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.

Letcombe Bassett

Major Settlement in the Parish of Letcombe Bassett

Historical Forms

  • Upledecumbe 1220 Fees 1412 Fine
  • Uppeledecumbe 1311 ib
  • Upledcombe 1556 Queen
  • Ledecumbe Basset 1247 AD 1276 Eynsh
  • Ledecombe Basset 1284 Ass
  • Letecumbe Basset 1320 Eynsh
  • Lettecombe Basset 1464 Fine
  • Letcum Basset 1539 Eynsh


The second el. is cumb 'valley', the first el. is uncertain. Ekwall (DEPN), relying on the form with Hlede - from the earlier MS of the Abingdon Chronicle, suggests hlēda 'seat, bench' in some topographical sense such as 'ledge'. The evidence for initial H - is extremely slight, however, and the occasional -i -, -o –, and -u - of the forms suggest an original -eo -. A pers.n. Lēoda , postulated in DEPN for Leadenham L, would suit the spellings. The first el. is not likely to be the name of Letcombe Brook, as that was known as wanotingc broc in OE (v. Pt 117–18).

Letcombe Bassett came into the possession of the Bassett family in the 12th cent. It was distinguished from Letcombe Regis (323–4) either by the addition of this surname, or by the prefixing of upp , referring to its situation at the head of the valley from which both places are named.