English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

Colway Gate, Colway Lane (Estate)

Early-attested site in the Parish of Lyme Regis

Historical Forms

  • Lym 1086 DB(f77c)
  • Colewey(e) 1242–3 Fees 1268 Ass
  • Colewey(e) in Lyme 1280 Ass 1288 Ass
  • Colewey(e) iuxta Lym e14 GlastE
  • FF, Colewey(e) juxta Uplym 1313 Drew
  • feodo de Colewey(e) 1338–40 Glast 1386 1397 HarlCh 1408 Cl
  • Coleway 1477 ib
  • Colway(e) 1277 Drew 1408 Hutch3 1496 Ipm
  • Colwehey(e) 1268 Ass
  • Colwehey(e) juxta Nitherlim 1309 Drew
  • Colwehegh' 1318 HarlCh
  • Coluehege (sic) 13 Forde 15
  • Colewegh' 1280 Ass
  • Colewehegh(e) 1288 ib
  • Coleweheye 1311 Pat
  • Colewehaye juxta Uplyme 1311 Drew 1340 NI
  • Coleweheys 1335 Ch, Pat
  • villa de Colewehergraue (sic) 1288 Ass
  • Colowhey 1425 IpmR
  • Colweigh 1863 Hutch3
  • Colehay 1275 Drew 1277 Banco
  • Coleheoh' 13 GlastR
  • Coleheygh' 14 GlastF
  • Cobheye (sic, probably for Coleheye) 1295 Misc
  • Caluweye 1288 Ass
  • Calewey 1422 Ct
  • Calewey 1431 FA
  • Colewye 1313 Drew
  • Calu(e)hegth' 1327 SR
  • Calwehagh' 1332 ib
  • Calwehegh 1346,1428 FA
  • Calwehey 1398 IpmR 1399 Cl
  • Col(e)weyishome 1437 IpmR 1438,1440 Cl


Colway represents the holding of 3 hides at Lym held in 1086 DB by Glastonbury Abbey (Hutch3 2 39–40, VCHDo 3 56, 74, ThornDB 8, 6), v. par. name supra . The name Colway is probably originally 'charcoal way, way along which charcoal was carried', from col 1 and weg , then with the addition of (ge)hæg 'enclosure' (perhaps influenced by Haye infra which lies just to the W). The relatively sparse forms in Calu (e )-, Cale -, Calwe - seem to reflect confusion of the first part of the reduced longer name with calu (wk.obl. cal (e )wan ) 'bare' as suggested by Fägersten 287, but cf. also the unrounding of ME o to a noted by Kökeritz 129 and PNGl 4 69.

As pointed out by K. Barker, DoNHAS 12748, the early salt-making industry in Lyme and Colway would have made large demands on fuel, and with this in mind she correctly suggests col 'charcoal' as a possible first el. for Colway (although compounded with (ge)hæg only, not with weg plus later (ge)hæg as proposed here). The two Saxon charters for Lyme dated 774 and 998 cited under par. name supra both mention the production of salt, and the DB entries for Lime (Lyme) and Lym (Colway) mention 14 and 13 salt-workers (salinarij ) respectively. The early existence and importance of the salt industry in this area is further evidenced in two local p.ns. dating from the Saxon period. Saltforde 938 (14) (S442) (= Salteforde al ' Warlockeford 1516Eg ), 'salt ford' (v. salt , ford , wērloga ), occurs in the bounds of Uplyme D, probably near the point marked 'Ford' (6″) at Uplyme Mill where the stream called estbroke 938 (14) (= Estbrowke 1516, v. ēast , brōc ), flowing S by Sleech Wood and forming the Uplyme-Lyme Regis bdy, meets R. Lim. Sealtera cumb , 'valley of the salt-workers', occurs in the Saxon bounds of Charmouth par. supra at a point near to the NW corner of the present par. of Charmouth where the joint Charmouth-Lyme Regis bdy divides. It may be significant that these two names lie respectively just W and E of Colway, and it would seem that Colway 'charcoal way' may well refer to the important E-W route and Roman road part of which is called Colway Lane where it crosses R. Lim.

The form Col (e )weyishome 1437 IpmR, 1438, 1440 Cl probably denotes 'manor or dwelling-place of Colway', from ME  home (OE  hām ), unless Col (e )wey is here a surname from the p.n.