Waldkirch Oberwil

Oberwil in Waldkirch, St. Gallen, Switzerland is an example of a hamlet

A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. The name comes from Anglo-Norman hamelet(t)e; Old French hamelet, the diminutive of Old French hamel. Another diminutive of Old French ham is possibly a cognate with similar words of Germanic origin. Compare with Dutch heem, German Heim, Swiss German cham or -kon, Old English hām and Modern English home, all derived from the Proto-Germanic *kham-.[1] Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village. One example of a hamlet is a small cluster of houses surrounding a mill.

United Kingdom Edit

In the United Kingdom, the word 'hamlet' has no defined legal meaning, although hamlets are recognised as part of land use planning policies and administration. A hamlet is traditionally defined ecclesiastically as a village or settlement that usually does not have its own church, belonging to a parish of another village or town. In modern usage it generally refers to a secondary settlement in a civil parish, after the main settlement (if any). Hamlets may have been formed around a single source of economic activity such as a farm, mill, mine or harbour that employed its working population. Some hamlets, particularly those that have a medieval church, may be the result of the depopulation of a village.

The term hamlet was used in some parts of the country[clarification needed] for a geographical subdivision of a parish (which might or might not contain a settlement). Elsewhere, these subdivisions were called "townships" or "tithings".[2][3]

In Scotland the term of Gaelic derivation, clachan, is often preferred to the term "hamlet".[4]

In Northern Ireland the common Irish place name element baile is sometimes considered equivalent to the term "hamlet" in English, although baile would actually have referred to what is known in English today as a townland -- a geographical locality, not a small village.

Romania Edit

Main article: Administrative divisions of Romania

In Romania hamlets are called cătunuri (singular: cătun), and they represent villages that contain several houses at most. They are legally considered villages, and statistically, they are placed in the same category. Like villages, they do not have a separate administration, and thus are not an administrative division, but are part of a parent commune. Their locations are always marked by road signs.

United States Edit

New York Edit

Main article: Administrative divisions of New York

In New York, hamlets are unincorporated settlements within towns. Hamlets are usually not legal entities and have no local government or official boundaries. Their proximate location will often be noted on road signs, however.

A hamlet usually depends upon the town that contains it for municipal services and government. A hamlet could be described as the rural or suburban equivalent of a neighborhood in a city or village. The area of a hamlet may not be exactly defined and may simply be contained within the ZIP code of its post office, or may be defined by its school or fire district. Some hamlets proximate to urban areas are sometimes continuous with their cities and appear to be neighborhoods, but they still are under the jurisdiction of the town. Some hamlets -- for example, Hauppauge, with a population of over 20,000 -- are far more populous than some incorporated cities in the state.


Main article: Hamlet (Oregon)

In Oregon, specifically in Clackamas County, a hamlet is a form of local government for small communities, which allows the citizens therein to organize and co-ordinate community activities. Hamlets do not provide services such as utilities or fire protection, and do not have the authority to levy taxes or fees. There are four hamlets: Beavercreek, Stafford, Molalla Prairie, and Stafford.

Canada Edit

In numerous provinces in Canada, there are officially designated municipalities which are generally smaller than villages, classified as hamlets. Hamlets are usually small communities situated in remote areas like Cape Dorset in Nunavut, and Enterprise and Tulita in the Northwest Territories, or are smaller communities within a rural area of an incorporated town or city, such as many communities within the single-tier municipalities of Ontario. Every province contains a number of hamlets, all of which are unincorporated. In Canada's northern territories, they are incorporated municipalities.

In Alberta, on the other hand, all unincorporated settlements are legally described as hamlets regardless of their sizes. Sherwood Park, Alberta which has a population of more than 50,000—well above that needed for city status—has nonetheless retained hamlet status.[5] Fort McMurray, Alberta used to be a city, but has now been amalgamated into the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, thus making it a hamlet.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-19-283098-8.
  2. Kain R J P, Oliver R D, Historic Parishes of England & Wales,HDS, 2001, ISBN 0-9540032-0-9, p 12
  3. "Vision of Britain — Administrative Units Typology — Status definition: Hamlet". Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  4. see
  5. "Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada | About Strathcona County". Retrieved 2009-10-17. 

External links Edit

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The original article was at Hamlet (place). The list of authors can be seen in the history for that page. The text of Wikipedia is available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.