Movie star Benedict Cumberbatch has had a phenomenal couple of weeks, even by Hollywood standards.
He has been nominated for both Oscar and BAFTA gongs for his role in acclaimed biopic The Imitation Game, and announced that he and his fiancé are expecting their first child.
And now the 38-year-old London-born thespian can count on the backing of name-fellow Comberbach – the small rural village near Northwich.
Benedict has enjoyed a stratospheric rise since he appeared in the titular role of BBC’s Sherlock, with roles in blockbusters including 12 Years A Slave, Fifth Estate and The Hobbit series.
Now he is in the running for Best Actor at the Oscars and Leading Actor in 2015 at the BAFTAs for playing mathematician Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking the Nazis’ Enigma code, which helped the Allies win the Second World War.
Comberbach parish councillor Mark Walker told the Chronicle that villagers would be cheering for him this awards season.
He said: “Comberbach is thrilled to be getting our name up in lights! Benedict’s surname is directly descended from the name of our village, the meaning of which is a dweller in a valley by a stream.
“Comberbach is well known locally for its band of Mummers who do some local acting for charity but at nothing approaching this level!
“We will all be cheering for him on February 22, the night of the Oscars, raising a glass or two I imagine if he succeeds!”
Benedict revealed to The Times in 2007 that he didn’t use his family name when he started out in the industry, fearful of it sounding ‘a bit bumbly and messy’. But an agent convinced him otherwise.
His unusual moniker has certainly piqued curiosity.
So intrigued by it was the Radio Times, they asked Susie Dent of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner fame to proffer a genealogical explanation.
And proffer, she did: “In a book of place names that existed before the Norman Conquest, ‘comberbach’ is listed as a stream in the Weaver Valley of north Cheshire,” she said.
“The two parts of ‘Cumberbatch’ are ‘cumbra’, originally a byword for a Cumbrian and later an Anglo-Saxon personal name popular in North West England, and ‘bach’, meaning a ‘beck’, or stream in a valley.
“Together they make ‘Cumbra’s beck’. So ‘Cumberbatch’ is a surname based on a very specific place - Benedict’s ancestors will have lived in that very valley in north Cheshire that is still there today.”
So it may only have one pub, garage, Post Office-cum-shop, primary school and chapel, but it’s highly likely Comberbach can claim Benedict Cumberbatch as one of its own.