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 Madeley

Historical Forms

  • Caldebrok 1250 Eyton 1550 RentSur
  • Kaldebrok 1271–2 Ass
  • Calbroke 1550 RentSur
  • Coalbrooke Dale 1756 Lilco
  • Coalbrookdale 1781 PR(L)
  • Colebrook Dale 1792 PR(H)


'Cold brook', v. cald , brōc , the settlement straggles along a tributary of the Severn. VCH XI 28 suggests that the settlement grew up as a result of assarting in the early 13th century.

Substitution of Coal for the first element is due to the industrialisation of the area in later centuries. Coal was the staple trade on the R. Severn between Shrewsbury and Bristol in the 18th century, and earlier than this the growth of the down-river coal trade in the late 16th century was probably linked to the beginning of large-scale mining in Madeley (VCH XI46). Dale is a late addition.

All VCH references are to Vol. XI.