Unusual names: St.Martin in the Fields

St.Martin in the Fields is a famous London church. It is associated with a well-known musical group The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, which is how I heard of the church.

I have to admit that it took me a while to figure out the noun-ness of "Saint Martin in the fields". Or, spelled more correctly: Saint Martin-in-the-fields. This leads to the question: why was the church named so oddly? Did it need to distinguish itself from other churches named "Saint Martin-riding-on-horseback" or "Saint Martin-rowing-a-boat-on-the-Thames"? Are there other churches similarly named? "Saint Paul-on-the-lake" has a nice ring to it.

One cannot help but admire the ingeniousness of such a naming scheme. Indeed, it's like a Medieval DNS! But it only has two parts, the Saint Name, and the (preposition, natural feature) pair.

It is fun to make your own using a list of Saint names, a list of prepositions, and a list of natural features (another list is here).

Some possible church names:

  • Saint Augustine-atop-the-escarpment
  • Saint Jarlath-beside-the-mesa
  • Saint Raucho-among-the-gullies

(And during my search for a good list of geographical terms like "butte" and "steppe" I ran across this wikipedia "List of Unusual Geographic Names". I hope St. Martin-in-the-fields made one of those lists.)

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