Towns, Villages, Hamlets and Farms

Ambleside The pastures by the river sandbanks.
O.N. á + O.N. meir + O.N. saetr.
Amelsate 1274.
The intrusive letter 'b' does not appear until the late 15th century and has no meaningful significance.
Applethwaite The clearing where apple trees grow.
O.E. aeppel/O.N. epli + O.N. thveit.
Apelthwayt c.1220.
Armathwaite The clearing where the hermit lives.
O.E. ermite + O.N. thveit.
Ermitethwayt 1292.
Armboth Arni's hut.
O.N. personal name Arni + O.N. búth.
Annabothe 1530.
Ashness The headland where ash trees grow.
O.N. eski (O.E. aesc) + O.N. nes.
Esknes 1209.
The O.E. aesc has a pronunciation much closer to the modern 'ash' than the O.N. eski.
Bampton The farmstead by a tree.
O.E. beam + O.E. tün.
Bamtun 1223.
Beckermet The stream where the hermit lives.
O.N. bekkr + O.E. ermite.
Becheremet c.1160.
Bewaldeth Aldgyth's homestead.
O.N. bú + O.F. feminine name, Aldgyth.
Bualdith 1255.
Birket The shieling by the birch trees.
O.N. birki + O.N. erg.
Birkergh 1272.
Birkrigg The ridge with the birch trees.
O.N. birki + O.N. hryggr.
Birkeryg 1293.
Blawith The dark wood.
This district was at one time thickly forested. O.N. blá + O.N. vithr.
Blawit 1276.
Boot The bend in the valley.
M.E. bouzht (O.E. boga).
Bought 1587.
The angle in the valley at the junction of the River Esk and Whillan Beck. The 1587 version leaves open the possibility that the Northern dialect word 'bought', a sheepfold, might also be considered here.
Bootle The dwelling house.
O.E. bötl.
Botle c.1135.
Bouth The herdsman's hut.
Originally a dairy farm on the large Colton estate.
O.N. búth. Bouthe 1336.
Bowness The bull's headland.
O.E. bula + O.N. nes.
Bulnes 1282.
Bowness on Soiway has quite a different origin - from O.E. boga + naess /O.N. bogi + nes, the bow-shaped headland.
Braithwaite The wide clearing.
O.N. breithr + O.N. thveit.
Braythwayt 1230.
Brantwood The burnt wood.
O.E. brende + O.E. wudu.
Brentwood 1336.
Brotherilkeld (Butterilket) Ulfketil's huts.
O.N. búthir (plural of O.N. búth) + O.N. personal name, Ulfketil, abbreviated to Ulfkil. The name Ulfketil was fairly common in the Lake District until the 14th century.
Butherulkil 1242.
Caldbeck The cold stream.
O.E. cald + O.N. bekkr.
Caldbec 1212.
Cartmel The sandbank by the rocky ground.
O.N. kartr + O.N. melr.
Cartmel 1135.
The village lies by the River Eea with a rocky ridge to the east.
Castlerigg The fort on the ridge.
O.E. castel (from Latin castellum) + O.N. hyrggr.
No trace of any fortification has so far been found.
Castleriggi 175.
Clappersgate The path over the stepping stones or over a bridge made of stones (over the River Brathay).
'Clappers' are large fiat stones or planks resting on stones to form a rough type of bridge; 'gate' is O.N. gata, a pathway.
Clappergate 1588.
Cockley Beck The stream where the woodcock play.
'Cock' in local place-names usually refers to the woodcock. The second element 'ley' is O.N. leikr, to play, and probably refers to the mating dance of these birds.
Cocklayc 1189.
Colwith The wood where charcoal is burned.
O.E. col + O.N. vithr.
Coniston The king's farm.
O.E. cyning/O.N. konungr + O.E. tün.
Coningeston c.1 160.
Crosthwaite The clearing with the cross.
O.N. kross + O.N. thveit
Crostweit c.1150.
Dacre The trickling brook.
A British river-name probably derived from Welsh 'deigr' or Br. 'dacru' , a teardrop.
The village is named after the stream.
Dacor c.1125.
Dalegarth The valley with the enclosed pasture or farmstead.
O.N. dalr + O.N. garthr.
Before the 16th century, Dalegarth was known as Austhwaite meaning 'Afaster's clearing' from O.N. personal name, Afaster + O.N. thveit.
Dockray The corner of land overgrown with docks or sorrel.
O.E. docce + O.N. vrá .
Docwra 1278.
Drigg The place of portage: i.e. the place where boats had to be carried or dragged over an unnavigable stretch of water - here the River Irt.
O.N. drag or dreg.
Dreg c.1180.
Egremont A Norman-French name recorded early in the 12th century shortly after the Norman settlement in Cumbria. It seems likely that the castle was named after Aigremont in Normandy with possibly a reference to the prominent knoll on which it was built.
Embleton Eanbald's farmstead.
O.E. personal name, Eanbald + O.E. tün.
Emelton 1195.
Gatesgarth The pass where the goats go.
O.N. geit + O.N. skarth.
Gaitescarth 1318.
Gillerthwaite The clearing where snares are set.
O.N. gudri + O.N. thveit.
Gillerthwait 1604.
Glencoyne The reedy glen.
Welsh glyn + Welsh cawn.
Glencoine 1589.
Glenridding The glen overgrown with bracken.
Welsh glyn + Welsh rhedyn.
Glenredyn 1292.
Gosforth The goose ford.
O.E. gös + O.E. ford.
Goseford c. 1150.
The change from 'ford' to 'forth' is fairly common in the northern counties.
Greystoke The place by the River Creik (a tributary stream joining the River Petteril).
O.E. stoc may mean an enclosure, a building or a residence.
Creistock 1167.
Castle of Graystok 1489.
Hartsop The valley of the hart.
O.E. heorot + O.E. höp.
Hertes hope c.1184.
Haverigg The hill where oats are grown.
O.N. hafri + O.N. hryggr
Haverig c.1180.
Haverthwaite The clearing where oats are grown.
O.N. hafri + O.N. thveit.
Haverthwayt 1336.
Hawkshead Haukr's shieling.
O.N. personal name, Haukr + O.N. saetr.
Houksete c.1200.
Hesket Newmarket The hillside where ash trees grow.
O.N. eski + O.E. heafod.
Eskhevid c.1230.
The word 'Newmarket' was added at a later date, but it is not known when a market was established here.
Howtown The farmstead on the hill.
O.N. haugr + O.E. tün.
Ings The meadows or outlying pastures.
O.N. eng.
The Inges 1546.
Ireby The Irishman's farm. O.N.
Iri + O.N. býr.
Irebi c.1160.
'Irishman' probably referred to a Norse settler who had migrated from Ireland.
Irton The farmstead by the River Irt.
Irt + O.E. tün (see under River Irt).
Kendal Formerly known as 'Kirkby Kendal' - 'the village with a church in the valley of the River Kent.'
O.N. kirkja + O.N. býr + O.N. dalr (see River Kent).
Cherkaby Kendale c.1095.
Keswick The cheese farm.
O.E. cëse + O.E. wíc.
Kesewic 1240.
Chesewyk 1285.
Ormathwaite The Northman's clearing (Northman = Norseman).
O.N. personal name + O.N. thveit.
Northmanethwait c.1260.
The name Northman survived until the 14th century and was replaced by Norman.
Penrith The chief or main ford (over the River Eamont).
Welsh 'pen' (in the sense of chief) + Welsh 'rhyd'.
Penred 1167.
(This interpretation accepts the difficulty that the crossing of the Eamont is at least a mile from Penrith, but the other meaning of 'pen', a hill, does not help to meet this geographical point.).
Penruddock This may have the same meaning as Penrith with a diminutive of 'rhyd' - redoc - as the second element.
A possible alternative is that 'pen' here is used in the sense of 'a hill' and that the second element is Welsh 'rhuddawc', red, with an implied reference to the reddish soil in this vicinity.
Penruddoc 1292.
Pooley Bridge This was formerly known as Pool How, the hill by the pool or stream.
O.E. pol/O.N. pollr + O.N. haugr.
Pulhoue 1252.
Portinscale The harlot's hut.
O.E. portcwene + O.N. skali.
Porqeneschal c.1 160.
Ravenglass The land given to or belonging to a man named Glas.
Gaelic rann-gleis.
Renglas c.1208.
Rosgill The ravine where horses go.
O.N. hross + O.N. gil.
Rosse gill c.1195.
Rosthwaite The clearing with the heap of stones.
O.N. hreysi + O.N. thveit.
Raisthwat 1564.
Ruthwaite The rough clearing.
O.E. rüh + O.N. thveit.
Ruthwayt 1256.
Rydal The valley where rye is grown.
O.E. ryge/O.N. rugr + O.N. dalr/O.E. dael.
Ridale 1180.
Sadgill The gill (or ravine) where the upland pastures are.
O.N. saetr + O.N. gil.
Sategill 1279.
Sandwick The sandy inlet.
O.N. sand + O.N. vík.
Sandwic 1200.
Santon Bridge The bridge by the sandy farmstead.
O.E. sand + O.E. tün.
Santon c.1235
The 'bridge' appears in the 17th century. Not far from Santon is the only sandpit in the area which produces silver sand.
Satterthwaite The clearing for the summer pastures.
O.N. saetr + O.N. thveit.
Saterthwayt 1336.
Sawrey The muddy places.
O.N. saurar (plural).
Sourer 1336.
Near and Far Sawrey lie in a small valley between Esthwaite Water and Lake Windermere, a low-lying area which may well have been especially wet at one time.
Seathwaite The clearing among the sedges.
O.N. sef + O.N. thveit.
Seuthwayt 1340.
Seatoller Either: the summer pastures among the alder bushes, O.N. alor + O.N. saetr;
or Olvar's summer shieling, O.N. personal name + O.N. saetr.
Seataller 1566.
Shap The heap of stones (probably the ruins of a Stone Circle).
O.E. hëap.
Hep c.1175.
The additional 'S' in front of the 'h ' of the early form 'Hep' is an unusual linguistic development which may also be found in the name Shoulthwaite.
Shoulthwaite The clearing where the (mill)wheel stands.
O.N. hjól + O.N. thveit.
Heolthwaitis c.1280.
The mill was probably built on Naddle Beck.
Skelwith This was originally 'Schelwath' which means 'the noisy ford', probably referring to the waterfall near to a crossing of the River Brathay. When the bridge was built the ford or 'wath' was forgotten and the name assumed its present form.
O.N. skjallr + O.N. vath.
Schelwath 1246.
The waterfall is now known as Skelwith Force: O.N. fors.
Smaithwaite The smooth or level clearing.
O.E. smethe + O.N.thveit.
Smetwayt 1245.
Snittlegarth The enclosure where snares are set.
The first element is the dialect word 'snittle', a snare, usually of the noose type; + O.N. garthr.
Snittlegarth 1608.
Stair No early forms are available, but it is possible that a reference is intended to the steep rise in the road at this point. If so, the derivation could be the O.E. staeger, to climb, from which the word 'stair' derives.
Stayre 1565.
Stang End This is probably derived from O.N. stong, a post, usually indicating a boundary mark or the limits of a measured piece of land.
Stanger The first element is O.N. stong, apost usually indicating a boundary mark.
The second element is O.N. rá, a boundary mark, thus giving the meaning 'a post which marks a specific boundary'.
Stangre 1298.
Staveley The woodland clearing where staves are found.
O.E. staef + O.E. leah.
Stafieia 1235.
Stonethwaite The stony clearing.
O.N. steinn + O.N. thveit.
Stainthwait 1211.
Strands The bank of the river (Irt).
O.E. strand.
Strand of Irt 1578.
Swinside The summer pasture or shieling where pigs are kept.
O.N. svin + O.N. saetr.
Swynesate 1242.
The element 'sate' in the early form (derived from O.N. saetr) has been replaced by 'side' in the modern name, cf. Ambleside.
Thackthwaite The clearing where reeds for thatching grow.
O.N. thak + O.N. thveit.
Thacthwaite 1220.
Thirlspot The giant's pool.
O.N. thurs/O.E. thyrs + M.E. pottel O.N. pot.
Thirspott 1616.
The additional 'l' may have developed by association with Thirlmere nearby which has quite a different origin (see Thirlmere).
Thornthwaite. The clearing with the thombushes.
O.N. thorn + O.N. thveit.
Thornethwayt 1230.
Threlkeld The thrall's spring.
O.N. thraell + O.N. kelda.
Trellekeld 1278.
The term 'thrall' (serf or slave) seems to have been used by the Norse settlers to describe the native Britons.
Tilberthwaite The clearing by Tilli's fort.
O.E. personal name + O.E. burh + O.N. thveit.
Tildesburgthwait 1196.
Slight remains of an early stronghold may still be seen here.
Torver Several interpretations of this name have been put forward, all based on the same Norse origins.
(i) The shieling with a turf roof
(ii) the shieling where peat is cut or stacked
(iii) Torfi's shieling.
O.N. torf (or O.N. personal name, Torfi) + O.N. erg.
Troutbeck The trout stream.
O.E. trillit + O.N. bekkr.
Trutebec 1179.
Uldale The valley of the wolves.
O.N. úlfr + O.N. dalr.
Ulvesdal c.1216.
Ullock The place where the wolves play.
O.N. úlfr + O.N. leikr.
Ulvelaik 1279.
Ulpha The wolf's hill.
O.N. úlfr + O.N. haugr.
Ulfhou 1337.
Ullthwaite The clearing haunted by wolves.
O.N. úlfr + O.N. thveit.
Ulvethwayt 1301.
Ulverston Wulfhere's or Ulfr's farmstead.
O.E. or O.N. personal name + O.E. tün.
Ulureston 1086.
Uzzicar The cultivated field with a dwellinghouse.
O.E. hüs + O.E. aecer.
Husaker 1210.
An acre was a piece of cultivated land of varying size before it became a precise measurement (with local varia- tions) by The Statute for Measuring Land of 1284.
Watendlath No entirely satisfactory explanation of this name has so far been suggested. Early forms vary so widely as to be of little guidance. The most acceptable suggestions are:
(i) That the first two elements are derived from O.N. vatn and O.N. endi with the final element possibly derived from O.N. hlatha. This would give a meaning of 'the barn at the end of the lake'. However, this is regarded by many as lin- guistically very dubious.
(ii) That it is derived from a British personal name such as 'Gwenddoleu' with O.N. vatn added as the first element at a later date, meaning 'Gwenddoleu's lake'. To the newly arrived Norse settlers such an unfamiliar personal name would inevitably lead to strange contortions as they attempted to pronounce it and this may account for the version which appeared in 1211 - 'Wathenthendelan'.
Watermillock The little hill where wethers graze.
Welsh meloc + O.E. wether.
Wethermeloc c.1215.
Wythburn The valley where willow trees grow.
O.E. withig + O.E. botm.
Wythbottune c.1280.
The second element was changed to 'burn' in the 17th century.
Wythop The valley where willow trees grow.
O.E. withig + O.E. höp.
Wythope 1279.
Yanwath The flat or level woodland.
O.E. efn + O.E. wudu, later changed to O.N. jafn + O.N. vithr.
Euenwith c.1150.
Yafnewid c.1245. (This is Ekwall's explanation of a complex name in which the element 'wath' (a ford) is obviously inappropriate and must be a later change totally inconsistent with the early forms of the name.).

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