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 Earley

Historical Forms

  • Herlei 1086 DB
  • Erlega 1177 P
  • Herleg' 1197 FF 1220 Fees
  • Arle 1297 Ipm 1428 FA
  • Arlegh 1535 VE


The p.n. Arley occurs in a number of counties, and in two cases (Wa and Wo) where there are OE forms it can be proved to derive from OE  earn -lēah 'eagle-wood'. Earnley Sx means 'eagles' wood'.The Berks name is very probably another example of the compound earn -lēah , though it is impossible to be certain without OE forms.Ekwall (DEPN) suggests OE  ēar 'gravel', as a possible alternative first el.