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.

Charney Basset

Major Settlement in the Parish of Charney Basset

Historical Forms

  • Ceornei 821 BCS366 c.1200
  • Cernei 1086 DB
  • Cerneya 1220 Fees
  • Cerney 1241 Ass 1242–3 Fees
  • Cerneye 1322–3 ObAcc
  • Cherneye 1284 Ass 1379 Cl
  • Charneye 1284 Ass
  • Charney otherwise Cerney otherwise Cerney Basses and Weeks 1833 VCHiv,469
  • on cearninga gemære 958 (c. 1240) BCS 1028
  • cearna graf 959 (c. 1200) BCS 1047


The place is also referred to in the phrase on cearninga gemære 958 (c. 1240) BCS 1028, which means 'boundary of the people of Charney'.

This name is discussed in DEPN (s. n. Charn R) and in RN (73), but without recognition of the connection between the parish-name and the great prehistoric earthwork called Cherbury Camp in the N. of the parish, and without reference to the bounds of seven hides at Cernige n.d. (c. 1200) given in ClaudiusCix . The first el. of Charney is certainly a name Cern , probably of pre-English origin, but Ekwall mistakenly considers Cern to be another name for the Ock, and has some difficulty (v. RN xl) in explaining the existence of two OE names for the same comparatively short river. The bounds in ClaudiusCix (for which v. Pt 3) start at the Ock (eoccen ), in the S. of the parish, later running along þære lace þæ scyt wið cerenburhg westan . Cherbury Camp is cerenburhg , and the bounds also mention cerenforda , which must have been to the E. of the camp. Another relevant name is cearna graf 959 (c. 1200) BCS 1047, in the bounds of Longworth (v. grāf ), which must have been near the ford. It is thus clear that Cern is the name of the stream which rises on the W. boundary of Pusey and flows E. to Race Fm and S. and S.E. to the Ock. Ekwall (RN 73) thinks the name identical with Cerne and Char Do, which are to be derived from W carn 'rock, stones'.Charney means 'Cern island', second el. īeg , ēg . The parish is entirely surrounded by streams.

The bounds of BCS 1035, which records the grant of two hides æt Cern , run on cern at two points. The only land-unit whose bounds touch the stream described above at two separate points is the parish of Pusey, and it may be tentatively suggested that BCS 1035 refers to land in the north of Pusey, v. Pt 3.Abingdon (in whose cartulary the charter is preserved) owned two hides at Pusey in 1086.

The manor of Basses , later corrupted into Basset , was in origin a copyhold tenement of the Abbot of Abingdon's manor of Charney; v. VCH iv, 469. The name is presumably manorial in origin, though no record has been found of the family from which it is named.It belonged to people called Rokys in the 15th cent., when it first occurs in records. Weeks in the 1833 reference is presumably Charney Wick infra .