Geordie Dictionary | Dialect Origins | 'Mackems' and Jamies (Sunderland)

North East Surnames | Border Reivers: Robsons, Armstrongs, Charltons...

North East Place-Name origins: (A-D) | (E-J) | (K-O) | (P-S) | (T-Y)

Place-Name meanings A to D

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A Acklam to Ayresome

Acklam (Teesside)

This place, now part of Middlesbrough has a name which means 'at the oak woodland' or oak clearings. The name is closely related to Acley, the original name for Aycliffe in Durham, meaning the oak clearing. Acklam is a plural form of Acley. Another Acklam can be found near York.

Acklington (Northumberland)

Aeccel's Ings ton. The farm or ton of Aeccel's sons.

Acomb (Northumberland)

Anglo-Saxon a plural form of oak (oaks) acum.

Aislaby(Teesside)

Aislaby is a Viking place name meaning Aislac's village. It is one of only a very small number of place names ending in 'by' in the North East north of the River Tees. It is only just north of the river, near the town of Yarm.

Aldin Grange (County Durham)

Originally called Ealding hyrcg, the ridge of Ealda or his sons.

Allen, River (Northumberland)

Allen is related to Alwin, an ancient Celtic word from a river or stream. The name may mean shining white stream.

Aln, River (Northumberland)

A Celtic river name. See also Allen.

Alnmouth (Northumberland)

At the mouth of the River Aln

Alnwick (Northumberland)

This means farm on the River Aln. The word wick can be Anglo-Saxon or Viking, in Alnwick's case it is more likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Alwent (County Durham)

A place by the Alwent Beck near Gainford. The stream name came first and is of Celtic origin. See Alwin.

Alwin, River (Northumberland)

A Celtic river name and stream name. See also Aln and Allen.

Amble (Northumberland)

Amble is thought to be a corruption of Anna's Bill, the headland belonging to Anna.

Annapoorna (County Durham)

A peculiar farm name betwen Crook and Willington in County Durham, fancifully named after a famous Nepalese mountain.

Annfield Plain (County Durham)

Around 1710 a house called Annfield House was built on the summit of Loud Hill, the plain was the level land below it.

Archdeacon Newton (County Durham)

Newton measn new farm. the manor belonged to the Archdeacon of Durham

Arthur's Hill (Tyneside)

Named after Arthur, the son of Isaac Cookson who built the houses in this part of Newcastle. Sadly it has nothing to do with King Arthur.

Ashington (Northumberland)

A Corruption of the Anglo-Saxon Aesca's Ingas Dene, the valley or dene of Aesca's people.

Aycliffe (County Durham)

Aycliffe means 'Oak tree clearing' as it was originally called Acley. See also School Aycliffe, Newton Aycliffe and Acklam.

Ayresome (Teesside)

Ayresome in Middlesbrough was until recently the home of Middlesbrough Football Club, but how many supporters of the team know that the name Ayresome goes back to Viking times ?. Once separate from Middlesbrough Ayresome's name derives from the Old Norse 'ar husum' which means the houses near the river. Presumably Viking settlers established houses here in easy reach of the Tees where perhaps their longships or fishing vessels were stationed. The name of Aarhus in Norway has exactly the same meaning as Teesside's Ayresome, as may the east Denmark coastal town of Arhus. Over the years the name of Ayresome has changed slightly from Arushum in 1129 to Arsum in the thirteenth century and is marked on Saxtons map of 1577 as Ars-ham but this spelling was probably a less accurate interpretation of the pronunciation than the modern form, Ayresome.

B Backworth to Byker

Backworth (Tyneside)

An Anglo-Saxon name meaning Bacca's farm.

Balder, River (County Durham)

This may be a Viking river name and may relate to the Norse God Balder, who was the god of light.

Bamburgh (Northumberland)

The village of Bamburgh with its famous castle on the north Northumberland coast was the capital of the Kingdom of Northumbria, an Anglo-Saxon province that stretched from the River Humber to the Firth of Forth. Like the City of York, which was also a one-time capital of Northumbria, Bamburgh claims to be one of the longest continuously inhabited places in the British Isles. In pre-Saxon times Bamburgh was a Celtic stonghold and was known by its Celtic name Din Guayrdi. Supporters of the legend of King Arthur have associated this early name with Joyous Guard, the castle of Sir Lancelot, who was one of Arthur's Celtic Knights of the Round Table. There is no evidence for this, but Arthur is said to have fought the invading Anglo-Saxons in the north of England. History records that in 547 AD, an Anglo-Saxon King called Ida the Flamebearer captured Din Guayrdi from the Celts and made the fortified site the capital of a Kingdom called Bernicia. Later this site was acquired by Aethelfrith, King of Northumbria who named the fort or burgh after his wife Bebba. Over the years the name Bebba's Burgh has been corrupted to Bamburgh.

Barmpton (County Durham)

Barmpton is thought to be a corruption of Beornmar's ton or farm.

Barnard Castle (County Durham)

An old rhyme states Cowardy, cowardy Barney Castle, daren't come out to fight a battle. Seemingly this was used to taunt the defenders of the castle during a siege in 1569. Barnard Castle the town is the capital of Teesdale and takes its name from the Castle which is named after a Norman baron called Bernard de Baliol. The first castle at Barney was built in 1100 by Bernard's predecessor Guy de Baliol, the Lord of Bailleul in Picardy who was given the site by King William Rufus. In 1150 the castle on its commanding hill overlooking the River Tees was rebuilt by Bernard Baliol who was Guy's great nephew. Bernard established the town of Barnard castle in the shadow of the castle itself. Early forms for the name Barnard Castle include Castellum Bernardi in 1197, Chastel Bernard in 1312 and the affectionate Barney Castell in 1486. Bernard Baliol was later succeeded at Barney by John Baliol, the founder of Baliol College, Oxford. John Baliol's son, John Baliol the younger, who was born at Barnard Castle became the King of Scotland in 1292.

Beacon Point (County Durham)

Perhaps the site of a Roman beacon or signalling point.

Beadnell (Northumberland)

Derives from Bede's halh, the spur of land belonging to Bede, but probably not the Venerable Bede.

Beal (Northumberland)

This village in Northumberland on route to Holy Island is a shortened form of bee hill, the hill where bees swarm.

Beamish (County Durham)

Beamish is one of a number of place names in County Durham containing the Norman French word 'Beau' meaning beautiful or fine. Places containing this element are often noted for there natural beauty. The name Beamish derives from Beau-mis meaning beautifully placed or beautiful mansion, the second element being the Old French Mes or Metz. In North East France there is a place called Beaumetz which has the same meaning as Beamish in North East England. Other places recognised by the Norman French as beautiful places in the North include Bearpark, from Beau Repaire meaning beautiful place, Beaufront, the site of a Northumberland castle, which means beautiful brow and Beaumont near Chollerford which means fine hill. North of Darlington we have Beaumont Hill which means fine hill-hill, some later Englishman perhaps adding the additional word hill, not knowing that the second element of the place name meant just that. Further affield Beau place names can be found throughout the country. In Nottinghamshire we have Beauvale, meaning beautiful valley, in Staffordshire Beaudesert meaning beautiful wild and in Hampshire Beaulieu meaning beautiful place. Like Beamish Beaulieu, is a beautiful setting for a famous museum.

Bearpark (County Durham)

Not as might be expected a place where bears were kept, but a corruption of the Norman-French Beau Repaire, meaning Beautiful Retreat. This was the country seat of the monks of Durham, founded by Prior Bertram in the thirteenth century. The prior's manor which stood on the north side of the River Browney at Beau Repaire was later destroyed by Scots during the Civil War. Modern Bearpark lies to the south of the Browney and is a former colliery village of Victorian origin, its name is sometimes pronounced Beer Park in the local dialect.

Beaufront Castle (Northumberland)

See Beamish

Beaumont Hill (County Durham)

See Beamish

Bedburn Beck (County Durham)

This name means Bede's stream (Weardale). Bede was a relatively common Anglo-Saxon personal name. Burn and Beck mean exactly the same thing. See Beadnell

Bedlington (Northumberland)

An Anglo-Saxon name meaning farm or ton of Bedla's people. At one time this Northumbrian village was the capital of Bedlingtonshire, an isolated district which was a part of County Durham until the nineteenth century.

Belasis (County Durham)

See Belasis Teesside and Cleveland

Belasis (Teesside)

This is a Norman French name and Means Bell Assize or beautiful seat. There are two places of this name in the north east, one is near Durham City and the other is now a part of Billingham.

Bellingham (Northumberland)

This North Tynedale village is thought to mean the homestead or ham of the people living on the bell shaped hill

Belmont (County Durham)

From the name of Belmont Hall. Belmont is a fanciful name meaning beautiful or bell shaped hill and is found throughout the country. Durham's Belmont Hall is now called the Ramside Hotel.

Benfieldside (County Durham)

See Consett

Bensham (Tyneside)

This is thought to mean Beornic's ham or homestead.

Benwell (Tyneside)

This derives from Bionum wall, meaning within the Roman Wall. It may have been the site of an early Anglo-Saxon settlement near the site of the Roman fort called Condercum.

Berwick (Northumberland)

This famous border town has an Anglo-Saxon name which means Corn Farm. Berwick is in England although many think the place is Scottish. Most places in southern Scotland have Anglo-Saxon place names, where native Celtic names are rarer than in the highlands.

Bickerton (Northumberland)

Bickerton means the beekeeper's farm.

Biddick (Wearside)

Pehaps ths site of a Viking farm or 'by' near a ditch or dyke.

Billingham (Teesside)

Early spellings of the name Billingham include Bellingaham, Billingeham, Billinghaham, Billingeham, Billyngham and in 1539 Byllinghame. The name is Anglo-Saxon in origin and means the homestead of Billa's sons. Some scholars regard place names ending in ingham as the earliest places settled by the Anglo-Saxons when they colonised England from their homelands in Germany and Denmark in the sixth century. This theory is now disputed, but it is very probable that Billingham and nearby Norton across the Billingham Beck were important farmland manors in early Anglo-Saxon times. In 1984 archaeologists undertook excavations at Mill Lane, Norton and uncovered several items dating from Anglo-Saxon times including buckles, beads, brooches spears and combs. Norton has an Anglo-Saxon name meaning the north settlement. Ton and ham are the most common Anglo-Saxon elements in English place names. Norton also has a medieval church noted for the almost complete survival of an Anglo-Saxon crossing tower. The historic church of St Cuthberts at Billingham also has Anglo-Saxon origins with a western tower dating from this period. Most of the church was rebuilt around 1170.

Binchester (County Durham)

The word Chester, immediately tells us that this place near Bishop Auckland was once the site of a Roman fort. It was in fact the site of a fort near the River Wear known to the Romans as Vinovia, a name thought to mean the pleasant spot. Today, this is still a very pleasant setting and there are extensive remains of the ten acre fort including the remarkable remains of the Roman hypocaust, or Roman central heating system. Vinovia was located on the Roman Road called Dere Street, part of which ran along the course of Newgate Street and Watling Road in the centre of what is now Bishop Auckland. The fort was usually garrisoned by a cavalry and one of the commanders of Vinovia was called Fulvanius. An altar stone dedicated to Fulvanius was found in the nineteenth century, when it was used along with a number of other Roman altars and monuments to form the stoppings of a neighbouring coal pit. The name Binchester, of Saxon origin may have developed from the original Roman name Vinovia, with the pronunciation of v changing into b. Another theory is that after the Romans abandoned the site, the later Anglo-Saxons used it as a shelter for cattle. In Anglo Saxon the word Binn meant manger and later a stall, so Binchester could mean Manger-fort or stall-fort.

Birtley (County Durham)

This name is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon Beorhte Leah, meaning bright clearing.

Bishop Auckland (County Durham)

Bishop Auckland, located at the confluence of the River Gaunless and River Wear is so named because it is the site of the Bishop of Durham's place of residence. The origin of the name Auckland, which is shared with West Auckland and St Helen Auckland is obscure, its earliest recorded form being Alcleat, a name of Celtic origin meaning cliff on the Clyde. Alcleat was the ancient name of Dumbarton near Glasgow, but why should this name be associated with south west Durham ?. The most likely explanation is that there was a river in the vicinity of the Aucklands called the Clyde. This is not unlikely as most English river names are of Celtic origin. Interestingly the three Aucklands all lie above the valley of the Gaunless, a river with an unusual name because it is not of Celtic origin. The name of the River Gaunless is Viking and means 'useless' either because of its sluggish inability to work a mill, or because of a lack of fish. It is not known what the Gaunless was called in pre-Viking times, but perhaps it was originally called the Clyde. In later years the old name Alcleat was interpreted by the Vikings as Auckland which means separate land. The place has sometimes been called 'oakland', the well wooded countryside.

Bishop Middleham (County Durham)

Middleham is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning middle homestead. It is said to be named because of its middle location half way between Auckland, Durham and Stockton which were all residences of the Bishop of Durham.

Bishopwearmouth (Wearside)

See Sunderland

Bitchburn (County Durham)

This is a corruption of Beech burn, a stream where beech trees grew.

Blakehopeburnhaugh (Northumberland)

This little farmstead hamlet can be found in the Redesdale Forest, and is the longest place name in England with a total of eighteen letters. Situated near the confluence of the River Rede and the Blakehope Burn, the name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means Black valley stream with flat riverside land. Blakehopeburnhaugh's status as England's longest place name is challenged by the nineteen letter Cottonshopeburnfoot which lies half a mile up the valley, but this does not qualify because the Ordnance Survey spell the name as two words Cottonshopeburn Foot. Remarkably the total number of letters in the two places added together are still no match for Britain's longest place name, the fifty eight letter Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is found in Anglesey, North Wales. Known as Llanfair P.G for short, the name means 'St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave.'

Blakelaw (Tyneside)

This means black law - the black hill, from the Anglo-Saxon Blaec Hlaw. See also Tow Law.

Blakeston (Teesside)

The farm belonging to Blaki.

Blanchland (Northumberland)

White land, named from the white habits once worn by the monks of Blanchland abbey.

Blaydon (Tyneside)

An Anglo-Saxon name deriving from Blaec Don meaning black hill.

Blenkinsopp (Northumberland)

The hopp or valley belonging to Blenkin.

Bloemfontein (County Durham)

See Quebec

Blyth (Northumberland)

A celtic river name of unknown meaning, although many Celtic river names simply mean 'river'.

Bolam (County Durham)

Bolam derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Bole, a plank. Bolum is a plural form meaning the planks. Bolam is the modern form. The name means either the planks or the tree trunks.

Boldon (Wearside)

The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Bothal Don which means homestead hill - a settlement on a hill. Boldon gives its name to the Boldon Buke of 1083. Instigated by Bishop Hugh Pudsey. The Boldon Buke was County Durham's equivelant of the Domesay Book.

Bolt's Law (County Durham)

The hill belonging to Boltr. Law is a Saxon word, Boltr a Viking personal name

Bondgate (County Durham)

Names of historic streets in Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Alnwick, on land once owned by Bondsmen of these towns.

Boosbeck (Teesside)

This Viking place name means the stream near the Cow shed. Beck was the Viking word for a stream.

Boulmer (Northumberland)

This means the mere or lake of the bullock.

Bowburn (County Durham)

The site of a bow shaped stream.

Bowes (County Durham)

Bowes village on the River Greta, three miles south west of Barnard Castle takes its name from the Viking word 'Bogr' meaning bow or iver bend and early records of the name include Bogis and Boghas. Bowes has a similar meaning to Bogen and Boger in Norway and the River Greta is certainly a Viking name meaning 'stony stream'. Bowes is situated at the entrance to the bleak Stainmore Pass, historically one of the most important Pennine crossing places. Stainmore and Teesdale once formed the northern limit of the Viking Kingdom of York, and the southern border of the Anglo-Saxon realm of Northumbria. In 954 AD Eric Bloodaxe, the last Viking King of York was murdered by the Northumbrians on Stainmore and the Viking Kingdom collapsed. Rey Cross, five miles west of Bowes is thought to mark Eric's grave, but it also marked the eastern border of the Kingdom of Strathclyde which then included Cumbria. In earlier times Bowes and Stainmore were important to the Romans who built the Roman fort of Lavatrae on the site. The fort was linked to two Roman watchtowers on the Stainmore pass. The keep of Bowes Castle, now in ruin, was built for Henry II in 1171 and occupies the site of the old Roman fort. Today Bowes is primarily famed for the Bowes family, ancestors of the present Queen Mother, who took their name from the village of Bowes, their place of origin. It was a member of this same family, John Bowes, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Strathmore, who established the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle in the nineteenth century.

Bradbury (County Durham)

An Anglo-Saxon name meaning broad fort or settlement. A settlement may have existed here in pre-Saxon times. The surrounding Bradbury Carrs is a poorly drained area, but the settlement may have been of importance and may once have formed an island within a lake.

Brafferton (County Durham)

This Anglo-Saxon name is thought to derive from Brad Ford Ton - the ton or farm near a broad ford over a stream.

Brancepeth (County Durham)

Brancepeth near Durham City is said to derive its name from Brawn's peth, a steep path frequented by a wild boar. In medieval times, brawns were a common feature of the then thickly forested County Durham landscape. The county is thought to have been one of the last strongholds of these beasts which are no longer to be found wild in this country. The wild boar of Brancepeth is said to have terrorised the local neighbourhood in the middle ages until a certain Hodge of Ferryhill captured and killed the beast in return for a reward. In legend the nearby village of Brandon is said to derive its name from the site of the Brawns Den. Sadly, research suggests that Brandon derives its name from Brome Don meaning broom or gorse hill, while Brancepeth seems to derive from Brand's Peth meaning the hill walk belonging to Brand or perhaps the walk to Brandon. There is nevertheless a site called Brawn's den close to the village of Brandon. This is the site of an ancient settlement, so perhaps an ancient settler set up home here in the hope of catching a wild boar for his Sunday lunch.

Brandon (County Durham)

see Brancepeth

Breamish, River (Northumberland)

A Celtic river name which may be related to the Welsh Brefu meaning 'to roar'. See also Till, River

Brignall (County Durham)

This means Bryni's halh - the piece of land belonging to Brini.

Brotton (Teesside)

This is thought to derive from Brook Ton, the farm near the brook or stream.

Browney, River (County Durham)

This means brown river. The ending ey may be from the Anglo-Saxon word 'ea' meaning river.

Budle (Northumberland)

This derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Bothal.

Burnhope (County Durham)

This has two Anglo-Saxon words Burn, a stream and hope, a valley.

Burnopfield (County Durham)

Burn means Stream, Op is a valley, and field means open land (Not enclosed land as field means today).

Butterknowle (County Durham)

Butterknowle in south west Durham is an Anglo-Saxon or Viking name name and means butter knoll - the hill with a dwelling and farms noted for their rich pasturage. Butter probably refers to the good quality butter produced by the cattle that grazed on the fields here. The word butter occurs in many English place names and often refers to the quality of the land. Examples include Butterleigh in Devon, Butterwick and Butterworth in Yorkshire, Butterley in Herefordshire and Butterhill in Staffordshire. Sometimes Butter is actually a personal name and this may be the case with Buttermere in the Lake District, which means either the butter lake or the lake belonging to someone called Butter. Butterby near Durham City is a corrupted form of the Norman French Beautrove, which was later called Beautroby. Unlike most place names ending in by, it is not a Danish place name. Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales between Swaledale and Wensleydale takes its name from holes formed by water erosion of the limestone here. It is thought that farmers cooled their butter in the holes on their way to market.

Byers Green (County Durham)

Byers Green means the green with byres or cow houses.

Byker (Tyneside)

A Viking village (a by) near a kerr. Kerr was a Viking word for a marsh, suggesting that the Vikings had to make do with poor quality land on Tyneside. Nearby Walker means marsh or 'Kerr' near the Hadrians Wall.

C California to Cullercoats

California (Teesside)

See Quebec

Cambo (Northumberland)

This derives from Cab Hoh, which means the spur like hill (hoh) with a crest.

Cambois (Northumberland)

Pronounced Cammus, this is a Celtic name thought to mean bay.

Cargo Fleet (Teesside)

Cargo Fleet was originally a medieval fishing port called Kaldecotes or Caldcotes and is situated at the point where the Marton and Ormesby Becks join the River Tees. Before its medieval development the Anglo-Saxon name Caldcotes referred to cold-shelter cottages, or a place of refuge where fishermen or travellers could shelter from the wild winter weather. Today, this site is lost among the heavy industry of the district. Somehow the name Caldecotes was corrupted into Cawker, then into Caudgatefleet and finally Cargo Fleet. During the eighteenth century Cargo Fleet was also known as Cleveland Port and was the point where large ships off-loaded their cargoes onto fleets of smaller vessels which were then able to continue the journey along the River Tees to the port of Stockton.

Carlin Howe (Teesside)

This is a Viking name which means old woman's hill or Hill of the witch.

Cassop (County Durham)

This name means Cats' Hop, the valley of the wild cats. The valley is known today as Cassop Vale, a site of Special, Scientific interest but there are no longer any wild cats.

Castle Eden (County Durham)

Eden is an old Celtic word referring to a river or stream, a village called Yoden once existed where the town of Peterlee stands today.

Cauldron Snout (County Durham)

See High Force

Charlaw (County Durham)

See Tow Law.

Charlton (Northumberland)

This is an Anglo-Saxon place name which has given its name to the surname Charlton. Means settlement of the churl - a free peasant.

Chester-le-Street (County Durham)

Place names containing the word Street stand on the site of Roman roads and places called Chester were former Roman settlements. In Roman times Chester-le-Street was the site of a Roman fort called Concangium located where the Cong Burn joins the River Wear. The main street of Chester-le-Street follows the course of the Roman Road which ran close to the fort en route from Newcastle to the River Tees at Middleton St George. In Saxon times Chester-le-Street was known as Concaster or Cunecaster, the word Caster like Chester being a Saxon word borrowed from a Latin word signifying the site of a Roman fort. The first part of the old name may refer to the Cong Curn or to an ancient British leader called Cunec who may have lived nearby. Chester-le-Street was a place of great importance in Saxon times and was the centre of a bishopric from 883 AD until 995 AD when the see was transferred to Durham. Shortly after, the name Conecaster was shortened and changed to Chester. The French word le and the word Street were added later to distinguish it from other places called Chester which can be found throughout the country.

Cheviot Hills (Northumberland)

The name Cheviot is almost certainly of Celtic origin but the meaning is obscure.

Chilton (County Durham)

Chilton is an Anglo-Saxon name, and means the settlement belonging to a young man - a child's ton.

Chopwell (County Durham)

Thought to derive from ceap well, which means the well where commerce was carried out. It could also be the well belonging to someone called Ceapa.

Cleasby (County Durham)

This means Kleppr's village and is a Viking place name.

Cleveland (Teesside)

Cleveland means the cliffland or hilly district, the word cliff in its old sense referring to rolling hills rather than steep faced cliffs. The word cleve in Cleveland may also be related to the modern word cleavage. Cleveland is often thought to be a modern invention, but although the County of Cleveland, abolished in April 1996 was not created until 1974, the real Cleveland is much older. Historically Cleveland was a district of northern Yorkshire situated entirely to the south of the River Tees. The earliest record of the name was in Viking times when Harald Hardrada is said to have landed in that part of Yorkshire called Cliffland. Unlike the present county, old Cleveland did not include places like Billingham, Stockton, Egglescliffe and Hartlepool which were part of County Durham. Guisborough was in Yorkshire but was also the ancient Cleveland capital, while Yarm was the main place of industry and commerce in old Cleveland until Middlesbrough rose to prominence in the nineteenth century. Old Cleveland stretched further south than Cleveland county, almost as far south as Whitby and included Egton, Stokesley, Great Ayton, Staithes and Carlton in Cleveland. Ironically Carlton in Cleveland and most of the Cleveland Hills were never part of the modern county of Cleveland.

Cleveland Port (Teesside)

See Cargo Fleet

Coatham (Teesside)

Site of a medieval fishing port now swallowed up by Redcar. For meaning see Coatham Mundeville and see also Redcar.

Coatham Mundeville (County Durham)

Place names containing the words coat, cot or cote are Anglo-Saxon and refer to cottages for people or shelters for sheep. Coatham Mundeville near Darlington, Coatham Stob near Eaglescliffe and Coatham near Redcar were originally called Cotum and represent plural forms of the Anglo-Saxon word 'cot'. Cotum simply means 'at the shelters' or 'at the cottages'. Coatham Mundeville, once also known as Coatham on the Skerne, was so named because it belonged to a French family called Amundevilla. This family took their name from Amundavilla in Normandy. It means the ville belonging to Amundr, a Viking who settled in northern France. The Vikings or 'Northmen' who settled in France were later called Normans. This mixed Viking-French race invaded England under William the Conqueror in 1066. Coatham Mundeville therefore has the unusual distinction of being an Anglo-Saxon place name suffixed with a French surname deriving from a French place name founded by a Viking settler. Coatham Stob between Eaglescliffe and Long Newton also has a French connection. This place was once called Coatham Conyers after a one time owner. The Conyers family were of French origin. The 'stob' is thought to have been a prominent tree stump found nearby.

Cockerton (County Durham)

Cockerton, now part of Darlington is thought to mean the Anglo-Saxon farm or 'ton' on the Cocker Beck. Although the word 'beck' is Viking in origin and means stream, the name Cocker may have much earlier origins and perhaps goes back to Celtic times. The ancient British word 'Kukro' meaning crooked and the corresponding ancient Irish word 'Cuar' meaning crooked or perverse may have given rise to the name of the beck, which was probably called the Cocker Burn in Anglo-Saxon times. There are a number of rivers called the Cocker throughout the country and all could be described as 'crooked rivers'. Some of these rivers have given rise to place names, the most famous being Cockermouth in Cumbria, the birthplace of William Wordsworth, which is located at the mouth of the River Cocker where it joins the River Derwent. Other places of note include Cockerham and Cockersand which are located on a River Cocker in Lancashire. One means the homestead on the Cokcer the other means the sandy banks of the Cocker. Cockerington in Lincolnshire is situated on the River Lud which was perhaps known as the Cocker in more ancient times.

Cockfield (County Durham)

The field or open land belonging to someone called Cocca.

Cold Comfort Farm (County Durham)

Near Darlington, perhaps influenced by the novel of that name.

Coniscliffe (County Durham)

See High Coniscliffe

Consett (County Durham)

In 1297 Consett was called Conksheued changing to Couckeheved in 1312 and Conekesheued in 1443. All these names were very probably misspellings of one name. It is thought to mean Cunec's headland or head, the head or hill belonging to someone called Cunec. The second part of the name does seem to derive from the Anglo-Saxon heafod meaning head but the first part of the name is disputed. One theory is that Cunuc the original first part of the name is the ancient British or Welsh word Cunuc, a name of a hill which also forms the place names Cannock and Conock. Another theory is that the Con in Consett was a tribal leader who may also have given his name to the Cong Burn at Chester-le-Street, a place known to the Romans as Concangium and to the Saxons as Concaster. In legend Consett was the domain of a great giant called Consett who amused himself by throwing enormous bolders to his friends Ben and Mug, who were giants that lived at neighbouring Benfieldside and Muggleswick. Each time the bolder was dropped it caused the familiar dents between the hills of the area. See also Chester-le-Street

Coquet, River (Northumberland)

This is thought to be a Celtic river name, but another siuggestion is that it derives from Cock Wood, a woodland that surrounded the valley.

Corbridge (Northumberland)

For many years Corbridge has been the site of a bridge over the Tyne and this will account for the second part of the name. The first part is thought to come from the Cor Burn, a stream half a mile to the west near the ruins of the Roman fort of Corstopitum. This fort, known in later years as Corchester was built in A.D 80 by Julius Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britain. The Roman name is thought to be a corruption of Corstoritum meaning Cor-ford. Historically there was a ford over the Tyne here just below the fort, where the Cor Burn joins the river. Corstopitum guarded this crossing and was also located at the junction of two Roman Roads called Dere Street and Stanegate. A third Roman road called The Devil's Causeway joined Dere Street only four miles to the north adding to Corstopitum's important strategic location. In A.D 160 it became a military supply base with a large civilian settlement and was the most important Roman town in the Hadrian's Wall area, although it was not situated on the Roman Wall itself. In Anglo-Saxon times the present Corbridge became a place of importance and was the capital of Northumbria, a title held at other times by York and Bamburgh. Corbridge was the site of two important battles in 914 AD and 918 AD when the Northumbrians sided with the Scots against the raiding Vikings who invaded the Tyne valley from

Corchester (Northumberland)

See Corbridge

Cornforth (County Durham)

Places containing the word corn are a subject of debate. At first they would seem to refer to the growing of corn, but the word may have an older meaning, perhaps a Celtic personal name. The name of Cornwall for example derives from a Celtic tribal name. In Cornforth's case however the growing of corn may be a factor. The name means Corn - ford and may refer to a ford or fords across the local beck leading to a local corn mill or corn field. In the twelfth century Cornforth belonged to Alan de Chilton but sometime before 1180 he surrendered all rights to Hugh Pudsey the Bishop of Durham. The Bishops of Durham inherited Cornforth's manorial mill, a corn mill which was worth 20 a year to the bishops at the beginning of the fourteenth century. A fulling mill is also mentioned at Cornforth in 1358. Cornforth remained a small agricultural community until the opening of a coal mine in 1835 which brought about the birth of the neighbouring West Cornforth, although this place was known as New Thrislington until 1857. This colliery closed in 1851 although another opened in 1867 which remained open for 99 years. Cornforth is known locally as 'Doggy', the old name for the colliery. This name came about because Cornforth once had two railway stations on two separate lines. One of the stations was known as 'Doggy' because it was situated on Dog Lane. This name was passed on to the colliery and subsequently the village itself.

Cornsay (County Durham)

Thought to mean Corn's' hoh or haugh, a piece of land belonging to someone called Corn.

Cottonshopeburnfoot (Northumberland)

See Blakehopeburnhaugh.

Coundon (County Durham)

Either Anglo-Saxon Cuna Dun - the hill of the cows, or a Celtic name of unknown meaning.

County Durham - Land of the Prince Bishops (County Durham)

Even without the sub-heading Land of the Prince Bishops, the name County Durham is very unusual because it is the only county in England which should be prefixed with the word County, that is County Durham and not Durham County. Apart from being a convenient means of distinguishing the county from the city of Durham, the name is a throwback to the days when County Durham was officially the County Palatine of Durham. The County Palatine was an almost separate realm ruled by Prince Bishops. The Prince Bishops had virtually the same powers in the County of Durham as the king had in the rest of England, although ultimately it was the king who was responsible for appointing the bishops, as their powers were not hereditary. The post of Prince Bishop came about in the reign of William the Conqueror, who combined the political powers of the old Earls of Northumbria (who at that time ruled between the Tees and Tweed) with the ecclesiastical powers of the Bishop of Durham.The Prince Bishops were responsible for looking after the king's interests in this far northern territory and defended England from the Scots. The most powerful Prince Bishops were the medieval bishops like Hugh du Puiset (Pudsey) and Bishop Anthony Bek. Over the centuries their powers were gradually reduced, particularly when the danger of Scottish invasion was no longer a threat. In 1832, on the death of Bishop William Van Mildert, the few remaining vestiges of the Prince Bishops' powers were handed over to the crown. See also Durham City.

Cowpen Bewley(Teesside

Cowpen pronounced coopen is thought to derive from a Viking word Kupa meaning a cup like depression. This may have been caused by the construction of salt pans in the area. Salt has been excavated in the Billingham area since ancient times and was arguably the first chemical industry in the district.

Coxhoe (County Durham)

The name is thought to mean Cocca's hill or piece of land.

Cramlington (Northumberland)

From an Anglo-Saxon word crumb meaning a bend - a bend in the river

Craster (Northumberland)

Craw cester, the original form of the name means an old fort inhabited by crows.

Crime Rigg (County Durham)

This place near Sherburn in Durham contains the Anglo-Saxon element rigg meaning ridge - perhaps the ridge where a crime was committed.

Crook (County Durham)

A former colliery village which is now the administrative centre for the Wear Valley in County Durham. Durham's Crook dates back to Viking times and derives from the Old Norse Krokr or Old Danish Kroker. The word means bend ie crooked from a bend in the river.

Crooked Oak (Northumberland)

See Wallish Walls

Croxdale (County Durham)

This actually means Croc's Tail, a tail of land belonging to someone called Croc. .

Cullercoats (Northumberland)

Culler from Culfre - a pigeon or dove. The name means dove cots.

D Dabble Duck to Durham Field

Dabble Duck (County Durham)

Name of an Industrial Estate near Shildon. It was formerly the site of the Dabble Duck Pit which was noted for being wet in the workings.

Daisy Hill (County Durham)

Perhaps a a hill where daisies grew.

Dalton le Dale (County Durham)

Dalton means farm in the dale. Le Dale has been added due to Norman French influence. See Chester-le-Street and Hetton-le-Hole.

Dalton Piercy (Teesside)

This has the same meaning as Dalton-le-Dale. It belonged to the Percy family until 1370.

Darlington (County Durham)

There is no obvious explanation for the name Darlington except that we know the elements ing and ton are Anglo-Saxon. Ing refers to a family group or kinship and ton is an enclosed farm or homestead. Darlington's name has changed many times throughout its history, but the first recorded form of the name was Dearthington and is thought to refer to someone called Deornoth. Thus Deornoth's peoples' homestead would seem to be the correct meaning. Later Dearthington became Dearnington and subsequently Darnton or Darnton i the Dirt due to unpaved streets. In 1603 King James I visited Darlington and wrote Darnton has a bonny, bonny church, with a broach upon the steeple, but Darnton is a mucky, mucky town and mair shame on the people. Darlington, the modern form of the name is more closely related to the earlier form Dearthington which continued in use for many centuries alongside the shortened form Darnton. Sadly there is no evidence that Darlington means a darling of a place.

Darras Hall (Northumberland)

Darras is a corruption of the Norman French surname De Araynis, a family who owned the manor here in Norman times.

Deaf Hill (County Durham)

A place near Trimdon. The name is something of a mystery to me, but to find the real answer try asking the hill itself !

Deerness, River (County Durham)

This is thought to be a Celtic river name. The element ness is thought also to be Celtic and can be compared to the River Ness and Loch Ness in Scotland. It probably has nothing to do with the Viking and Saxon words Ness meaning headland.

Dere Street (County Durham)

The name of the main Roman road from York to Scotland. It was probably named by the Anglo-Saxons in the post Roman era and means the forest way.

Derwent, River (County Durham)

Derwent means oak river and is of ancient Celtic origin.

Don, River (Tyneside)

Don is an ancient Celtic river name. The Don joins the Tyne at Jarrow, a place which was sometimes known as Donmouth in Saxon times. See also Jarrow

Dormanstown (Teesside)

A town built near Redcar for the steel workers of Dorman and Long in 1918.

Druridge (Northumberland)

Druridge means dry ridge

Dryburn (County Durham)

A stream that has dryed up. In legend the stream is said to have dried after the execution of a Roman Catholic called John Bost on the site. Dryburn is now the site of a hospital. In more historic times it was the place where people were hanged in Durham, so it could be a corruption of Tyburn, the place where people were hanged in London.

Durham City (County Durham)

Durham is a corruption of two words Dun, an Anglo Saxon word meaning hill and holm a Viking word meaning island or meander. Hill island is a good description of the site where the River Wear almost encircles the hill occupied by the cathedral and castle, to form an island-like location. With the predominant use of Latin by the church in this centre of Christianity, Dunholm was Latinized into the form Dunelm, but under Norman-French influence it also acquired the name Duresme. Over the centuries these forms have been re-Anglicised to the present form Durham which has given its name to the whole county. See also County Durham and Elvet.

Durham Field (Northumberland)

See Wallish Walls

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