Clip to Evernote    Print this page

Place-Names and Boundaries


Place-Names and Boundaries


Name / element




shire, sher, shir (OE scir)


a boundary, but treat carfefully as a similar OE word means 'bright', 'pure'


row (ON ra)


a boundary, but 'row' may also denote 'rough'


-mere, -more (OE gemære)


a boundary, but these names can easily be confused with others derived from an OE word denoting a lake or pond, or one refering to a mare


(OE ric/raec?)


Gelling (1993, pp. 183-6) suggests the existence of an OE word which denoted a raised strip and which applied to linear earthworks, ridges and the raised aggers of Roman roads


-dyke, -dike (OE dic)


a ditch, trench or embankment. Often asscociated with linear earthworks


-hedge, -hay
(OE haga, hege, hegeræwe)


hedge, hedgerow; hay and haya sometimes denote hedged boundaries of deerparks


thorn (OE thorn, thyrne)


denotes a thorn tree and often associated with thorn hedges noted in charter boundaries


stan, -stan (OE stan)


stone, sometimes denoting a boundary stone, as in Merstham= 'boundary stone'


threp (OE threap)


disputed land - often found in a boundary locality


cross (OE cros)


'cross' place-names frequently signify old boundaries as crosses were commonly employed as boundary-markers


hare, hore hoor (OE har)


can signify a boundary, as in 'harestan' or 'boundary-stone', though such words can also derive from an OE word for 'grey' or 'hoary'


hurrock, hurder
law (OE hlāw)


Northern dialect words associated with cairns or heaps of stones sometimes employed as boundary-markers ('law' generally refers to an ancient burial mound)


This table is taken from:
Muir, R., "The New Reading the Landscape", 2002, University of Exeter Press, Table 3.2 p. 71

Gelling, M., 1993, "Place-names in the Landscape", London, Dent

 Next page: Place-Names and Ritual Landscapes