THE ORIGIN OF PLACE NAMES IN LONDON
By Tim Lambert
Acton Acton comes from ac tun meaning oak farm or village
Barking Barking was Berica ingas, which means Berica's people
Bermondsey Bermondsey takes its name from a Saxon landowner. It was Beormund's eg. The word eg meant an island, a promontory of land or in this case an 'island' of dry land surrounded by marsh.
Bexley Bexley comes from byxe leah, which means box tree clearing
Blackfriars Lane This street takes its name from Dominican friars. They were called blackfriars because of the colour of their costumes
Bromley It was broom leah or clearing where broom grew
Brixton Brixton was Brixi's tun, Brixi's farm or hamlet
Camden Town Camden Town is named after the first earl of Camden who began development there
Catford It was the ford of wild cats
Chelsea The name Chelsea is derived from Saxon words cealc hythe. The word hythe meant a landing place for boats. The word cealc meant chalk so perhaps it was a chalky landing place for boats.
Chiswick The word wick sometimes meant a specialised farm. Chiswick was the cheese farm.
Clapham Its name was originally clopp ham, which meant the village (ham) by the short hill (clopp)
Clerkenwell It was the clerk's well. It stood on the site of Farringdon Road
Cricklewood It was a wood with an uneven edge
Crutched Friars This street takes its name from friars who lived there in the Middle Ages. The word crutched is a corruption of crouche, the old English word for cross. Their proper name was Friars of the Holy Cross.
Croydon Croydon probably takes its name from crog denu, which means saffron valley
Dagenham Dagenham was Daecca's ham or village
Deptford Deptford was the deep ford
Downing Street Downing Street was built by George Downing in the late 17th century
Dulwich It was dill wics. Wics means a wet meadow
Ealing Ealing was Gilla ingas the people of Gilla
Edgware Its name comes from the words Ecgi's Weir
Eltham Eltham may have been Elta's ham, Elta's village
Enfield The Saxon word feld meant open land. Enfield was Eana's feld.
Finchley Finchley was finch leah or the clearing with finches
Golders Green It takes its name from the Godyer family who lived here in the Middle Ages
Fulham Fulham was Fulla's hamm or Fulla's land by a river
Hackney Hackney was Hacca's ey, an 'island' of dry land surrounded by marsh
Hammersmith It was the place where a smith made hammers
Hampstead Its name meant homestead
Harrow Harrow takes its name from the Saxon word haerg which means a temple to pagan gods
Havering Havering was Haefer ingas or Haefer's people
Hillingdon It may have been the dun, meaning hill of a man named Hille
Hounslow Hounslow probably comes from Hund's hluew meaning Hund's slope or hill
Islington Islington was Gisla inga dun, which means the hill (dun) belonging to Gisla
Kingston Kingston Upon Thames was once the king's tun or estate
Lambeth The name Lambeth is derived from the Saxon word hythe meaning a landing place for boats. It was a landing place where lambs were landed.
Lewisham Its name was probably Leofsa's ham (ham meant village)
Merton Its name comes from the words mere meaning pool and tun meaning farm or village
Minories This street takes its name from an abbey dedicated to St Clare. The nuns were called sorores minores or little sisters of St Clare
Muswell Hill Muswell is derived from words meaning mossy spring
Old Jewry This was the district of the city of London where Jews lived in the Middle Ages. In 1290 Jews were expelled from England. In the 17th century Jews were allowed to return and they gave Jewry Street its name.
Pall Mall Pall Mall takes its name from a game similar to croquet that was once played here
Plumstead The Saxon word stede meant place or farm
Purley Purley was pear leah or pear (tree) clearing
Richmond Richmond used to be called Shene. Henry VII renamed it after Richmond in Yorkshire
Soho Soho is believed to get its name from an old hunting cry
Southwark It was called the south work and became known as Southwark
Streatham The Saxons called a Roman road a straet and their word for village was ham. So it was straet ham, the village by the Roman road.
Surbiton Surbiton may have been sud bere tun, which means south barley farm
Sutton It was sud tun or south farm
Teddington This place name comes from the words Tedd inga tun, which means the farm or hamlet belonging to Tedd
Towers Hamlets In the 17th century there were hamlets round the Tower of London
Walthamstow Walthamstow comes from 3 Saxon words - weald meaning forest, ham meaning village and stowe meaning place.
Wanstead The second part of the name comes from the Saxon word stede meaning place. The first part of the name is probably from wen meaning hill. So it was the place by the hill.
Wembley Wembley was Wemba's leah or Wemba's clearing
Willesden Willesden was once wella's dun, which means spring hill
Wood Street Firewood was sold in this street
Woolwich Wick meant port so it was the wool port
A History of London
The origin of English place names
A brief history of Bermondsey
A short history of Chelsea
A brief history of Greenwich
A brief history of Hampstead
A brief history of Southwark