10 Cornish place-names you’re probably pronouncing wrong

The myriad of languages and people that have lived in Cornwall has left us with a somewhat baffling array of place-names.  The county is renowned for some of the strangest names in England, so here we’ve pulled together some that we know about.  Have we left one out?  Do you disagree?  Leave a comment below!



This is one where there’s no debate.  The name of this charming fishing port is ‘Foy’, not ‘Fow-ee’!


Our local market town is pronounced in various ways, even by locals.  Most Cornish folk will tell you it’s ‘LAN-sun’, not ‘LAUNCE-tun’ or even ‘LAN-stun’, but all 3 variations will be recognised.


There’s an Iron Age village at Chysauster (near Penzance) which is well worth a look if you’re in the area.  There’s a little confusion over the pronunciation, but most will tell you it’s ‘chy-ZOY-ster’, not ‘Chy-saw-ster’.


Hands-up, I’ve been pronouncing this place wrong my entire life.  Apparently the name of these beautiful gardens is pronounced ‘TREE-ba’, not ‘Tre-BAR’.  Who knew?


Another botanical mispronunciation.  Although most locals say ‘HELL-iggan’, technically it’s ‘Hell-IG-gun’.


Overlooking St. Michael’s Mount, you would have thought it’s popular enough to be pronounced correctly.  It’s ‘Maraz-EYE-un’, not ‘Ma-RAZ-ion’.


This market town’s name is a mystery to many visitors.  We can confirm it’s ‘Liss-KARD’, not ‘LISS-kard’ and certainly not ‘LISS-keard’.


The second highest point of Cornwall is a rough tor, strewn with boulders, but don’t let that fool you.  It’s ‘ROW-tuh’, not ‘ROW-tor’, or ‘RUFF-tor’.


A trendy surf spot that’s also a hit for the families.  It’s ‘Pole-ZETH’, not ‘Pol-ZEETH’.


With Bideford (‘Biddy-fud’) up the coast, and Wadebridge (Wade-bridge) down, it’s not surprising that people get confused.  Most locals will insist it’s ‘WID-muth’, not ‘WIDDY-muth’ and definitely not ‘WIDE-mouth’.



Not a place-name, and not really even a Cornish name, as it was made up by Winston Graham.  However, according to Cornish speech patterns, this should be pronunced ‘Pole-DARK’, not ‘POL-dark’.  To be fair, the series do try and make that distinction.