After months of wrangling between life-long villagers and affluent newcomers, a High Court judge has ruled that the name of the tiny Dorset village of Schroatham should correctly be pronounced ‘scrotum’.
The dispute around the name of the village had originated following an influx of newcomers to the area attracted by newly built executive homes and high-speed rail links. ‘We’ve always called it Scrotum, but apparently it’s not ‘aspirational sounding’ enough for these townies,’ explained villager Jess Bryant, who also reported that as newcomers descended upon the village, there were a number of attempts to influence the accepted pronunciation by loudly and repeatedly referring to the village in the pub and shops as ‘Shroo-tum’, and latterly ‘Shroam’.
However, after this effort failed to catch on, the new arrivals took a different approach and joined the Parish Council en masse, forcing the upmarket housing development on the hill to be renamed Hinchcliffe Magna. When locals wrote ‘twinned with Rektum, USSR’ underneath the new signs, battle lines were drawn for a long and costly court battle.
Finally, after considerable research, the judge’s decision was swayed by evidence uncovered by historians showing that the town was named in the 10th Century, after the Anglo-Saxon word Shkoot’m, meaning ‘ball-bag’. The 17th century traveller and diarist William Pearce also referred to the village, which lies between the hilltop settlement of Pizzle’s Pike and the clay-pits of Nether Hole, in his book ‘Willie’s Wayside Wanderings’ describing it as ‘an unfightly and fmellee bulge on the landfcape’, while noting that the local cheese, ‘Schroatham’s Rind’, was renowned for its properties as a hangover cure.
‘It serves them right for trying to throw their weight around like that’ mused lifelong resident Reg Balmer, over a lunchtime pint at The Twisted Sow. ‘The thing that cracks me up is that they’ve spent an extra fifty grand each to live up on that hill; now they still only live in Upper ‘Scrotum’ rather than Lower. Even better: half of them live in Bonnets Lane, and all the signs for that say ‘Cul de Sac’.