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30 Newcastle and Northumberland place names and what they mean

30 Newcastle and Northumberland place names and what they mean 4221396001 4895643237001 4895610418001 vs


What’s in a place name?

Peering back through the mists of time, it’s interesting to reflect on the origins of the names of the North East towns and villages we take so much for granted.

Often they are derived from the land – and more often than not the names have greatly evolved over the centuries from the earliest Old English and Norman versions.

Some meanings are more obvious then others.

Northumberland is derived from Northhymbre, the first use of which can be traced back to 867, meaning ‘people who lived North of the Humber’.

Wallsend first got a mention as Wallesende in 1085, and means, as most of us will know, ‘the end of the Roman Wall’.

Below, are 30 well-known Northumberland and Newcastle locations; with the original name of the place, the date it was first mentioned; and a brief explanation behind the name.


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Alnmouth/ Alnemnuth 1201/ Mouth of the Aln

Alnwick/ Alnawick 1160/ Farm on the River Aln

Ashington/ Essenden 1205/ Ash tree valley

Backworth/ Buxwortha 1203/ Bacca’s enclosure

Benton/ Bentune 1190/ Coarse grass or bean farm

Benwell/ Bynnewalle 1050/ Beside the Roman Wall



Benwell: Maria Street under demolition, c 1971 (Peter Moore)  30 Newcastle and Northumberland place names and what they mean
Benwell: Maria Street under demolition, c 1971 (Peter Moore)

Berwick/ Berewic 1205/ Barley farm

Burradon/ Burwedon 1242/ A hill with a fortification

Callerton/ Caluerduna 1100/ Hill where the calves grazed

Chirton/ Cherlton 1203/ Land belonging to a church

Choppington/ Cebbington 1040/ Ceabba’s named settlement

Cowgate/ Cougate 1290/ Pasture for a cow

Cullercoats/ Culvercoats 1600/ Dove cotes

Denton/ Dentuna 1252/ Valley farm

Earsdon/ Erdesdon 1233/ Eored’s hill



North Shields: The Fish Quay, 1938  30 Newcastle and Northumberland place names and what they mean
North Shields: The Fish Quay, 1938

Farne Islands/ Fame 730/ Settled by people from afar

Fawdon/ Faudon 1242/ Multi-coloured hill

Fenham/ Fennum/ Meadow by the fen

Gosforth/ Goseford 1166/ Goose ford

Haltwhistle/ Hautwisel 1240/ Place where streams join by the hill

Heaton/ Heyton 1138/ High settlement

Jesmond/ Gesemue 1205/ Mouth of the Ouseburn



Jesmond: The railway station, 1965 (Armstrong Trust)  30 Newcastle and Northumberland place names and what they mean
Jesmond: The railway station, 1965 (Armstrong Trust)

Kenton/ Kinton 1242/ A royal manor

Monkseaton/ Seton Monachorum 1380/ Sea farm belonging to the monks of Tynemouth

Newbiggin by the Sea/ Niwebiginga 1187/ New building or house

Otterburn/ Oterburn 1217/ Otter stream

Ouseburn/ Jhesam, Yese 1293/ Gushing river

Riding Mill/ Ryding 1262/ Mill in a clearing

North Shields/ Nortscelis 1273/ Temporary huts for fishermen

Stamfordham/ Stanfordham 1188/ Settlement at the stony ford

From the book Place Names and Field Names of Northumberland by Stan Beckensall. Fonthill Media. £18.99


Source : Chroniclelive

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