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life in the 11th century | william the conqueror | place name origins | timeline

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  • Origins of Place Names

    Virtually all of the place names decided on up to around the 14th Century were due to the environment of the area. For example, Doncaster would probably have originated as a Roman fort on a hill, from the Roman 'Caster' and Celtic 'Don'.

    Roman | Celtic | Saxon | Viking

    bar.jpg - 1374 Bytes

    Roman Terms: 50BC - 410 AD

    Caster: Fort; Camp; Later town
    Cester: Fort; Camp; Later town
    Chester: Fort; Camp; Later town
    Fos (s): Ditch
    Port: Harbour; Gate
    Street: Paved way

    bar.jpg - 1374 Bytes

    Celtic Terms: 800BC - 400 AD

    Aber: River mouth or ford
    Afon: River
    Allt: Hillside
    Avon; Esk; Eye; Dee: River
    Bedd: Grave

    Bre-; Drum; Don: Hill
    Caer: Fortress
    Capel: Chapel
    Carnedd: Cairn
    Castell: Castle
    Coed: Wood
    Cwm: Valley
    Dinas: City
    Glan: River Bank
    Hamps: Dry stream in Summer
    Llan: Church
    Llyn: Lake
    Mawr: Big
    Môr: Sea
    Mynydd: Mountain
    Os: God
    Pant: Hollow
    Pen; Bryn: Hill; Head
    Plas: Palace
    Pont; Bont: Bridge
    Porth: Harbour
    Tre: Hamlet; Village; Town
    Treath: Beach
    Ynys: Island

    bar.jpg - 1374 Bytes

    Saxon Terms: 350AD - 1000AD

    Bourne: Stream
    Burn: Stream
    Burg: Large village
    Bury: Fortified place
    Croft: Small enclosure
    Cot: Small hut
    Delph: Ditch, dyke or stream
    Den(n): Pig pasture
    Eg; Ey; Ea; Eig: Island
    Fall: Area cleared of trees
    Fen: Fen
    Field: Field
    Ford: Shallow river crossing
    Halh: Remote recess/nook/valley (modern -hall)
    Ham: Village
    Hay/Hey: Animal feeding stalls
    Hurst: Wood
    Ing: People
    Lake: Lake
    Ley; Lea: Clearing
    Mere/Mer/Mar: Pool
    Moor: Moor
    Moss: Swamp
    Ney: Island
    Riding; Rod: Cleared land
    Stead: place
    Stoc: Summer pasture
    Stoke: 'Daughter' settlement
    Stow: Holy Place
    Ton; Tun: House; Farm
    Weald; Wold; High Woodland
    Wic; Wike: Farm; Group of huts
    Wood: Wood
    Worth: Fenced land
    Worthy: Enclosed land

    bar.jpg - 1374 Bytes

    Viking Terms: 750AD - 1100AD

    Akr: Acre
    Beck: Stream
    Booth: Summer pasture
    By: Farm; Village
    Ey: Island
    Fell; How: Hill or mound
    Fiord: Fiord
    Fiskr: Fish
    Gardr: Yard; landing place
    Garth: Enclosure
    Gate: Road
    Geit: Goat
    Gill: Ravine or valley
    Holm(r): Island
    Hus: House
    Ings: Marsh; meadow
    Kald: Cold
    Kelda: Spring, stream
    Kirk: Church
    Laithe: Barn
    Lin: Flax
    Lund: Grove
    Melr: Sandbank
    Orme: Serpent
    Pollr: Pool
    Skar: Cleft
    Sker: Rock
    Slack: Stream in a valley
    Stakkr: Rock in the sea
    Stan: Stone
    Stokkr: Sound
    Tarn: Lake
    Thorp: Daughter settlement
    Thwaite: Forest clearing; meadow
    Toft: Homestead
    Wath: Ford
    Wray: Remote place

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    The Domesday Book, 1086

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