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.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Whitby

Historical Forms

  • Witebi, Witeby, Wytebi, Wyteby 1086 DB 1298 YI
  • Wyttebeia, Wyttebeya 1138 Dugdiii.545
  • Whitby 1138 Whitby
  • Whiteby, Whyteby c.1150–60 YCh 1361 FF
  • Quiteby 1218 FF 1267 Ebor
  • Qwyteby 1423 Baildon


'Hviti's farmstead' from the ON  by-name Hvíti (gen. Hvíta ) and by .

Whitby was by early tradition identified with the Streanæs - halch of Bede (cf. Simeon of Durham, Hist. Dunelm . Eccles. , Rolls Series, i. 111). Variant forms of the name in Bede are Streaneshalh , Streonæshalch , Streaneshalh , Streneshælc . The OE  Bede has Streoneshalh , Strineshalg , whilst the ASC (s.a. 680) has Streonesheal . For this name v. Strensall 13supra . Bede translates the name as sinus fari , which offers difficulty. The best explanation seems to be to look upon Bede's fari as a mistake for fare or farae , from Medieval Latin fara 'strain, descent,' which is, of course, the meaning of OE  streon , here used as a pers. name, while healh is rendered by sinus .