NACKSHIVAN is the curious name of a farm to the north-west of Willington. We mentioned it last week as a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age axe was once found there.

“Nakhchivan is also a town and province in Azerbaijan,” says Emeritus Professor Alan Townsend of Durham university who lives in those parts. “The province today is one of the detached pieces of Azerbaijan wedged between parts of Armenia and Iran.

“I noticed this when travelling with a 1:1 million map in the area.”

Indeed, Nakhchivan is on the disputed border between Armenia and Azerbaijan – tensions between the two countries are such that Arsenal’s Armenian footballer Henrikh Mkhitaryan has pulled out of the Europa League final which his club are playing in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku over fears for his safety.

Tensions in Nakhchivan are long standing. For a few months in 1919 after the end of the First World War, a British commissioner and some British troops tried to bring peace to the civil war – but then the Russian army swept in and the British were forced out.

But even before this brush with the headlines, the corner of County Durham countryside near Crook already bore the name from the Azerbaijan border. It appears on an 1890s Ordnance Survey map, spelled as “Nackshavan”.

Perhaps the derivations of some of our other foreign place names can help explain its presence.

There’s Inkerman at Tow Law named after a battle in the Crimean War in the 1850s; there’s Philadelphia near Houghton-le-Spring named after a battle during the American War of Independence in the 1770s.

There’s Quebec near Langley Park where the fields were enclosed in 1759 just as the British had captured Quebec in Canada; there’s Toronto near Bishop Auckland named in 1859 as the landowner WC Stobart was in the Canadian city when he heard coal had been found on his estate. There’s Canada and Nova Scotia in Chester-le-Street, which must have similar derivations (there’s also a Durham in Nova Scotia which was named after Lord Durham who was Governor General of Canada in the 1830s).

For good measure, there’s California in Eston and there’s New York in North Shields, but none of this has shed any light on why there should be an Azerbaijanian farm between Crook and Willington. Can you help – are there any other foreign place names we’ve left out.