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South-well or Suth-ul ­— Advertiser readers give their verdict on the Southwell debate

A town and tourist attraction in the Advertiser area have been raked among 15 UK place names that are most often mispronounced.

And the news caused quite a stir among Advertiser readers on Facebook as more than 250 users debated whether Southwell should be pronounced South-well or Suth-ul.

Jake Randall-Brown said: "My mothers family has been living in Southwell since the 1700s and all the way down the generations it has always been pronounce South-well.

Southwell Minster view from Westgate.
Southwell Minster view from Westgate.

"It was said that the new pronunciation came about when Southwell Minster changed the Province from York to Canterbury."

However, Marianne Mellor disagreed.

She said: "My grandmother (born 1888) and her parents and relatives pronounced it Suth-ell.

"They lived and worked in and around Southwell in days gone by so, to me, it will always be Suth-ell."

Multiple Advertiser readers suggested Suth-ul had become more popular because it is often pronounced that way on television.

Sarah Lou Irving wrote: “South-well. It really frustrates me when I hear Suth-ell.

“I started to watch Alan Titchmarsh’s programme about the workhouse and turned it off because he kept saying it.”

Jane Morris' opinion was echoed numerous times under the Facebook post.

She said: "We always said Suth-ul en route and South-well when you get there."

Mandie Elson wrote: “My family are from Southwell and I will always say it the South-well way.

“It’s people who have moved to the area in the past that decided to call it Suth-ull and lazy speakers.

“Is it Air-ham or Aver-ham? The list continues and we will all say it different but personally it’s South-well.”

Driving experts LeaseCar.uk, creators of the survey, said Suth-ul was the correct pronunciation, to the despair of the majority of readers.

Belvoir Castle, correctly pronounced Beaver Castle according to the survey, rather than Bel-vwar Castle, was also among 13 other baffling names.

“The English language can be challenging at best,” said Tim Alcock, of LeaseCar.uk.

“Not only do we have words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings ­— read, bank, bat and bear are good examples ­— to complicate things further, some words contain heaps of letters that just aren’t needed."

To see the full list of hard-to-pronounce place names, click here.

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