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 Great Faringdon

Historical Forms

  • (æt) Færndunæ c.971 ASWills 12th
  • Ferendone 1086 DB c.1270 AD
  • Farendon 1158 RSO 13th
  • magna et parva Farendon 1225 Pat
  • Parua Farenduna 1233 Bract c.1250
  • magna Farend' 1241 Ass
  • Farindon 1275–6 RH
  • Chepyngfarendon 1320 Pat
  • Faryndon' 1327 SR
  • Ferndune l.12th AOMB
  • Fernedun' 1203 ChR
  • Farndon' 1242–3 Fees
  • Magna Farndon' 1284 Ass
  • Farnedon 1346 Fine
  • Chepyngfaryngdon 1501 ArchJ
  • Faringdon Magna Hy8 RentSur
  • Farington 1542 Leland


'Fern-covered hill', v. fearn , dūn , referring to the hill E. of the town; the name occurs in several other counties also. Some forms for Little Faringdon O have been included here, v. infra . Great Faringdon was alternatively distinguished from the O place by the prefix Chipping 'market'.

DEPN and VCH iv (489) identify the Fearndun of ASC 924, where Edward the Elder died, with Great Faringdon, but it is much more likely to be Farndon on Dee Ch, v. Ch 474–5.

The name covered Great Faringdon Berks and Little Faringdon O in DB and a number of later records. Little Faringdon is 6 miles N. W. on flat ground by the R. Leach. It was treated as an independent name in O 319, but it is clear that it is in fact a transferred use of the Berks name. There is a group of estates here, at the junction of Berks, W and O, which may at one time have formed a single large estate.Some of them occur in Anglo-Saxon wills (Inglesham W, Faringdon and Littleworth Berks in AS Wills 22–5, Inglesham and Cottesmore in Broadwell Oib 25–6, Inglesham and Coleshill Berks ib 10–15).Others are associated in DB, where an English landowner named Eilsi of Faringdon has Langford and Shipton-under-Wychwood O together with part of Great Faringdon Berks; Little Faringdon O was formerly a hamlet in Langford parish. In the 13th cent. Beaulieu Abbey Ha held Faringdon and surrounding estates, including Inglesham W and Shilton and Langford O. The scattered parts of the manor of Great Faringdon are described in VCH i, 319. It included two areas in O, one consisting of Little Faringdon and Langford, and the other of Shilton, and these were in the county of Berks until they were transferred to O c. 1831. It seems likely that this association of detached parts in O with Great Faringdon is a remnant of an earlier larger unit which included land on both sides of the Thames. The 120 hides ascribed to Wyrðæ (assumed to be Littleworth in Great Faringdon) in Ealdorman Ælfheah's will of 968–71 has always seemed surprisingly high, but may indicate that part of the original much larger unit was at that time being admin- istered from Littleworth.

It seems clear that the name Faringdon describes the Berks place, and that the existence of another settlement called Faringdon in O is due to the ancient connection between these areas on either side of the Thames.