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1934: The derivation of place-names 1

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 8 May 1934

Looking through some old estate maps, Mr. W.W. Grantham, of Balneath Manor, Barcombe, near Lewes, came across many names of farms and fields which he is anxious to learn the reasons for or derivations of, and if any of our readers can give him the information he will most grateful. 

Here are the names: (a) In Lindfield and Chailey: Cheesecroft, Stroods, Dial Mead, Hamshells, Chequer Tree, Long Reynolds, St. Thomas Field, Coppers Bottom, Crabstock, Cophall, Bedales (Bedles and Begdale), Cudells, Cockhaise, Sloop, Wapsbourne, Pegdean, Mazzards,(Massets), Butter Box, Noven, Wild Boar Bridge, Godenwick, Casford Bridge, The Lag (b) In Barcombe: Primmer Brook, The Fleet. Bodleshole, Bear Brook, Bridge Marvels, Griggs. Rushetts, Ashetts. 

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 15 May 1934

To the Editor of The Mid-Sussex Times. 

Dear Sir, —The notes on place-names in your last issue were of more than ordinary interest. I think there is much history wrapped up in place-names, and, with the idea of helping to clear up some of the difficulties, I suggest the following meanings for the words:

Butter Box - “service manor.” Box occurs in Boxgrove (manor in depute), Boxland, Bokeland or Buckland (forest manor). There are many Bucklands in the country, and it has been said they were reserved for deer.

Massetts, Butterbox Lane Scaynes Hill c2020

Cockhnaise —“knight's enclosure.” The word describes the position which is open and clear.

Bedales or Begdales  “coombe” or a narrow cul-de-sac vale. One such is near Bedales.

Cuckfield - “hill prospect.”

Lindfield -- “ridge gap.” In each case the position is described.

Cheesecroft “independent hut,” and it would appear to be the site of a ranger's home.

Stroods—"reserved lands,” probably for serfs or Geburs.

Dial Mead —“archer’s meadow,” used either for archery practice or the growth of yews, used for making bows.

Hamshalls “signal station.”

Bucshalls (note the spelling) is “independent manor."

Hamshalls may have been a place of military rendezvous.

Chequer Tree “boundary tree,” may have marked the division between parish and parish or manor and manor.

Long Reynolds - “disputed waste," heath land, lying between two manors.

Shop- "morass.” The place is usually spoken of as “The Sloop,” and hence the word may have been “esloop,” or a way across the bog or morass.

Wapsboume —a “ bridge of planks.” Pesdean— “ a derelict hut,” equivalent to Cold Harbour, a term used in ancient times for deserted Roman residences (vide “Knowledge,” 1897-8).

Scaynes- "a settlement,” probably protected by wattles.” Scaynes Hill would appear to be an ancient British encampment.

Only the words are considered. Records should verify or refute any of these statements. As an example: According to the Lindfield records. The “Butter Box ” estate had to contribute certain trees, &c., to that church. Thus the Butter Box was a manor of some sort subservient to the great or parish manor and church. I trust these conclusions may prove valuable and interesting to those who are often puzzled by place-names. 

Yours faithfully 

Haywards Heath OBSERVER



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