Wirral Place Names - Origins

Arrowe: Arwe (1240). Norse, shieling or hill pasture. From Middle Irish airge. Haree 1278; Argh 1296; Harche 1312, Ewre 1348.

Barnston:  Bernestone (1086).  Beornwulf’s town.  Personal name Beornwulf tun.  Alternatively could have been derived from bere, Saxon barley/storehouse for barley.  Beruleston 1199; Borneston c. 1250.

Bidston: Bediston (1260).  Byddi’s farm  or Budda’s town.  From Old English personal name Byddi or Budda and tun. Alternatively could be a dwelling on a rock, deriving from bytle stan .  Bodeston 1260; Bideston 1272; Bidelston 1294; Bethelstan 1347.

Birkenhead: Origins: Bircheveth (1190). Headland overgrown by birch. From birce heafod. Birheuet 1200, Byrkeheveht 1259, Berkeheved 1275, Berkeheved 1280.

Brimstage: Brunestath Court (1260).  Old English Bruna-burgh, Bruna’s river-bank or landing place from Brnan stæpa.  Brimstache 1275; Brunstach 1326; Bronstathe 1348; Brynstat 1387.

Bromborough: Brunburg (1100-35) Bruna’s stronghold. From Old English personal name burh. Or from the Anglo-Saxon brun  meaning brown or dark, with burh meaning fortress, the dark man’s fortress  Bronbur 1153; Bromborough 1277; Brumburg 1280.

Caldy:   Calders (1086). Cold hill or cold arse – referring to a hill name. From Old English cald-ears. Caldelrs 1136; Caldei 1182; Cawedy 1606.

Claughton:  Clahton (1260). Town on a rock or hillock or Farm on a rock or hillock. From Old Norse klakkr tun. Claghton 1272; Clatton 1282; Clayton 1303.

Eastham:  Estham (1086) Eastern homestead or Eastern meadow. From Old English east and ham. Estham  c1100.

Frankby:  Frankeby (1230).  Frankl’s or Franki’s village. Old Norse personal name and býr. Alternatively Frenchman’s farm.  Fraunkbi 1346; Fraunkeley 1421.

Gayton: Gaitone (1086). Farmstead where goats are kept or goat enclosure.  From Scandinavian form of Old Norse Gata-tun.  Gayton 1244 and Geyton 1286.

Grange: The township was originally named Calders (1).  It was a grange of the Basingwerk Abbey.

Greasby:  Gravesberie (1086).  Stronghold by a grove, trench or canal or wood. From Old English graf and burh adapted to graf and býr  in Old Norse. Grauisby 1096; Griseby 1280; Graysby 1610.

Great Meols: Melas (1086). Sand dune, or the sandhills.  From Old Norse.  Prefix Great - in use by 1594, previously  supra.

Heswall: Eswelle (1086). Hazel Spring. From Old Norse hesli wælla. Haselwell 1190; Hosewall 1398; Weswall 1418.

Higher Bebington. Bedintone (1096). Bebba’s farm (2) Personal name Bebba tun. Higher prefix in use by 1724, previously  Superior, Upper or Over: Overbubynton (1342) (2). Bebinton 1280; Bebington 1666.

Hilbre: Hildeburgheye (1388) Hildeberg’s island. From Old English personal name Hildeburg (female), it may have been that the monastery on the island was dedicated to St Hildeburgh. eg: Hilburghee 1521; Hilbree 1538; Elborough 1891

Hoose: Hose (1270).  The hollows.  From hyll or hoh. Howes 1346; Hooles 1539; Hoose 1629.

Irby: Erberia (1096). Village or farm of the Irish.  From iri býr. Irreby 1096; Iireby 1232.

 Landican: Landechene (1086). The church of St Tecan or Tegan’s Church. From Llan, meaning church in welsh and the saints or personal name Tegan. Alternative ending is decem  meaning ten in Latin or decanus, a dean. Alternatively Landechene meaning the church of the oak.  Landekan 1240; Lankekan 1347; Lancan 1539. It is possible that the medieval ‘Landican’ could have been located else where, or referred to a larger area.  Early documentary evidence links Landican with other villages in the area such as Arrowe and Woodchurch, and it is possible that the church suggested actually existed in one of these villages.

Liscard: Lisnekarke (c .1260). Hall on a cliff or rock.  From Welsh Llys carreg.  Liscak 1260; Lisecair c.1277; Lysenker 1295; Lyscart 1417.

Little Meols:  Little Meols: Melas (1086). Sand dune or the sandhills.  From Old Norse.  Prefix Little- in use by 1361, previously infra.

Lower Bebington: Bedintone (1096). Bebba’s farm (1) Personal name Bebba tun.  The distinction between the two Bebingtons is first recorded in the thirteenth century. Lower prefix in use by 1882, previously Inferior Bebinton c.1280. Higher Bebinton 1280; Bebington 1666.

Moreton: Moreton (1278). Town by a moor or fen.  Farm at a marsh (2).  From mor tun. Mortona 1287; Murton 1321; Moorton 1377.

New Brighton: The settlement took the current name during the Victorian period; named after the southern seaside town of Brighton.

Newton: Neuton (1278). New farm.  From nïwe tun. Neweton 1291; Nuton 1695.

Noctorum: Chenoterie (1086). Hill-town. From Old Irish noc or cnocc meaning a hill or dry hill (2). Cenoctirum 1119; Knoutyrom 1286; Knettyrom 1377; Knocktor 1546.  The 1st Edition 6” OS map, published 1882 shows both Chenotrie and Noctorum.

Oxton: Oxeton (1278). Farm or enclosure where oxen are kept. Thought to mean farm or hamlet where cattle are kept.  From Oxa tun. Oxtone 1278; Oxon 1549.

Pensby: Penisby (c. 1229). The village on Penn Hill. From Primitive Welsh Penn and Old Norse býr. Alternative village on the hill, ‘pen’ meaning ‘hill’.  Penlisby 1307; Pemmesby 1523.

Poulton: Poulton: Town or Farm by a pool. From pol tun.

Poulton cum Spital. Pulton cun le Spitell (1385) Hospital at town or Farm by a pool.  From spitel pol tun. 

Prenton: Prestune (1086).  Praen’s town or Pren’s farm. From rare Old English personal name Praen and tun.  Alternatively priest’s farm .  Prenton 1260; Prempton 1620; Printon 1642.

Raby.  Rabie (1086).  Norse in origin, village situated near a boundary mark, or a village with a boundary mark of a certain kind.  From rá býr.  There has also been a suggestion that it would have marked the boundary between Saxon and Norman territory.  Rabbi 1150; Robi 1208; Reaby 1663.

Saughall Massie. Saughall: Hall were sallows grew. Willow Nook. From salh halh. Saligh 1249; Salghale 1309; Salgham 1385; Saughoughe 1546. Massie: manor held by Hamo de Mascy.

Storeton: Stortone (1086) Big or large settlement . From Old Norse, storr. Stort 1175; Sturton 1341; Stoarton 1727. 

Seacombe: . Seacombe: Valley by the sea.

Thingwall:  Tinguelle (1086). Assembly field (1; 2). From Old Norse ping vollr. Fingwalle 1180; Thingale c.1250; Thynghwall 1426.

Thornton Hough: Torintone (1086). Thorn-tree farm. Homestead where the bushes grew by the ridge. Thornton 1260; Thorneton Grange 1415 (1).

Thurstaston:   Turstanetone (1086). Thorstein’s town. From Old Norse personal name Thurstan and tun Thorstanistona 1216; Thirstynton 1539.

Tranmere: Tranemul (1202) Norse, meaning cranes’ sandbank. From trane mul. Mentioned in a charter during the reign of King John (1199-1216). A possible alternative interpretation is Tre yn Moel meaning hill village.

Upton: Optone (1086). Farm on a hill. From upp tun Ouptone c. 1328.

Wallasey: Walea (1086). Island of the Welsh or Britons. Known during the medieval period as Kirkby Waley. Walleye 1259; Walezey 1534; Wallowsy 1721.

West Kirby: Cherchebia (1081). Village with a Church. From Old Norse Kirkju-byr. Prefix West- used to distinguish it from Kirkby in Wallia, now called Wallasey. Kyrkeby 1137; Westkyrby 1287.

Woodchurch: Odecerce (1096).  Church in a wood or a wooden church. Kirkja Hwodekerk c.1240; Wodekirke c.1250; Wodchurche 1511. Viking origin?

source: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/collections/historic-characterisation-project/Wirral-Part-6.pdf