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Parish place-names of the North Riding of Yorkshire

The map below is supplementary material for the unit ‘The Vikings in Europe – conquest and settlement’ in the Vikings: raiders, traders and settlers. Click on the markers to see more information on each site. You can also use the filters in the top right-hand corner of this resource to sort the markers displayed by language types and place-name elements. For more information on using Google Maps in this course please visit the Vikings: raiders, traders and settlers maps page.

This map uses the parishes as they were before 1832 and is based on Colin Hinson’s ‘The Parishes of the North Riding’ map. The pre 1832 parish names have been used because they are more likely to represent places of importance in earlier times.

The meaning of the place-names are taken from Eilert Ekwall’s “The Concise Dictionary of English Place-Names”.


Set which language types and place name elements are shown here:
Language types
Place name elements
  • Old English burg ‘fort’. The meaning is usually fortified place or fort – often referring to a Roman or other pre Anglo-Saxon fortification.
  • Old Norse byr. It denoted a village or a homestead.
  • Old English halh or healh ‘a corner, angle, a retired or secret place, cave, closet, recess’. A common place-name element whose exact usage is often difficult to establish. In the north of England halh developed a curious special meaning: ‘haugh, a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river’. This is often the meaning of halh as an element in Yorkshire place-names.
  • Either Old English ham ‘village, estate, manor homestead’, or Old English ham(m), or hom(m) ‘meadow, especially a flat low-lying meadow on a stream’.
  • Old English leah meaning ‘open place in a wood, glade’ or ‘clearing’.
  • Old Norse þveit ‘a meadow, a piece of land’. However in place-names the meaning can vary considerably and it is often impossible to say what the exact sense is in each name.
  • Old English tun originally denoted a fence (cf. German Zaun) but must at an early date have developed the meaning ‘enclosure round a house’ whence ‘homestead, village and town’.
  • Old English worþ, wyrþ. The original meaning seems to have ‘fence, enclosure’ but at an early date this developed into ‘homestead’.
  • No place name element specified.