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.

Snow Hill

Early-attested site in the Parish of Nantwich

Historical Forms

  • Snorehill 1463 1732 ib
  • the Town Green or Snower-Hill 1715 ib
  • Snore alias Snow Hill 1781 ib


Snow Hill 1725AddCh , Snorehill 1463ib et freq with variant spelling Snorehyll to 1732ib , the Town Green or Snower -Hill 1715ib , Snore alias Snow Hill 1781ib . As originally drafted, in terms of EPN and the Society's earlier volumes, the explanation of this p.n. was '"brushwood hill", v. snār , hyll , cf. Snower Hill Sr 284, Snow Hill StNLn 180, Snoreham Ess 217. Like Wood St. supra and Gorse Stacks (Chester) 326 infra , this was probably 'a fuel dump.' However, Professor Löfvenberg, and the correction of EPN 2 132 in JEPN 1 36 s.v. *snār, require that this etymology be rejected. Löfvenberg observes, 'As is shown by Ekwall StNLn 180–1 and DEPN s.n. Snoreham Ess, the OE  word must have been *snor or *snōr , probably the latter in view of spellings with -ou -, -ow -. The origin of this word is not clear, but I am inclined to believe that the etymology suggested by Ekwall in StNLn is correct. The original meaning would be "something twisted or knotted", in a transferred sense "hill, hillock". For the sense-development cf. OE  *wrǣst "something twisted" in Wrest Park Bd 162 (DEPN s.n.) and OE  wrāse "a knot, something twisted" in Wrose YW 3267.' It seems likely that the el. *snār in EPN requires investigation or cancellation. An entry should be added to EPN 2 133 for *snōr OE 'something twisted or knotted', hence 'a (rough) hill', and then the series of p.ns. for which *snār has been adduced should be listed under *snōr.