Ravenscroft SP2

30/11/2008

Ravenscroft is part of the Ridings Mead Estate to the South of Salisbury.

In common with most of the other roads on the estate, ‘Ravenscroft’ is a ‘portmanteau’ word – that is to say a word formed by joining two other words together.

The theme for the road names on Ridings Mead is to join the name of a bird with the name of a geographical feature, for example ‘swallow’ and ‘mead’ to make Swallowmead.

Ravenscroft follows the same pattern, although unlike ‘Swallowmead’, a possessive ‘s’ has been inserted. Some of the roads have the possessive ‘s’ and some don’t, possibly it depends on whats sounds better. In the case of Ravenscroft however, the ‘s’ follows the usual spelling of the existing word ‘ravenscroft’.

Raven

The raven is part of the crow family, which also includes carrion crows and magpies.

They are large birds which feed on carrion, or smaller birds and animals. The raven is about a third larger than the crow [1]. It can be up to 25 inches long and can have a wingspan of four feet[2].

Raven intelligence

Ravens, and crows, are believed to be particularly intelligent. Some scientists believe them to be as clever as dogs [3], and caged ravens can be taught to ‘speak’ like parrots [4]

The Raven as a symbol

The raven is a symbolically important bird in many cultures. One could argue that this is inevitable given its size, intelligence, colour and the fact that it’s a carrion bird.

Perhaps the most famous raven in popular culture is Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven‘, which flies up from the afterlife’s ‘plutonian shore’ to torment the narrator.



The most famous actual ravens, on the other hand, are probably the ravens of the Tower of London. The famous tradition that the Tower (or the monarchy, or England) will fall if the Ravens leave may be fairly recent, and may post-date Poe’s poem [5]

Ravenscroft

‘Ravenscroft’ is also a surname – the real name of the late John Peel, the Radio 1 Disc Jockey was John Ravenscoft.

Footnotes

  1. American Society of Crows and Ravens []
  2. Ravens, crows, wildlife information – DesertUSA []
  3. Ravens – Discover the Brainpower of the Bird in Black – Corvid Intelligence . Nature | PBS []
  4. ASCAR []
  5. Tower’s raven mythology may be a Victorian flight of fantasy | UK news | The Guardian []

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