CLEARING the loft the other day, I came across a copy of the Evening Telegraph for September 18, 1959, which included this interesting piece in its 'Lancastrian' column.

"What funny names you have in this part of the country" said my fellow traveller -- a stranger to East Lancashire -- as the train pulled into Church and Oswaldtwistle station.

"I was able to inform him with pardonable local pride that both names, however strange they may sound to unfamiliar ears, have ancient origins.

"Oswaldtwistle is believed to derive its name from the two words 'Oswald' and 'Twistla.' Oswald was king of Northumbria in the seventh century and Twistla is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'the fork of land between two rivers,' or 'the extent or boundary of a kingdom.'

"Church, too, derives its name from the Oswald of old, because this hero king of Northumbria built a small wooden church or field kirk there on his way to meet the Mercians in battle in 642 AD.

"Yet such is the modern craze for abbreviation Oswaldtwistle seems to be coming better known as 'Ossy.' What an indignity for Oswaldtwistle."

TONY VAN-DER-LINDEN, Balmoral Crescent, Blackburn.