which has two examples of the name, is from Norman French 'col d'arbre' - 'ridge of trees'. 'Col' is still used in the sense of a 'ridge' is certain English phrases - 'the south col of Everest' is an example.