Names A to D | Names E to J| Names K to O| Names P to S| Names T to Y

Yorkshire Place-Name Meanings K to O


K Kaldecotes to Knaresborough


See Cargo Fleet


The clearing (a ley) belonging to Cyhha.


Keld derives from the Viking word Kelda meaning a spring. The place was once called AppletreKelde - the spring near the apple trees.


See Neasham


This is thought to be a Viking name meaning narrow valley.


A corruption of Cyppas ash, an ash tree belonging to someone called Cyppa.

Kirby Sigston

This means the church village near Sigston. Sigston means Sigga's farm.

Kirkby Malzeard

Malzeard is thought to derive from old French mal assart meaning poor clearing. Kirkby means church village.

Kirkby Overblow

Kirkby means church village. Overblow is a reference to smelters who presumably worked in the village.


Place names called Kirkby and Kirby are found in those parts of England settled by the Vikings, which is why they are commonly found in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lincolnshire but absent from Northumberland and Durham. Kirkbys and Kirbys were farms or villages with a neighbouring kirk or church, as the word 'by' signifies a village of Viking origin. Like other commonly occuring place names such as Witton, Chester and Hutton, Kirkbys and Kirbys are given additional names to help distinguish one from another. Thus we have Kirkbymoorside, which was originally Kirkbymoorshead, the Kirkby at the head of the moor, Kirkby Fleetham situated near a homestead on a stream called a fleet and Kirkby Overblow which belonged to a smelter or 'orblawere'. Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria is one of a number of Viking 'by' names in Cumbria's Eden valley, but is so named because it was given to Stephen, the abbot of St Mary's at York in Norman times. Kirkby Thore, also in the Eden valley belonged to a Viking called Thore. Yorkshire's Kirkby Misperton, Kirkby Knowle, Kirkby Sigston and Kirkby Wiske were respectively the Kirkbys near the Misper tree, near the Knoll hill, near Sigga's farm and on the River Wiske.


Kirkleatham near Redar both have names of Norse origin. Their names derive from the Old Norse 'hlith' meaning slope which in a plural form was lithum. Kirkleatham was formerly known as West Lidium or West Leatham to distinguish it from Upleatham which means the upper slopes. Later around 1181 Kirkleatham acquired its present name because of a medieval church or 'kirk' that existed here. Today Kirkleatham is famous as the site of the Sir William Turner Hospital and the Turner Mausoleum. Both were associated with the alum mining family called the Turners. Kirkleatham Hall, a seventeenth mansion was the home of this family but the hall was demolished in 1954 and replaced with a school which is now the Kirkleatham Old Hall Museum. Sir William Turner's Hospital was founded in 1676 as almshouses for the poor but was almost entirely rebuilt in 1742.


This means Kirk Leven Ton. The Church on the River Leven with a farm (ton).


Perhaps Knar, a stump plus borough or burgh - a fortified place.

L Lackenby to Low Hutton


A Viking settlement or 'by' which belonged to someone called Hlackande.


Langbaurgh on Tees unyil recentl a county district takes its name from an ancient hill called Langbaurgh near Great Ayton in the Cleveland Hills. The name has two parts Lang meaning long and Beorge meaning hill. Beorge should not be confused with the Saxon word burgh meaning fortified place. Langbaurgh was a place of significance in historic times when it was the central meeting place of a Wappentake, or administrative district of Viking origin. The long, high narrow ridge-like hill was a meeting point where the Vikings of the district assembled to discusss local affairs. In this respect Langbaurgh was similar to Sadberge, the centre of County Durham's only wappentake which was the saet beorge or flat topped hill where the Vikings of South Durham assembled. Wappentakes continued as administrative districts into medieval times when some new wappentakes were created. These included Whitby Strand which was created from part of Langbargh. Later Langbargh wappentake was divided into two parts called East and West Langbargh with Roseberry Topping and Ayton Moor on the border between the two. For many centuries the whole wappentake was known by its other very ancient name - Cleveland. See also Cleveland.


A Viking name meaning long meadow.


This means a long toft.


A Viking place name which means the village belonging to a Leysingr or freeman.


See Leeds


See Leeds


Leeds was anciently the name of a district of Ancient British origin named from a local tribe. Ledsham also takes its name from this tribal area. The name may mean flowing river, perhaps a reference to the River Aire on which Leeds is situated.


This is thought to derive from an ancient Celtic river name Leamh - meaning elm tree.

Leven, River

A Celtic river name related to the Welsh Llyfn meaning 'smooth'


Ling is an alternative word for heather. Heather-dale.

Little Barugh

Barugh is a barrow like hill, the word can also be found in Langbaurgh.

Little Smeaton

See Great Smeaton.


This may take its name from a stream name in the same way as Liverpool means something like muddy.


A Viking name which derives from Loft-Hus, a house with a loft.

Low Hutton

See Huttons Ambo

M Maltby to Muker


Malti's Village, a Viking name


Originally Middleton, but the name has been corrupted due to Viking influence.


A Viking name corrupted from Marr - rigg. It means horse ridge. The word marr is related to the word mare.


See Marske by the Sea

Marske by the Sea

Marske-by-the Sea near Redcar and Marske near Richmond are Scandinavian pronunciations of the English word marsh, and were thus settlements near marshy land. Viking influence is demonstrated in these names by the substitution of the English SH sound with the Viking SK. The hardened SK, or SC sounds are found in Viking-influenced place names like Scarborough, Skelton and Skeeby and are quite common in Yorkshire. Such names are rare in County Durham, where SH sounds predominate, but one notable exception is the name of the River Skerne.


This could mean marshy farm, farm near a maer (a boundary), or farm near a mere, a lake.


Maessa's Ham, the homestead belonging to Maessa.


Melsonby was Melsan's Farm or village. Melsan is thought to be a shortened from a mixed Viking-Irish name.


Mickleby means the large farm or village.


An Anglo-Saxon name meaning The Middle homestead.


In 1828 Joseph Pease of Darlington bought a small five hundred acre boggy farmland estate called Middlesbrough, a hamlet with only four houses and no more than thirty people. Peases vision was to extend the newly opened Stockton and Darlington railway to this site for the development of a new industrial port. By 1841 Middlesbrough had grown with incredible speed and its new population of 5,463 lived mainly in the St Hildas area of the town built on the site of the old Middlesbrough farm. The town continued to grow, first as a coal port and then as an iron town and by 1901 the population had reached a staggering 91,000. This rapid growth has led many to believe that Middlesbrough is a settlement with no early history, but the name Middlesbrough goes back a long way. Mydilsburgh is the earliest recorded form of the name and the element burgh means an ancient fort or settlement of pre-Saxon origin. The burgh may have included a monastic cell and was probably situated on the elevated land where the Victorian church of St Hildas (demolished in 1969) was later built, and the Mydil or middle was either someone's name or a reference to Middlesbrough's location half way between the great Christian centres of Durham and Whitby.

Middleton Quernhow

See Ainderby Quernhow

Middleton Tyas

The first part of the name is Anglo-Saxon and means middle farm. Tyas is a Norman French name but there is no evidence that the place once belonged to the family of that name.


A Viking form of the Anglo-Saxon Gaemanscipe which means 'community of goods'


A farm where monks lived or worked.


This seems to mean a holm or island on or near the moor, formed by an island or meander, but early forms are Mooresum and may mean the moor houses.

Mount Pleasant


From the Viking Mjor-aker (acre). It means a small piece of land.

N Ness Point to Nunthorpe

Ness Point

See Neasham

Newby Wiske

Newby means new village. It is on the River Wiske

Newton under Roseberry

Newton means the new settlement. See Roseberry Topping

Nidd, River

A Celtic river name thought to mean 'brilliant'


Not the village belonging to a Norman Frenchman and not a village belonging to someone called Norman. It is a Viking name and means the village of the Northman, or in other words the Norseman.

North Ormesby

Town created in 1860 by James Pennyman. It takes its name from Ormesby. See Ormesby.

North Yorkshire

The name of York, is a shortened form of the Viking name Jorvik, which was in turn an interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon name Eoforwic. Yorkshire is the county or 'shire' of York City and has been know in the past as Eoferwicscir, the County of York and Le Counte d' Everwyck. North Yorkshire is the biggest county in England, formed in part by the old North Riding of Yorkshire. The term 'riding' is of Viking origin and derives from Threthingr meaning a third part. There were indeed three ridings in Yorkshire - the East Riding, West Riding and North Riding. The ancient Kingdom of Lindsey, known today as Lincolnshire was also an area of considerable Viking settlement and was likewise divided into three ridings. The East and North Ridings of Yorkshire were separated by the River Derwent and the West and North Ridings were separated by the Ouse and the Ure-Nidd watershed. In 1974 the three ridings of Yorkshire were abolished and York which had been a county in its own right, independent of the three ridings was incorporated into the new county called North Yorkshire. Northallerton, the capital of the North Riding continued its administrative role as the headquarters for North Yorkshire, but Middlesbrough which once held a quarter of the North Riding population was moved into the newly created county called Cleveland.


Northallerton, the administrative centre of North Yorkshire and historically the capital of the North Riding can trace its origins back to Saxon times. Originally called Alverton or Aelfereton, the name is Anglo-Saxon and means the farm belonging to Aelfere, a relatively common Anglo-Saxon personal name. By the fourteenth century the place was called Northallerton, perhaps to distinguish it from another Allerton near York. Anglo-Saxon sculpture has been found in the church of All Saints at Northallerton, suggesting that this was a place of some importance. The settlement of the Anglo-Saxons here was later followed by the Vikings, who made Northallerton a Wappentake or centre of an administrative district where Vikings would assemble to discuss local affairs. Allerton shared its boundaries with the neighbouring wappentakes of Sadberge, across the Tees, Gilling in Swaledale, Birdforth, and Langbaurgh. Viking scuptures called hogbacks have also been found at Northallerton's church in addition to those of Anglo-Saxon origin and have also been found at the nearby village of Brompton. Romanby, to the south of the town is a further indication of Viking setllment, taking its name from a Viking called Hromund. Allerton's Viking wappentake later became Allertonshire and later still the Liberty of Allerton, reflecting this town's important status.


The northern farm - It has the same meaning as Norton on Tees

Norton Conyers

Norton means the Northern farm. It was later associated with the Norman French Conyers family.


Originally just called Thorpe meaning 'a farm'. A Cistercian nunnery existed here in the twelfth century, hence the name Nunthorpe.

O Ormesby to Ouse


Dragons were known as worms in North East legend, with the most notable example being the Lambton Worm which is said to have inhabited the countryside near Chester le Street. In Viking mythology dragons were called `Orms and this may be the origin of our local word Worm. Ormesby is a place name of Viking origin and means Worms village, but the Orm of Ormesby was a Viking settler named after a dragon. Orm was a popular name among the Vikings and occurs in other English place names like Ormskirk (Worms church) near Liverpool and Ormside (Worms Hill) in Cumbria.


The farm belonging to Osbald.


The village belonging to a Viking called Osgood.


In legend Osmotherley is associated with a young Saxon prince of Northumbria called Osmund, who was warned by an astrologer of an evil curse which would cause him to be drowned on a certain day. When the day arrived Osmund's mother took him to Roseberry Topping, in the Cleveland Hills, where it was thought he would be safe from danger. Strangely, by some miracle as the poor prince lay sleeping on the top of the hill, a huge fountain of water gushed from its distinctive summit rock and drowned the young man. Osmund's body was taken to Osmotherley for burial and that is how it is said to have got its name - from Osmund lies here - corrupted to Osmotherley. Sadly there is no evidence to support this legend. It is far more likely that Osmotherley means the clearing or ley belonging to a Viking called Asmund or a Saxon called Osmund, but no proof that Osmund was a Saxon prince. There have have been a number of variations in the spelling of the name over the centuries including Asmundrelac, Osmundeslay, Osemunderl, Osmonderlay and Osmthrly.


This means the church of Oswald. Oswald was a Northumbrian king and saint.

Ouse, River

A Celtic river name

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