Placentia: the name of our city

Have you ever wondered about the source of our city's name? Perhaps friends have asked you its derivation.

Reference to Placentia can be traced to Greenwich England. In 1445 Henry IV and his Queen, Margaret, acquired ownership of a grand manor house with a moat and battlements situated along the Thames River at Greenwich. They renamed this castle, which was their honeymoon place, "Placentia, a Pleasant Place." In 1553, Henry VIII's daughter was born there. She later became Elizabeth I, or as some would call her, "Good Queen Bess."

How then did that name become part of Orange County's History? In "Placentia, A Pleasant Place" author Virginia Carpenter attributes the origin of the city's name to Sara Jane McFadden, wife of William McFadden and teacher in the first school which was called Cajon District. When the school board sought a more suitable district name in 1874, Sara Jane's suggestion of "Placentia" was chosen. From that date on, when events occurred in the district, the newspapers referred to the Placentia School District. In 1926 Placentia was incorporated as a city and took the name from the existing school district.

There are other Placentias: in Newfoundland and in Belize. A city in Italy named Piacenzia has the same translation. While the first mention we find of "Placentia" is the royal castle at Greenwich (which no longer carries that name), the city's name is perpetuated now in the name of almost fifty businesses listed in the telephone directory — as well as our own Round Table.

With the year 2001 as its 75th anniversary, the city of Placentia is certainly "on the map". (For additional reading on this subject, see the works by Thomas B. Talbot, Vol. II, pp. 249 - 272 and Placentia, A Pleasant Place by Virginia Carpenter)