In article <3gjelc$>, Pete Kimball <> wrote:

Richard Sabey ( wrote:

The author's surname was Awdry, not Ardrey.
The name Sodor cames from the (real) diocese of Sodor and Man. "Man" here means The Isle of Man. Rev. Awdry imagined an island of Sodor between Lancashire and The Isle of Man.
Correct. There is a diocese of Sodor and Man, which contains an Isle of Man but NO Isle of Sodor or indeed any place of that name. To Rev. Awdry, a clergyman of the Church of England (see, not a silly question after all), the non-existent island of Sodor became a natural place to set his stories.

But equally as interesting is the question of how the -diocese- got its unusual name. Back in the 1100's or so, the diocese contained not also Man but other islands in the southern Hebrides and was called 'Swdwr' (more or less), meaning 'the southern ones'. Then, at a later date, everything except the Isle of Man was detached.

Later on, in the reign of Henry VIII or so, by which time everyone had forgotten what 'Swdwr' or 'Sodor' had originally meant, some copyist, believing that 'Sodor' must be some island and knowing that the diocese contained (at least) Man, began calling it the diocese of 'Sodor AND Man', quite by mistake. He was emulated by future copyists, and the name has survived to the present day.

The circa-1895 Encylopedia Brittanica has all this, with extensive articles on Man and on the diocese itself. The present-day Encyclopedia (published in Chicago) virtually ignores both.

P. Kimball

American College of Healthcare Executives

To the puzzle; to the puzzles list; to the home page