The origin of place names - Cuckfield and Lindfield

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 22 May 1934

PLACE - NAMES.

To the Editor of The Mid-Sussex Times.


Dear Sir

I know the difficulties and pitfalls in the study of place-names, and I know that on this subject I am the least of my father’s house, but I cannot refrain from asking your correspondent, “Observer.” kindly to explain where he found that “Cuckfield” means “hill prospect.” So far as I have been informed, Cuckfield derives its name from one of two sources: Ku Ku, or Cu Cu - cuckoo bird. The connection with “field” is obvious.


Another form in a volume of Place-Names written by Roberts —published by a Cambridge Archaeological Committee —states that the name is derived from a known Saxon personal name Cuca and feld - a field ; hence Cucafeld. In 1121 it was spelt Cucufelda; by 1633 it had practically arrived at its present form, Cuckfeild. I have always understood that there is not another Cuckfield in England, but there is Cuckley in Oxfordshire, and I believe that there the descent has been traced from known Saxon person named Cuca.


Lindfield, your correspondent says, means “ridge gap.” Surely this cannot be correct. I have always seen it stated, and have been personally informed, that Lindfield is the “Field of the Linden Trees,” and the name is as pretty as the village. In the above-mentioned book of Place-Names it is given early as 765 as Lindefeldia - one could wish it were now so called—and so on through the Middle Ages down to 1496, when becomes Lynfeld.


Yours faithfully,


Cuckfield.


HUBERT BATES.