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.

Wormwood Hill

Early-attested site in the Parish of Stapleford

Historical Forms

  • Wyrmelawe c.1225 ElyM
  • Wyrmelowe 1394,1395 ElyF
  • Wirmelauhe 13th ElyCh
  • Wrmelawe, campo de Wrmelawe, Wrmelowe, Wrmelaue, Wrmelaue super le S(c)erdfurlong 13th ElyCh, ElyF
  • Wurmelawe ib.


The first element here is probably wyrm , 'dragon.' There is a tumulus here (Fox 149) and it is clear that it was called a hlāw in Old English times. Barrows are often named after the person (supposed to be) buried in them, but they are equally often associated with dragons and the like, so the first element here can be taken to be wyrma , gen. pl. of wyrm , and that is the probable explanation. Cf. Wormcliff (PN W 85). For the possibilities of a personal name Wyrma , v. Worminghall (PN Bk 129–30) and Warmington (PN Nth 215). The S (c )erdfurlong contains as its first element OE  sceard, 'gap,' with reference perhaps to the unico ad instar portalis aditu of Vandlebury in the note infra .

Places in the same Parish

Major Settlement