14 Yorkshire Place Names You’re Pronouncing Wrong

Ok, so we might be King when it comes to stunning towns and villages, but when it came to actually naming them – things got a little weird at some point in history. Not because any of them are particularly strange – although we do have those too – but because somewhere along the way, many of us lost the ability to pronounce them. Here’s our guide to some of the most mispronounced places in Yorkshire, and how to actually say them.

1. Keighley

Cavendish Street (A6035), Keighley
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © G Laird – geograph.org.uk/p/5801237

You might be tempted to say ‘Key-ley’, but, quite frankly, you’d be wrong. This West Yorkshire town is pretty used to by now, but it’s actually ‘Keith-ley’.

2. Slaithwaite

Slaithwaite, West Riding of Yorkshire
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Dr Neil Clifton – geograph.org.uk/p/849751

It’s a personal bugbear of mine when people get this one wrong, but Slaithwaite isn’t as simple as ‘slaith-wait’, it’s actually pronounced more like ‘sla-wit’.

3. Brough

Brough Station and car park
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © N Chadwick – geograph.org.uk/p/4550013

There’s a number of ways this one could go wrong. ‘Brow’, ‘Bro’, ‘Brurg’. All of them would be very, very wrong. Brough is actually pronounced ‘bruff’.

4. Market Weighton

Market Place, Market Weighton
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Pauline E – geograph.org.uk/p/3403282

One of the most commonly mispronounced locations in Yorkshire – Market Weighton is actually pronounced as ‘wee-ton’, not ‘weigh-ton’.

5. Hessle

The Weir, Hessle, Yorkshire
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Bernard Sharp – geograph.org.uk/p/4492534

This one will bug many an East Yorkshire local, but while it’d be easy to say ‘Hessle’, it’s pronounced as ‘hezzel’. Kind of like how Hull is actually Ull. It’s a Yorkshire thing.

6. Masham

Masham, Chapman Lane
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Dixon – geograph.org.uk/p/4059436

Thought this lovely Yorkshire spot had something in common with your favourite potatoes? Wrong. Masham is pronounced ‘mas-am’. Sorry to disappoint.

7. Haworth

Black Bull, Haworth
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Dixon – geograph.org.uk/p/2531514

Oddly, quite a lot of people make the mistake of thinking this is ‘Hay-worth’ or ‘Har-worth’. It’s not. It’s ‘Ha-wuth’. It’s basically the one time something is actually spelt the way it’s supposed to sound.

8. Rievaulx

Rievaulx Abbey
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Tyers – geograph.org.uk/p/5630794

This one can be kinda daunting just looking at it, but it’s actually pretty easy. Rievaulx is pronounced ‘rie-vo’. No fancy L’s or X’s pronounced here.

9. Sowerby

The River Calder at Sowerby Bridge
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Humphrey Bolton – geograph.org.uk/p/4433892

Another one that looks easy on sight, Sowerby Bridge is actually ‘Sa-werby Bridge’.

10. Todmorden

Rochdale Road, Todmorden
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Dixon – geograph.org.uk/p/2432355

Read Todmorden out loud, and it’s likely that you’ve said ‘tod-more-den’. It’s actually more of a ‘tod-mu-den’.

11. Marske-by-the-Sea

Marske-by-the-Sea Harbour
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Mick Garratt – geograph.org.uk/p/634757

Marske-by-the-Sea is an odd one if you don’t know the area. Upon looking at it, it’s easy to mistake it for ‘marksey’ or ‘marks’ – but it’s actually even simpler than that. It’s pronounced ‘mask’ by the sea.

12. Pontefract

Credit: Pontefract

Commonly known as ‘Ponty’ or ‘Pont-ee-fract’ nowadays, traditionally, it’s actually pronounced as ‘pum-frit’. Don’t shoot the messenger.

13. Staithes

Credit: Unsplash

This one might be a little mind-blowing for some, but the picturesque seaside spots Staithes is actually pronounced by locals as ‘steers’.

14. Allerton

Chellow Dene lower reservoir
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © David Spencer – geograph.org.uk/p/37348

Commonly mistaken for ‘al-lerton’, this West Yorkshire location is actually pronounced as ‘Ol-erton’.

[Featured image: Road sign near Old Byland
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Philip Barker – geograph.org.uk/p/1583860]

Read more: 14 Things That Will Annoy Anyone From Yorkshire