Tå(n), tåå, tä = The poorest farmland in the village:
In this case, the word tå has nothing to do with the word toe, as you would probably think at first sight (and after looking in a dictionary), but originate instead of a word refering to “fägata” = cow or critter path.
The village Tå(å) or Tä was actually the part of the village where the poorest land was, not very well suited for farming and where the poorest people were allowed to build their small cottages. In some parts of Sweden, the people who lived at “på socknen” or “på socknens slut” (at the parish or at the parish end) were actually living at “Tån”. The “tä” was the fence in between the critters was driven thru to the forrest, that was used as pasture.
Most of the Tå cottages was demolished in the early 20th century, partly due to better 95living standards, but also because the farmers was ashamed of the way the poor people had been treated earlier.
As far as I know, there are only one good example of Tå cottages preserved and that is in Åsle (Tå) outside Falköping city in Skaraborg, Sweden. If you google Åsle Tå, you get a hit for Åsle Tå homepage. Åsle Tå was still inhabited in the early 20th century and is today popular to visit.
© Yvonne Carlsson