Not far from Tring in Buckinghamshire there is a village called Ivinghoe – a name that evolved as “The HOH or spur of land of Ifa’s people” according to Eilert Ekwall in his Dictionary of English Place Names. It was this name, or a further corruption of it – Ivanhoe – that Walter Scott took as the title of his novel, originally published anonymously, in 1819.
Scott took the name from an old rhyme (Tring, Wing and Ivinghoe, For striking of a blow, Hampden did forego, And glad he could escape so ..”) but he changed the spelling. The story was to be the first of Scott’s novels to have a purely English setting. A great success the story brought the middle-ages vividly to life, although how true a picture it painted is doubtful and it is likely that Richard I wasn’t that heroic. The novel also incorporated the legend of Robin Hood to give it an extra dash of historic flavour. The book was the start of the second series of Scott’s Waverley novels and by the time it was published Scott was already the most famous Scot of his day, and the following year he was made a baronet. In 1822, it was he who supervised the visit of George IV to Scotland.