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.

Crackwell Hole

Early-attested site in the Parish of Duxford

Historical Forms

  • Crattewelledene 1308 CaiCh 1483 Rental
  • Cratwellho(o)le 1589 1612 Terr
  • Crackly Hole 1730 ib
  • Cratendune 1170 LibEl 13th ElyCh
  • Cratendon 1251 ElyCouch 1277 Ely
  • Cratenton' 1221 ElyA
  • Cratingdon 1519 Wren
  • Cradiden 1586 Camden


Crackwell Hole (6″) is Crattewelledene 1308CaiCh , 1483Rental , Cratwellho (o )le 1589Ct , 1612Terr , Crackly Hole 1730 ib. Forms are late and no certainty is possible in the interpretation of this name.The closest parallel in the county is provided by the place-name Cratendune 1170 LibEl, 13thElyCh , Cratendon 1251ElyCouch , 1277Ely , Cratenton '1221ElyA , Cratingdon 1519Wren , Cradiden 1586 Camden.This is rendered vallis crati in LibEl. The name survived as Cratendon Field in 1812 “about a mile South of the present city, but the exact situation of it is hardly discoverable at this time” (Bentham i, 54).Cf. also Craten (h )e (e )1251ElyCouch , 1277Ely , 1302MinAcct , Gratene 1298 ib., a fishery in Haddenham. The Latin rendering of the lost Cratendon suggests that at least in the 12th century that name was understood as containing a personal name. If that was correct, then the name was perhaps Crætta , another form of Cretta , recorded as the name of a King of Lindsey (Redin 90). There is one difficulty about this interpretation, viz. that the personal name is only recorded in the form Cretta , with double t and presumably short vowel, whereas the forms of Cratendon show persistent single t . Another possibility is that these names should be associated with a lost OE word corresponding to Dan  krat , 'brushwood,' Norw  krat , 'rubbish,' as suggested by Skeat for Cratfield, DBCratafelda (PN Sf 26) and by Ekwall for a lost Cratley (PN Nt 65). In that case we might regard vallis crati as a bit of folk etymology and interpret Crackwell as 'spring in the brushwood,' Cratendon as 'hill overgrown with brushwood' from an adjective crætten , and Craten (h )e (e ) as 'stream whose banks are overgrown with brushwood.' The relation of these names to Creeting (Sf), DBCratingas , 1199 P Cretinges , is difficult. Skeat (PN Sf 72) associates that name with the OE  name Cretta as noted above, but it is difficult to explain the long vowel on that basis. Ekwall prefers to assume an OE  *Crǣta related to but not identical with Cretta .

Places in the same Parish

Major Settlement