Wacton (Bredenbury).

'Wacca's tun'. Cf. Waccanham (Kemble).

Wadel (brook).

Trib. of Lugg, into which it flows near Stapleton.

*Wadetune ['in valle Stradelei'].

Wain Herbert (Newton-in-Clodock).

In Longtown is Wayne.

More than half the names in the district are W. Therefore Wain may be W. guaun (gwaen), 'a meadow'. 'Herbert's meadow'.

Wain-street (Eastnor).

M.E. wain, 'a wagon'.

Walbrook (Allensmore).


The first element is almost certainly O.E. wealh (Mercian, wale), 'a stranger', 'a foreigner', 'a Welshman'. 'The Welshman's ford'.

It is just possible, however, that it may be 'Ford at the wall', or even 'at the well'.

Sir R.C. Hoare makes Walford the Ridhelic (mod. Welsh, rhyd helig), 'Willow-ford', of Gir. Cambr., which is more probably 'The Helyg Ford' at Llanigon.

A hamlet of Leintwardine is also called Walford.

Walk Mill (Ewyas Harold).

`Mill for fulling cloth'. O.E. wealcan (M.E. walke), 'to full cloth'. Hence the name Walker, which we find in MardenWalker's Green.


An element in several names in the county: The Walls (Kimbolton), Wall Hills (Ledbury and Thornbury), Wallhead (St Weonards), Wall End (Monkland and Stoke Prior), Wall Pool (Little Birch), and a curious Wallstych (Kington).

Wallow (Weston-under-Penyard).

*Walney [near Shelwick].

*Walschebrok [?].

Cf. Welch Wood (Brilley).


One of the group of three adjoining places (the others being Rowlestone and Gilbertstone) called after Norman knights, probably attached to the two castles of Ewyas Harold and Ewyas Lacy. Ralph and Gilbert are mentioned in Dom., but no Walter is mentioned in connection with the neighbourhood.

[Paul Remfry has helpfully pointed out that Walterstone is generally associated with the knight Walter Lacy (d.1085), who was lord of what was to become the lordship of Ewias Lacy.]

Walton (Bishop's Frome).

So in Leom. Cart. passim.

*Wapleford [added by the sheriff to the manor of Cusop in the time of Earl William].

*Wapleton ['jacebat ad Leofministre T.R.E.'].

Wapley Hill (Staunton-on-Arrow).


'Ham at the wear'. O.E. waer, 'a wear, an enclosure for fish'.

Cf. Wharram (Yorks.) which in 1199 is Warham.

*Waribroc [in Moreton-on-Lugg].

Warloe (Eaton Bishop).

'Hill above the wear'. (It is exactly opposite Warham (q.v.) on the other side of the Wye.)

Wassal (Vowchurch).

Wassington (Ashperton).

See Wolsopthorne.

Webton (Madley).

Webtree (Clehonger).

Wegnal (Rodd).

Welcheston (Woolhope).

O.E. waelsces-tun, 'tun of the Welshman'.

Welland (Peterstow).

Wellbrook (Peterchurch).

The brook that runs down from 'St Peter's Well'. I think it is the Wyrkebroc of T. de Nevill, being exactly in the right place.


Silas Taylor enigmatically says that Wellington is ' falsely written Wellowin for Weoling'.

Probably 'tun of the foreigners'; or perhaps 'of the sons of the foreigner'; less probably 'tun of the Wealings'.


'Meadow of Wibba or Wybba'. One Wybba (died ante 628) was son of Creda (for whom see under Credenhill), and father of Penda, the great Mercian king.

There is a Webley Castle in Gower. There is possibly some connection, but what it is is uncertain.

The Wergins (Sutton).

Common meadows of the parish ('Ibi pratum bobus', Dom.). The word is also spelled Worgins or Wurgins. The origin and meaning of the word are unknown.

The Wern (Llanrothal; Michaelchurch Eskley).

Welsh gwern, 'a swamp, low-lying meadow'.

Wern-dee (Clodock).

Corrupted from Welsh Gwerndu (q.v.).

Wern-hyr (Peterchurch).

W. 'Long swamp'.

Wern-y-coc Wood (Kentchurch).

'Alder trees which the cuckoo haunts'.

W. cog is 'the cuckoo'.

West-brook (Hardwick).

*Westelet [?].

Westfield (Cradley).

Westhide (chapelry, Stoke Edith).

For second element see Hyde Ash.

Westhide (Stoke Edith).

Westhope (Canon Pyon).

Westmoor (Mansell Lacy).

Westnor's End (Yatton).

Weston Beggard.

Beggard, earlier Bagard, does not seem to appear before the end of the 15th century. It may be a corruption of Bigod or Bagot. Hope Bagot (Salop) is in 1355 (Ep. Reg.) Hope Bagard. But the earliest known holder of Weston is Nicholas de St Maur, temp. Ed. I.


See Penyard.

Westwood (Llanwarne).

As we might expect, there seem to have been several Westwoods. The Glos. Cart. entry refers to Llanwarne. But the Westwode of Tax. Eccles. seems to be near Leominster; and in Leom. Cart. the Priory has an assart 'apud Westwod'. Of the Dom. entries Westeude seems rather to be in Dewsall, since 'St Mary of Lyre holds the church of this manor'; and we know from 'Feud. Aids' that Dewsall Church belonged to Lyre.

*Wetelecha [?].

Belonged to Bishop Rob. de Bethune in 1140. But in the Confirmation by Dean and Chapter (same date) it is Wetebach. The Bishop's form seems Welsh, 'Eight stones'; cf. Trilleck (Mons.), 'Three stones'. But the Chapter's form is English 'wet valley'.

Wetmore (Leintwardine).

O.E. waet-mor, 'wet-moor'.

There is a Wetecroft in Bodenham in 1220.

Weythell (brook).

Trib. of Arrow, in Huntington-by-Kington.

Wharton (Leominster).

The first element is said to be O.E. waefre, 'wandering', 'restless'. But this seems to give little or no sense. If the later forms did not so exactly follow Dom., I should have been tempted to say that the Norman scribe had tried to write Waerburhtune.


'White stream'.


Whiterdine (Fownhope).

'White farm'. For second element see Appendix, -wardine.

Whitewell (Llandinabo).

A Whitewell is mentioned in A.-S. Chron. under the year 941 in the valley of the Dore.

Whitfield (Treville).

In Glos. Cart., 1182, is mentioned Rob. de Wythefelde; but he may not have been from this Whitfield.


'White island'. For second element see Appendix, -ey.

The Whittern (Lyonshall).

Whittle Brook (Credenhill).

So in 1722.

Whitton (Leintwardine).

There is in 1341 a Wyttenham somewhere in this neighbourhood.

Whitwick (Stretton Grandison).

'The white wick'. For second element see Appendix, -wick.

The Whyle (Pudleston).

There seems to have been confusion and misunderstanding of the word from early days. The Dom. form suggests Welsh llech, 'stone'. And the 1150 form equally plainly suggests O.E. leah, which is often found as lai.

Widbridge (Woolhope).

Old forms wanted. It may be 'the wide bridge', or Widybridge, 'the bridge where the willows grow'. Cf. Widford (Oxfs.) which is Withiford.

Widemarsh (Hereford).

Wigan (Clodock).

Wiggall (Bredenbury).


'Moor of Wiga, Wicga, or Wigga'.

Cf. Wigwold (Glos.), 'Wicga's wold'.

[Paul Remfry has helpfully pointed out that the attributions of 1138 and 1140 (Huggemora and Uggemore) should be associated with Ogmore, Glamorgan.]

Wigton (Stoke Prior).

'Tun of Wiga, Wicga, or Wigga'.

In 1341 there is a Wyghfeld somewhere in the county.


'Meadow of Wilgeard or Wilgart'.

Willey (Presteign).

'Meadow of Willa' (common in Onom.).

Wilmaston (Peterchurch).

'Tun of Wilmaer'.

Wilton (Ross).

'Tun of Willa'. The Salisbury Wilton is 'Tun of the Wilsaetas'.

*Wilvetone ['in valle Stradelei'].

Prob. 'Willaf's tun'. A Kemble charter has Willavesham. Why the -es of the gen. of personal names is sometimes retained in the place-name, and sometimes lost, no investigator has yet satisfactorily explained.

*Wimundestreu [Dom. Hundred].

'Wigmund's tree'.


It is difficult to connect the Dom. entry with the later forms. Widferdestune would give something like 'Widferth's or Widfrith's tun' (but the name is not in Onom.). The later forms would be 'Winfrid's tun'.

Winnall (Allensmore).

O.E. Willanhale, 'Willa's meadow'. The Worcs. Winnall supplies in 1327 the intermediate form Wylenhale. For second element see Appendix, -hale.


'Tun of Wine' (a common pers. name in Onom.).

Cf. Winslow (Bucks.), Winsley (Wilts.). There is a township of Winslow near Bromyard, which Blount (circ. 1670) gives as Windesley.

Winsley (Hope-under-Dinmore).

The 1189 form is 'AElfwine's meadow'. The later forms are shortened from it.

*Winstone [a manor in suburbs of Hereford].

'Tun of Wine'. See Winnington.

Wintercott (Leominster).

Winthill (Cradley).

*Winton [a manor of Leom. Priory].

'Tun of Wine'. See Winnington and Winstone. All three are the same word developing each in a different way:- Winnington from a gen. in n, Winstone from a gen. in s, and Winton, as often, retaining no sign of the gen.

Wire's or Wyre's Croft (Bishop's Frome).

Old forms needed. Cf. Wyre forest (Worcs.) and Wyre river (Lancs.), both of uncertain etymology.

Wisteston (Marden).

'Tun of Wistan or Wigstan'. There is a Wistaston (farm) in King's Pyon. An unidentified Wyseton belonged to Leominster Priory in 1539. Wiston (Sussex) is in the 12th century Wistanestun.

Witherstone (Little Dewchurch).

'Tun of Wither or Withere'. Witherstone is a surname in the county. In Kimbolton is Lower Withers; and in Wellington Heath Withers. These are most probably corrupted from Withy (q.v.).


'Tun of the sons of Wida'. The forms of 1086 and 1278 make this practically certain. Withington (Lancs.) is in 1249 Wytintun, i.e. Withen tun, 'withy-town'. Whittington, on the Wye near Ganarew, is Dom. Wiboldingtune, 'tun of the sons of Wigbeald or Wicbold'.

The E of the 1335 entry is still preserved in the name of one of the three Withington Prebends of the Cathedral, and is the name of a farm some distance from the village. It is supposed, on no very good authority, to represent Fr. eau.

Withy Brook.

Trib. of Wye at Ballingham. The O.E. withig, 'a withy, willow', enters into several place- names in the county. Withybed is in Boulstone; Witheymoor in Aston Ingham; and The Withies in Withington (q.v.), which itself is, with no great probability, interpreted by some as 'withy-town'.

*Witocksyende [Much Marcie].

So in 1547. The name is now lost, but Hall-end and Redding-end still survive in the parish.

The Witsets (Stoke Prior).

It is unfortunate that we have no old forms; since one would like to connect this word with some original in -saetas.

*Wluetone ['in valle Stratelie'].

Wobage (Upton Bishop).

O.E. wo baec, 'crooked valley'. So prob. Woefields (Coddington).


'Hill of Wulfhere', possibly the Mercian King.

Wolphy (Hundred).

Wolsopthorne, also called Wassington (Ashperton).

The first element has survived with little change from Dom. But the second element changed, in two and a half centuries, first to -ton, then to -thorne: and some suggestion of the common Herefordshire element -hope seems also to have made its appearance.

The second element in the Dom. entry suggests the various Appledores (three in Devon, one in Kent). One of these is Dom. Appledore, but in 739 is Apuldre, and again in 1200 is Apeldre. This would be simply 'apple-tree', as also is Sussex Apuldram. Dr Beddoe, however, followed by Johnston, regards Appledore and Appuldram as of Celtic origin. Wolsopthorne, its history, and its alias (Wassington) form a strange and complicated enigma.


As might be expected in a county whose early records are full of the granting of tracts of forest-land 'assartandam', i.e. to be turned into an assart or clearing, -wood- is often found as an element in place-names. We have Woodlow (Bosbury); Woodhampton (Little Hereford); Woodseaves (Eardisley); Wooding (Stoke Lacy), which is possibly wudu-enge, 'a wooded narrow place'; Woodredding (Yatton), and two Woodmantons (Hope-under-Dinmore and Yarkhill), one of which is in 1343 (Ep. Reg.) Wodemantone, 'the woodman's hut', or possibly from a pers. name, 'Woodman's hut'. In Leom. Cart. W dehyd occurs frequently. Gt. and Little Woodend farm (Linton) are in 1532 Woddeyndes. In Chart. R. 1291 is (unidentified) 'Wodebury co. Hereford'. See also Wootton.


In the Calendar of Hereford Missal, under xviii Calend. Feb. is 'obitus Wulvive et Godive que dederunt Hopam...ecclesie'. It must, then, at first have been Wulviva's hope; then it was corrupted into Wulvene, and, unaccountably, into Wolnith.

Woolpits (Eastnor).

Leom. Cart. has (undated) Wlfputte, but this prob. refers to a nearer Wolf-pit. The Wiltshire Woolpit is in Kemble circ. 1060 Wlpit, and earlier Wulfpyt. There is in Aconbury in 1340 a Wolfheles ('wolf-cover', from O.E. helan, 'to conceal ').

St Woolstone Farm (Welsh Newton).

We have no old forms; but it seems to be the name of the great Bishop of Worcester, Wulstan; though one wonders why it is found in a district so thoroughly Welsh. Woolstone (Berks.) is 'Wulfric's tun'.

Woonton (Laysters).

Wenna, Wenni, Wunna, and Wynna are all found in Onom. There is a Woonton also in Almeley.


There are five Woottons in the county (Almeley, Dormington, King's Pyon, Pencombe, Wellington). Like the Oxfs. Wootton (871 Wudetun) they are all 'wood-town', 'tun in or near the wood'. T. de Nevill calls one (apparently that in Almeley) Wudeton: but the Wellington Wootton is in 1547 Wytton.

Worm (river).

This form is the mod. Welsh gwyrgam wy, 'crooked river'. If we accept this Welsh derivation, we need not consider the attempts to connect the word with the pers. name Orm found in Orme's Head, Ormskirk, Urmston, and the like; nor the plausible derivation from O.E. wyrm, 'a worm'; nor from a pers. name Wyrma, as Warminghurst (Sussex), and the Herefordshire Wormesley (q.v.).

In early days the district seems to have contained many names in which the river Worm was an element. Besides Wormbridge (q.v.), Wormelow (q.v.), and Wormhill (Eaton Bishop), which still survive, there was in 1333 a Womburne in Didley. There was also Wormeton (q.v.), and circ. 1316 in the forest of Treville is an 'essart Horm'.



'The low or hill near the Worm'. 'Wormelow tump', as it is always called, is an obvious pleonasm.


'The meadow of Wyrma'.

*Wormeton [in the Manor of Kilpeck].

'Tun on the Worm'. Wormington (Glos.) is Dom. Wermetun, 'Wyrma's tun'.

Wyatt (Sutton St Nicholas).

The Wych (Colwall).

I can find no old forms of this. Johnston thinks it is simply O.E. wic, a village; and this would suit well with Wyche Yende, 'end of the village', in Cowarne in 1538, but scarcely with the pass through the Malvern Hills. Wychwood (Oxf.) is in 681 Hwicca wuda. The Wych may have been the furthest limit of the Provincia Huicciorum (Bede's name for Worcestershire).

In 1270 Chart. R. is an entry 'Eton & Wygewod, Co. Hereford', which I cannot locate.

Wyddyatt's Cross (Madley).

Woodyate is a surname in the county; and (though we have no old forms) I suspect this to be the same word.


The form Vaga, like the Oxford Isis, is the invention of 16th century scholars. Gwy is a Celtic river-form found also in Mingui (the Monnow, q.v.), Med-way (Kent), Gowey (Chesh.), and Con-way.

Return to top of page

URL of this page: http://www.melocki.org.uk/places/W.html

Copyright notice:
All pages at http://www.melocki.org.uk
are Copyright Mel Lockie 2021.
All rights reserved.
For a detailed copyright policy see: Conditions of Use.