Natural history has furnished us with a due share of names to our villages, although the animals and birds themselves have in some instances entirely disappeared from the country.
The first part of Eversholt seems to be derived from Efer, the wild boar, but I rather demur to the assumption that the latter syllable is Holt—a wood, although there cannot be a more natural compound than the wild boar wood. I am inclined to adopt the pronunciation of the common people and call it “Eversol.” The word “Sol” which means dirt or mire, is found in most German dialects in some form or other, and also in the Scandinavian. Sola, for instance is “inquinare”—to soil or make dirty, and Solmonath is the name of February—the dirty month in the year. When a hunted deer takes refuge in the water from its pursuers it is said to take soil, consequently we find the word Heartsol, the hart’s soil, as the name of one of our English villages. By analogy we get Eversol—the wild boar’s soil; and although we admit that Eversholt is a very probable retreat for the wild boar, yet at the same time the “soil” and the marsh are his more natural haunt and domain.
The next question is whether there is in Eversholt any place where the grisly animal could take soil, or any slough wherein he could wallow? If we could only find a few muddy holes wherein he might indulge in his innocent recreation, it would give solidity to my argument.
There is a stream of water flowing from Milton wood, which in its course to Tingrith almost bisects Eversholt parish. Before an artificial channel was made for it, this stream must have had the power of manufacturing swamps and marshes in any quantity and of any size.
The Duke of Bedford has selected the marshy banks of this water course wherein to make his Salictum, and if we regard the jungle of sedges and bullrushes close adjoining it, the classical scholar will not fail to realise to himself the exact description of the stye of the great Caledonean boar as mentioned by Ovid.
tenet ima lacunae Lenta salix ulvaeque leves iuncique palustres