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 Landwade

Historical Forms

  • Langwaðe 1060 Thorpe 14th
  • Lang(e)worth 1235 FF
  • Langwath 1246–57 Add 1272,1285 Ass
  • Languad(e), Langwad(e) 1252 AD 1476 et freq
  • Langwat 1257 Add
  • Landuuade t. Wm 1 RegRoff, TextRoff (p)
  • Lantwadam a.1194 Landwade
  • Landwad(e) 1236 Barnwell 1475 Pat
  • Landwath(e) 1195 FF 1366 Ipm
  • Landwat(e) c.1250 Add 1285 FF 1341 NI
  • Landwaye 1279 RH
  • -wod(e) 1426 Cl 1448 Pat
  • parva Lonwatha 1176–85 Templars
  • Lanwad(e) 1236 Barnwell 1682 Landwade
  • Lanwath(e) c.1250 SR
  • Lanewade 1425 Landwade
  • Llanwade 1540 CAPrxxvii
  • Laynewarde al. Langwith 1541 MinAcct
  • Lanward 1570 SR 1644 PRi
  • Lanworthe 1576 Saxton
  • Lan(d)ward, Lan(d)ward al. Lanworth 1604 Atkyns
  • Landewade 1298 Ass 1419 Cl
  • Landewath 1360 Ipm


This is a difficult name. The second element was probably originally OE  wæd, 'ford,' with later substitution of the cognate Scand  vað, the English word ultimately surviving. As a first element, Lang - and Land - are almost equally early, but the latter is much more frequent than for Lamport (PN Bk 48), DB Lan (d )port , Lamport (PN Sx 430), 1054 Lantport , and Old Langport (PN K 483–4), DB Lam -, Lantport , all of which certainly derive from OE  lang-port . Similar difficulties of interpretation arise in Landford (PN W 386–7), DB Langeford , 1242 Laneford , 1295 Landeford . Here the choice lies between lang , 'long' and lanu , 'lane.' The latter is impossible for Landwade. The ford here is on the county boundary, where the road crosses the small 'sluggish stream, at present full of watercress,' and although there were two water-mills here in the 14th century, the stream can hardly have been wide enough to justify the name 'long ford.' Langford (PN Nt 205–6), with a long series of forms in Lande - and a place hard- by called Landeleie , is derived from a personal name Landa , but forms for Landwade with a medial e are late and rare. Ekwall, who gives only forms in Land -, has suggested (DEPN) that the first element is OE  land , and while admitting that “the exact meaning of the name land-ford is not clear,” suggests 'chief ford' as a possible explanation.This is not satisfactory for a ford through so small a stream. OE  land is used however in the sense 'region, district, province' (BT), and the ford may have been so called because the road here crossed from the county of Suffolk to that of Cambridge, perhaps at a time when this was the boundary between East Anglia and Mercia. This part of Suffolk forms a curious projection into Cambridgeshire (by which it is almost surrounded), the historical reason for which is unknown.For a similar use of land , cf. Landmoth (PN NRY 206, PN D liii), DB Landemot , 'district meeting-place,' and, possibly, Landelod (e )1221ElyA , 1251ElyCouch in Stretham on the southern boundary of the Isle of Ely. When the name was Scandinavianised, it was probably associated with the common Danish place-name Langevad . Hence the numerous and early forms in Lang (e )-. Cf. Langwith (PN ERY 269), earlier Lang (e )wath . The real difficulty in this interpretation is that one would expect a ford with such a name to be on a route of some importance. The present road does not meet this requirement. There was, however, a very ancient trackway from Little Thetford and Old Fordey (infra 198) round the south of Soham Mere to Wicken which may have continued round the edge of the high land to Landwade. Cf. also viam regiam in Al (l )ing (ge )worye in the bounds of Landwade (1279 RH), Hillingworth 1331Add , Helyngeworth 1402 ib., and pontis et calseti de Languade (1360ElyC ).

Places in the same Parish