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 Purley

Historical Forms

  • Porlei, Porlaa 1086 DB
  • Magna Porlegh 1284 Ass
  • Porle maior 1327 SR
  • Purleia c.1180 Thame c.1200
  • Purle maior et Purle minor, Manga Purle, Parua Purle 1284 Ass
  • villata utriusque Purle 1294 SR
  • Little Purle 1302 Pat
  • Parva Purlee 1401–2 FA
  • Parva Purle, Porle Huscarle 1428 ib
  • Pirlai 1194 Cur
  • Pourle, Pourleg' 1297 CornAcc
  • Much Pourle 1456 ArchJ


'Wood or clearing frequented by the snipe or bittern', v. (a)h.The first el. is OE  pūr, found also in Purleigh Ess 222 and Purbeck Do. Purley in Sr (Sr 54) is of different origin.

There were two manors, known as 'great' and 'little' Purley, the former being once referred to as Porle Huscarle , from the family who held it from the 12th to the 14th cent. (VCH iii, 418–20).