In the curious land of hamlets, villages, towns and cities

Bury St Edmunds

A somewhat haphazard explanation of getting to grips with English settlement descriptions, so that, if you ever visit here you will only feel lost, just for a little bit and you will recall this helpful blog post and re-read it, then, lo and behold, the mist will rise and all will be clear about this part of the world….or something like that.


I would put a small wager down that many people living in England today, English or other, cannot accurately describe the various settlement types without reverting to the internet for some assistance. So here is my feeble attempt, up for corrections from you out there more knowledgeable than I.

Bury St Edmunds

A Hamlet; is a group of houses, usually in rural countryside areas – yes we have rural lands – and what is special about this type of settlement is there is not usually a Pub or Hotel nor a Post Office nor a Church and often less than 500 people living there. England actually has places where people live and there are zero pubs to be found! Oh yes, although housing developers nowadays like to name new locations as a Hamlet, usually, a Hamlet is more than one hundred years old and in many cases date back to medieval times. I guess there may just be some correlation between pubs and population size:)


A Village; is larger than a Hamlet, has a Pub, or two or three, a Hotel, Inn or Lodge, a Post Office and has a Church and the population size is usually greater than 500 but less than 5000 and a Village is usually situated in rural areas and can also be found close to Towns. More pubs equals more people:)


A Town; is much larger than a Village, it has Districts or Suburbs, has many Hotels and usually more than one Post Office and many Pubs or Bars, hence, the population size can be 200,000 people or just maybe due to the poor weather there is some causal effect from pubs to population size.


A City; can be the same or greater population size as a Town and have similar infrastructure and have Boroughs which are areas like a District. Cities usually have a Cathedral or fall under a Bishop’s Diocese (area of responsibility) and Cities were originally places that people settled and were of strategic significance during the formation and development of England through the ages. Definitely, a cause and effect relationship between pubs and population size,  the evidence is overwhelming.


A County; is similar to a State or a Province and is a large area compromising of Hamlets, Villages, Towns and Cities.

I have only provided a layman’s view and non-technical attempt to help some of you with some idiosyncrasies of this tiny and complex island and I deliberately exclude the rest of the United Kingdom from the above and only include an English approach, as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there are further differences and even more pubs per square mile.

Categories: Destinations, England, Europe, Transport, UKTags: , , , , , , ,

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