Shitterton is a small village of about 50 households located in Dorset, England, which is routinely cited as one of the worst place names in England. However, unlike almost all other terrible English place names, which got their names from something innocuous that only sounds bad in modern English, Shitterton's name actually means exactly what it sounds like.

It turns out that when the village was established more than 1000 years ago, the tiny stream that flows through town was used as a convenient means of disposing of excrement and was thus named the "Shitter." The earliest mention of the name of this village actually appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Scatera, a Norman French rendering of the town's Old English name Scite, meaning "shit." The Old English word scite became schitte in Middle English and then shit in modern English. Thus the name "Shitterton" means something like "the town on the stream used as an open sewer."

The town seems to have borne its scatological name continuously down through the centuries, with variant spellings including "Schitereston" (1285), "Shyterton" (1332), "Chiterton" (1456), and "Shetterton" (1687). In the 19th century, prudish Victorians attempted to rename the town "Sitterton." Although the name did not stick, it survives in a few place names, such as the street Sitterton Close and the nearby Sitterton Wood.

Interestingly, the nearby river to which the stream that ran through Shitterton connects is called the "River Piddle," with "piddle" being an Old English word of uncertain meaning. The Victorians weren't happy with that name either, and tried (and failed) to rename it to "River Puddle."

But in any case, today the residents of Shitterton seem proud of their hamlet's unusual name. When Shitterton was voted "Britain's worst place-name" in a survey carried out by genealogy website Find My Past in 2012, just beating Scratchy Bottom (a valley also located in Dorset) and Brokenwind (a hamlet in Aberdeenshire, Scotland), local residents took it as a point of pride.

Their one complaint in recent years is that people kept stealing the town's metal sign, which had to be replaced every year or so at great expense. Finally, in 2010, the residents of the town chipped in to purchase a much-harder-to-steal sign, carved into a 1.5-ton block of Purbeck stone.

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