Geordie Dictionary | Dialect Origins | 'Mackems' and Jamies (Sunderland)

North East Surnames | Border Reivers: Robsons, Armstrongs, Charltons...

North East Place-Name origins: (A-D) | (E-J) | (K-O) | (P-S) | (T-Y)

Place-Name Meanings K to O


K Kaldecotes to Kirkwhelpington

Kaldecotes (Teesside)

See Cargo Fleet

Kelloe (County Durham)

Kelloe village near Trimdon and Coxhoe in County Durham derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon Cealf Hlaw meaning calf-hill or from Caluh Hlaw meaning the bare hill. It is a former mining village which had eight small coal mines in its vicinity during the last century. The hill from which Kelloe takes its name is Kelloe Law, the site of a bronze age cist where the skeletons of an ancient family were once found, including a father mother and three children aged about four, eight and twelve. A little to the east of Kelloe is the Norman church of St Helen, situated at Church Kelloe, the site of a deserted medieval village. The church is famous for a Norman cross dedicated to St Helena and for a tablet commemorating the birth of Elizabeth Barrett Browning at nearby Coxhoe Hall in 1806. Her birthplace was demolished in 1952. A fourteenth century Bishop of Durham called Richard de Kellaw came from Kelloe. His brother Patrick Kellaw led the forces of the bishopric of Durham against several Scottish invasions. In the seventeenth century Kelloe village was famed as the home of a man without an heir, namely John Lively, 'the vicar of Kelloe who had seven daughters but never a fellow.'

Kepier (County Durham)

Kepier means a weir for catching fish. See also Yarm for further explanation.

Kielder (Northumberland)

An old Celtic stream river related to Calder, meaning violent stream.

Killerby (County Durham)

Kilverts village. The Viking name Kilvert means 'the one who defends the prow of a ship'.

Kininivie (County Durham)

An unusual place name in the southern County Durham.

Kirk Merrington (County Durham)

Kirk means church. Merrington was the farm belonging to an Anglo-Saxon called Maera or his sons.

Kirkleatham (Teesside)

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.

Kirklevington (Teesside)

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

Kirkwhelpington (Northumberland)

This means the church near the farm of Whelp's people.

L Lackenby to Lyne River

Lackenby (Teesside)

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

Lanchester (County Durham)

Long chester meaning long Roman fort, but the name could also derive from a local tribe.

Langbaurgh (Teesside)

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.

Langley Moor (County Durham)

See Langley Park.

Langley Park (County Durham)

Langley means long clearing, a woodland or forest clearing.

Lazenby (Teesside)

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

Leadgate (County Durham)

This derives from the Anglo-Saxon Hlid Geat, which means a swininging gate.

Lindisfarne (Northumberland)

Lindisfarne is the ancient name of Holy Island off the North Northumberland coast. The name is thought to be of Celtic or Saxon origin. One theory is that Lindisfarne is 'the island of the Lindsey people', Lindsey being the old name for a kingdom which later became Lincolnshire. Bede called the island Lindisfarorum and it may be that Holy Island was colonised by a group of people from Lindsey or was inhabited by people who regularly visited Lincolnshire. Lindis was the name of northern Lincolnshire and there is an old word Faran meaning traveller. The second part of the name Lindisfarne must be compared to the name of the nearby Farne Islands. Some say that their name means Fern islands because they form a fern like shape, but it would seem likely that the 'Farne' in Farne Islands and Lindisfarne would have the same meaning. The most likely explanation is that Farne means land, deriving from the Old Celtic Farran. The island of Arran off the Scottish coast derives from this word, but the 'f' has been dropped. Lindis is thought to come from the Celtic word stream or pool, although whether this refers to the river Low near Holy Island or to a small lake on the island is not known. Lindisfarne was named Insula Sacra by the Normans in the eleventh century and this Latin translates to Holy Island. The Normans were commemorating St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert who were associated with the island in earlier times. St Cuthbert, a former Bishop of Lindisfarne was buried on Lindisfarne before his removal to Durham, but for much of his life he lived on the inner most Farne Island called Inner Farne or simply Farne Island. For a time he also lived on the island of Hobthrush near Lindisfarne.

Lingdale (Teesside)

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

Liverton (Teesside)

This may take its name from a stream name in the same way as Liverpool.

Loftus (Teesside)

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

Long Newton (County Durham)

This means the long new settlement.

Low Coniscliffe (County Durham)

See High Coniscliffe

Low Force (County Durham)

See High Force

Ludworth (County Durham)

This place means Ludda's farm.

Lyne, River (Northumberland)

A Celtic River Name.

M Maiden Castle to Muggleswick

Maiden Castle (County Durham)

From the ancient British Moe Din meaning grassy plain. Alternatively the name could mean a 'Virgin fort' - a fort that has not been captured. An ancient settlement existed here overlooking a Roman villa near Durham City. The place is sometimes thought to be Caer Weir, where King Arthur is said to have fought a battle against the Saxons. Durham's Maiden castle is not as famous the enormous Iron Age fortress in Dorset. See also Elvet.

Maiden Law (County Durham)

A law is a hill - thus virgin hill, perhaps one that had not been cultivated.

Mainsforth (County Durham)

A corruption of Maegan's forth, the ford belonging to Maegan.

Maltby (Teesside)

Malti's Village, a Viking name

Marske by the Sea (Teesside)

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.

Marton (Teesside)

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

Mickleton (County Durham)

This Teesdale village name derives from Micel -Tun which means large farm.

Middlesbrough (Teesside)

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.

Middlethorpe (Teesside)

A Viking name meaning the Middle farm. See Thorpe Thewles,

Middleton in Teesdale (County Durham)

Middle farm, Middletons include Middleton St George, Middleton one Row and Middleton in Teesdale

Middleton one Row (County Durham)

The main street here is formed by one row of houses overlooking the River Tees. See Middleton in Teesdale.

Middleton St George (County Durham)

It is interesting to note that a dragon called the Sockburn worm was said to have been slain near here, perhaps resulting in the association with St George. The church was dedicated to this saint. See Pountey's Lane, Middleton in Teesdale and Sockburn.

Middridge (County Durham)

Simply means the middle ridge.

Monkchester (Tyneside)

See Newcastle upon Tyne

Monkwearmouth (Wearside)

See Sunderland

Moorsholm (Teesside)

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.

Mordon (County Durham)

This derives from Mor-Dun meaning hill in the fens, the surrounding fenland area is formed by Mordon Carrs.

Morpeth (Northumberland)

This name means either moor path or maybe murder path, both quite possible considering Northumberland's history and landscape.

Morton Tinmouth (County Durham)

The land here once belonged to the monastery of Tynemouth

Mount Pleasant (Teesside)

Mount Pleasant in Stockton is place name found throughout the north and is often given to a pleasant spot.

Muggleswick (County Durham)

This means Mocla's farm but in legend was the home to Mug one of three giants who inhabited the area. The other two were called Ben and Con and lived at Benfieldside and Consett. They are said to have entertained themselves by throwing an enormous hammer to one another. When the hammer was dropped it made dents in the hills which can still be seen today. See also Consett.

N Neasham to Nunthorpe

Neasham (County Durham)

Neasham is the nosey homestead, the settlement on a nose. The name is probably a reference to the shape of the River Tees hereabouts, as Neasham is situated at the tip of a nose-like meander of the river. The name is similar to the place name Nesbitt which occurs throughout the north, where it is found in County Durham, Northumberland and the Borders. This name means Nose Bite or Nose Bend and is again a reference to sharp bends that occur in local streams or rivers. The local surname Nesbitt derives from the place name as may the old North Country word Nesebit, the iron that crosses the nose of a horse to join the branks together. Nese meaning nose is a word of Medieval origin and should not be confused with the closely related Old English word Ness and the Old Norse word Nes, which both mean cape or headland. Place names containing these elements are found on the coast and include Kettleness and Ness Point near Whitby, and the district around Hartlepool and its headland which was formerly known as Hartness.

Nesbitt (County Durham)

See Neasham

Neville's Cross (County Durham)

This was one of several crosses that surrounded the city of Durham as a sign of the city's sanctuary. This cross named after the Neville family stood before the Battle of Nevilles Cross, its remaining stump can still be seen today. The Battle took place here on October 17th 1346. See also Durham City.

New Kyo (County Durham)

Kyo derives from the Anglo Saxon Kye-hoe meaning cow hill.

New York (Tyneside)

See Quebec

Newbiggin by the Sea (Northumberland)

This name means New building. A biggin is a building. There is also a Newbiggin in Teesdale.

Newbottle (Wearside)

A new bottle or dwelling. .

Newcastle upon Tyne (Tyneside)

In Roman times Newcastle was the site of a fort on Hadrian's Wall called Pons Aelius which was situated at the point where a Roman Road crossed the Tyne. Pons Aelius was the location of the Pons or bridge of the Emperor Hadrian, whose full name was Publius Aelius Hadrianus. Later in Saxon times Newcastle fell into obscurity when the old Roman fort or chester was occupied by a small collection of monks and the place came to be known as Monkchester. Newcastle acquired its present name fourteen years after the Norman conquest when Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror came north on a military expedition into Scotland. Robert stopped at Monkchester where he built a wooden castle which he called the New Castle (Novum Castrum). The castle was built on the site of the Roman fort. In 1127 King Henry II replaced the structure with a stronger stone fortress, of which only the keep remains today.

Newton Aycliffe (County Durham)

Named Newton because it was a new town designated in 1947. Aycliffe is a much older name. See Aycliffe and School Aycliffe.

Newton Hall (County Durham)

Newton Hall housing estate takes its name from a Georgian hall which once stood in the area until its demolition in 1926. The house was a one time branch of the County Durham lunatic asylum.

Newton under Roseberry (Teesside)

Newton means the new settlement. See Roseberry Topping

No Place (County Durham)

Theres no place like home, particularly if home happens to be No Place. The name of this hamlet half way between Beamish and Stanley originally referred to four long since demolished cottages, but how they got their name is a matter of dispute. One view is that the houses stood on a boundary between two parishes and that neither parish would accept responsibility for them. Another theory is that the name was once nigh place or near place and has been shortened to its present form. In 1983 signs were erected renaming the hamlet Co-operative Villas but the angry No Placers protested and it soon regained its old name on the signpost, although Co-operative Villas still remains on the signpost as an option.

Norham (Northumberland)

An Anglo-Saxon name meaning northern homestead. It was once the centre of Norhamshire, a district which formed part of County Durham until the nineteenth century. Norham Castle was built by the Prince Bishops of Durham and overlooks the River Tweed, which here once formed the border between Durham and Scotland.

Normanby (Teesside)

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 (Teesside)

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

North Shields (Tyneside)

From north shiel a fishermans hut on the north side of the River Tyne. See South Shields.

North Tyne, River (Northumberland)

Merges with the South Tyne at Warden rocks to form the Tyne proper. See Tyne

Northumberland (Northumberland)

The name is a remnant of the name of the old kingdom of Northumbria, the Latinized form of the English name Northumberland. It means land north of the River Humber. The present county of Northumberland is the county north of the River Tyne.

Norton-on-Tees (Teesside)

Norton is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning the Northern farm. Norton was an important Anglo-Saxon estate centre and later a large parish which included Stockton. Norton has an historic Saxon church. See also Stockton-on-Tees and Billingham.

Nunthorpe (Teesside)

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

O Oakenshaw to Owton Manor

Oakenshaw (County Durham)

Shaw means wood. The full name means oak-wood.

Ogle (Northumberland)

A shortened from of Ocga's Hill. It is also a surname.

Old Durham (County Durham)

See Elvet

Old Eldon (County Durham)

See Eldon.

Once Brewed (Northumberland)

A bit of a mystery this one, what was brewed here ?, tea or beer. Nearby we can also find Twice Brewed

Ormesby (Teesside)

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.

Otterburn (Northumberland)

This simply means otter stream, a stream frequented by otters.

Ovingham (Northumberland)

An Anglo-Saxon name meaning the homestead of Ova or Offa's people. The name is pronounced Oving-jum

Owton Manor (Teesside)

See Foggy Furze

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