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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Fulstow

Historical Forms

  • Burnscalpe 1615,1617,1618 LMR
  • Bornscalpe 1619,1622 ib
  • Burntscalpe c.1638 Holywell
  • Burntscalp 1663 ib


BONSCAUPE, Burnscalpe 1615, 1617, 1618LMR , Bornscalpe 1619, 1622ib , Burntscalpe c.1638Holywell , Burntscalp 1663ib , cf. Bornescalp close 1725Foster , Bonscorp Close (sic)1819EnclA . This is paralleled by the f.n. Burn Scalp PN WR 1, 124 and 7, 240 s.v. scalp , scaup . It is recorded late and indeed the name may well be a 17th-century formation since it does not occur on the 1595FMap or in the FSurv of the same date. Bonscaupe appears to be a compound of burn and scalp 'the scalp, the crown, or top of the head' (from ME  scalp (e ), ON  skálpr ), the latter in some transferred topographical sense. Scalp is recorded in EDD sb 4 from Yorkshire as 'a bare dry piece of stony ground' and from Lancashire as 'a bare place in a pasture field'. Neither of these seems topographically appropriate, and Dr John Insley suggests that Bonscaupe had the sense 'the area of land laid bare of vegetation by burning'. The modern form in -scaupe is due to the vocalisation of [l].