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.


County Town in the County of Surrey

Historical Forms

  • (æt) Gyldeforda 880–5 BCS553 c.1000
  • Gyld t.Ethelred2,Cnut,EdConf Coins
  • Gyl, Gyldeor t.EdConf ib
  • Gold t.Cnut Coins
  • Gul, Guld t.EdConf ib
  • Gil t.Harthacnut Coins
  • Glide, Gildefo t.EdConf ib
  • Gildi t.Harold ib
  • Gildeford 1086 DB
  • Gylde- c.1130 HH 1172 P
  • Gulde- 1186–98 Merton
  • Guldeford 1636 DKRxxxix
  • Geudeford 1212 Fees 1217 Bracton
  • Gueldeford 1242 Cl
  • Geldesfort c.1300 Gaim
  • Gyldeforth 1396 Moulton
  • Gylford 1477 FF 1521 HMCvii 1546 LP
  • Guylford 1594 FF


In the 12th century spellings with e are most frequent except for Gylde -c. 1130 HH, 1172 P, Gulde -1186–98 Merton, c. 1150 Owl and Nightingale, 12th HMC vii. In the 13th century spellings with e , i and u are about equally common, those in e pre- dominating in the early part of the century. In the 14th century only two e -spellings occur and but few with i or y . The latest spelling with u that has been noted is Guldeford 1636 DKR xxxix.The Norman-French spelling ui or uy , which has survived here, as in Ruislip (Mx), appears first in Guildeford (1226 Pat) and Guyldeford (1328 Pat), but does not become common till much later. Other spellings of interest are Geudeford 1212 Fees, 1217 Bracton, Gueldeford 1242 Cl, Geldesfort c. 1300 Gaim, Gyldeforth 1396 Moulton, Gylford 1477 FF, 1521 HMC vii, 1546 LP, Guylford 1594FF .

It would seem that this name must be considered along with Geldedone , Gildedone , Guidedone , the old name for the neighbouring Hogs Back (supra 8). Phonological considerations make it impossible to associate these names with OE  gyld , 'payment, guild,' which would give later Yelde -, Yilde -, etc.Professor Ekwall suggests that gylde in Guildford may be the name of some golden-coloured flower such as the marigold or the king-cup, and that the ford was so called from the profusion of the plant here. Later the same term was prefixed to the name of the down above Guildford, though not naturally applicable to it. Such confusion might readily arise, seeing that the Hogs Back at this point was also called montem de Geldeford , i.e. presumably Geldeford-down .

Parishes in this County Town