From the Darlington & Stockton Times of October 6, 1923: The D&S Times of 100 years ago this week was reporting that the vicar of Hawes, the Reverend CF Richardson, had thrown himself into “the interesting but extremely laborious task” of copying the old parish registers which went back to 1695.

“His task is considerably increased by the illegibility of the writing, which in many places is impossible to decipher owing to the faded ink,” said the paper.

With the vicar pondering for half-an-hour or more on a single word, the paper reported on his other theories that Gayle was the “upperdale capital” because “it was a flourishing little place before Hawes had risen out of the depths of the hawthorn forest”.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Hawes in 1953: is it named after a hedge of hawthorns or a neck of land?

And it was from this hawthorn forest, said the D&S, that Hawes – or “Harseside”, as it was originally – took its name.

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“The name is a dialectical variant of the old English word for “hedge”,” said the D&S, “but tradition says that a forest of hawthorns gave name to the settlement, and it probably means “a hedge of hawthorns”.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Hawes in December 1953: is it named after a hedge of hawthorns or a neck of land?

Read more local history stories in our dedicated Looking Back section

As a reader of Looking Back might imagine, as we write this, we are surrounded by groaning shelves of toponymic dictionaries that have been published in the last 100 years explaining how places came to get their names.

Not one of these dictionaries links Hawes to hawthorns. Everyone of them says the name comes from an Old English and Old Norse word “hals”, which means a “neck of land”.

This can either be a pass between two mountains, or a projecting headland.

Perhaps you can’t believe everything you read in old newspapers.