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.


Parish in the County of Shropshire

Historical Forms

  • Madelie 1086 DB
  • Madelega Prioris 1167 P
  • Madeleg' 1224 Cl
  • Madeleye Prior's 1350 Pat
  • Maddeley 1190 SAC 15th Pat 1331
  • Maddele Priors 1346 Pat
  • Meddeleye 1291-2 Ass
  • Madley 1695 Morden 1708 PR(H)


This name, and two instances of Madeley in St, have been interpreted as 'Māda's clearing', while Madingley Ca is considered to be 'clearing of Māda's people'. A full collection of spellings for the Sa place reveals, however, that -dd - predominates heavily over -d -. The double consonant is also very frequent in the spellings for Madingley. A personal name Madda would suit these forms better, and such a personal name could be a hypocoristic derivative of the postulated Māda .

The modern pronunciation of Madeley reflects the spelling which was usual from c.1350 onwards, but Madley in 1695 and 1708 may indicate an alternative development, with a short vowel, from ME  Maddeleye .

The place belonged to Wenlock Priory (hence Prioris ), and it is considered to be the estate named Magdalee listed in the document known as the Testament of St Mildburg. The place-name spellings in this document do not go back to St Mildburg's time, and probably Magdalee is not of sufficient authority to outweigh the numerous ME spellings which are summarised above.

Places in this Parish