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.

Chair Drove

Early-attested site in the Parish of Isleham

Historical Forms

  • Charlake 1425 Ct
  • Charelakeload 1611 AddCh
  • þritawere 1251 ElyCouch
  • þrittywere, þrithiwere 1277 Ely
  • Thrittewere 1303 Sacr


Chair Drove (6″) is a short straight road leading to the Lark. The first element of this name is found in Charlake 1425Ct and Charelakeload 1611AddCh . The load, we are told, flowed from Thorneye fryth (v. Thorney Hill infra 221) by Chare Lake to Thirtyware Lake . This was earlier þritawere 1251ElyCouch , þrittywere , þrithiwere 1277Ely , Thrittewere 1303 Sacr, and was in the great stream, i.e. Ouse. Further, the load called Charelake passed from the corner of Thorneyfryth to a place in Mildenhallstreame , i.e. the Lark (cf. supra 7), “between the common Mowefenn of the towne of Ely called the lytle Shield (Shell Fm infra 200) and the commen fenn of the town of Soham called Mettly fenn ” (v. Mettleham infra 200). A later hand has added in the margin Cawldelfen lode (v. Cawdle Fen infra 222). The topo- graphy is difficult as the courses of both the Ouse and the Lark have changed. It may be that the old course of the Lark was once known as Chare . This name (v. Chear Fen supra 149) would be appropriate to the winding course of the old Lark If that is the case, there is some support for Skeat's suggestion (PN Sf 33–4) that the old name for the sluggish Lark was lacu , found as the first element in Lackford (Sf), DBLacheforda , on its banks.