Mystery of Argleton, the ‘Google’ Town That Only Exists Online

Rebeccal Lefort reports in the Telegraph:

Argleton, a ‘phantom town’ in Lancashire [England] that appears on Google Maps and online directories but doesn’t actually exist, has puzzled internet experts.

The town appears on Google Maps in the middle of fields close to the M58 motorway, just south of Ormskirk. Its ‘presence’ means that online businesses that use data from the software have detected it and automatically treated it as a real town in the L39 postcode area.

An internet search for the town now brings up a series of home, job and dating listings for people and places “in Argleton”, as well as websites which help people find its nearest chiropractor and even plan jogging or hiking routes through it. The businesses, people and services listed are real, but are actually based elsewhere in the same postcode area.

Google and the company that supplies its mapping data are unable to explain the presence of the phantom town and are investigating.

Tantalisingly, “Argle” echoes the word “Google”, while the phantom town’s name is also an anagram of “Not Real G”, and “Not Large”. One theory is that Argleton could have been deliberately added, as a trap to catch companies that violate the map’s copyright…

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  • Will Billington

    We understand that the hoary old Argleton Manor is up for sale again. The present owners have attempted to turn it into a B & B but hves had to sell because ill health and the economic downturn.

    Although the once majestic edifice is reported to be a bit run down these days, it still reminds the visitor of the power and riches that once upon a time were controlled by the ancient Lords of Argleton. Sadly, over the centuries, most of the family wealth was squandered on wine, women and song. Today, only the manor house and stables remain. Edward the 11th Lord of Argleton is said to have abandon the estate in order to seek his fortune in the American Colonies.

    It is rumoured that Clive Argleton, the 17th Lord of Argleton is living today, employed as a sheepherder and crofter, somewhere in the lakes district on New Zealand's South Island.

    After dacades of exhaustive genealogical research, it has been established that Sir Edmund d' Argle, Knight, the 1st Lord of the Manor, and overseer of this lovely part of Lancashire; was a descendant from both William I, the Conqueror, and Ruryik, the Rus, the first of the Vikings to settle in what is now Russia. The family tree is indeed a bit complicated; but it has been well documented, and is quite easy to read.

    If, perchance, you find yourself driving in the vicinity of Argleston, do pay a visit to the Manor. It is well worth the short side trip. Simply ask for directions whilst visiting the Smiling Toad Pub in the quaint village of Argleton.

    • styxmarx

      …South Island of NZ eh? Now I know where to send the 'outstanding' Child Support Bill due to the Child Support Agency's inability to locate either the 'father' I named on their forms, or the place from when said 'father' hailed, not to mention it also being the site where this knave deflowered myself……! They have been more than derelict in their duties, even suggesting that my child and the progeny, albeit below stairs, of said Knave, that I may be the second on any records of which 'they' are aware, second that is by some dubious 'legend', 'virgin mother', but unlike this first woman, I did'nt manage to pull the wool over some poor schmucks' eyes, so have since been trying to locate the 'Knave' of whom I speak, seek and at this time of year, usually prepare myself for the jocular, snide remarks of the many of whom, originality in the 'jibes' department is as per usual, found wanting….I bet this 'mythical' first in the 'virgin births – listed' never had to put up with such besmirching! Just because 'she' whoever she is, was better at spinning the line all 'aging rockers' either dread to hear or conversely are proud to claim, since some tabloid cast dispersions on their ability to err have 'discharges' of the impregnating sort…..or even if they did, accused them of 'flying solo' so to speak…! But there it was for the finding had anyone been doing their job at the CSA!!! Well, who's laughing now? Oh Yeah I remember now…..the Kiwi hide & seek champion!
      'South Island indeed!' So at least I know where to send the Xmas card as there can't be too many answering to this Knave of Knaves' description eh….! Probably masquerading as a 'shepherd' too! So obvious when I think of it now….and if that is 'sniggering' I can hear….you'd better put a stop to it or you will have the wrath of Gabriel Jnr. & myself to deal with……! Argleton Indeed!

  • styxmarx

    …South Island of NZ eh? Now I know where to send the ‘outstanding’ Child Support Bill due to the Child Support Agency’s inability to locate either the ‘father’ I named on their forms, or the place from when said ‘father’ hailed, not to mention it also being the site where this knave deflowered myself……! They have been more than derelict in their duties, even suggesting that my child and the progeny, albeit below stairs, of said Knave, that I may be the second on any records of which ‘they’ are aware, second that is by some dubious ‘legend’, ‘virgin mother’, but unlike this first woman, I did’nt manage to pull the wool over some poor schmucks’ eyes, so have since been trying to locate the ‘Knave’ of whom I speak, seek and at this time of year, usually prepare myself for the jocular, snide remarks of the many of whom, originality in the ‘jibes’ department is as per usual, found wanting….I bet this ‘mythical’ first in the ‘virgin births – listed’ never had to put up with such besmirching! Just because ‘she’ whoever she is, was better at spinning the line all ‘aging rockers’ either dread to hear or conversely are proud to claim, since some tabloid cast dispersions on their ability to err have ‘discharges’ of the impregnating sort…..or even if they did, accused them of ‘flying solo’ so to speak…! But there it was for the finding had anyone been doing their job at the CSA!!! Well, who’s laughing now? Oh Yeah I remember now…..the Kiwi hide & seek champion!
    ‘South Island indeed!’ So at least I know where to send the Xmas card as there can’t be too many answering to this Knave of Knaves’ description eh….! Probably masquerading as a ‘shepherd’ too! So obvious when I think of it now….and if that is ‘sniggering’ I can hear….you’d better put a stop to it or you will have the wrath of Gabriel Jnr. & myself to deal with……! Argleton Indeed!