Like Torcs

A while ago I posted on a couple of the social media sites, ‘If “Bucks” is short for Buckinghamshire, and “Hants” for Hampshire, is the shortened nym for my future episcopal area of Dorchester “Dorks”?’

My friends responded with generous merriment and added considerable wit, and only afterward did I do what any sensible person would have done first. I checked the search monopolist to see whether there actually was a historic condensation of ‘Dorchester’ to ‘Dorks’ or ‘Dorcs’.*

As it turns out, nobody (so far as I can tell) has hitherto proposed ‘Dorcs’ as a shortened form for Dorchester, and ‘Dorks’ has been deployed mostly as a term of abuse by other football teams’ supporters. Tim Worstall wondered what people from Dorchester might be called (‘If people from Manchester are called Mancunians, what are people from Dorchester to be called? Dorcunians?’), in answer to which question some commenters proposed ‘Dorks’, along with Dorcastrians, Dochians, Durnovarians (attributed to Wikipedia, but the Dorset Dorch, so…). But most of these seem to point toward those Other Dorcestrians.

Hence I claim for my episcopal area the toponym ‘Dorcs’, devised this morning by me. And Dorest can just go read The Mayor of Casterbridge. In fact, I haven’t read it since my undergraduate days; I probably ought to revisit it, regional shortenings apart.

* Now, before this gets out of hand, I should acknowledge that Oxfordshire’s Dorchester (not Dorset’s Dorchester) has a complicated ecclesiastical history. doesn’t have more than recent semi-diocesan status; Dorchester was a West Saxon diocese on and off (making the reorganisation of sees in the contemporary church seem reasoned and stable by contrast) from 634 to 1072, when the seat of the diocese was relocated to Lincoln. Dorchester Abbey stands in the place of the former cathedral, though the Abbey was dissolved in 1536.

Dorchester was resuscitated, as it were, as a diocese in 1939, first as 5he See of a general Assisting Bishop to the Bishop of Oxford, then as the bishop of a formal ‘episcopal area’.

(All of the above as cursory online research suggests, very much subject to correction.)

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