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.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Arthuret

Historical Forms

  • Karwindelhou 1202 FF
  • Car…delawe 1267 Ch
  • Carwyndelaue early13th Laner
  • Karwendelowe, Kaerwyndlo 1281 Ipm
  • Carwendelowe, Karwendelowe 1282 ib
  • Carwyndelawe 1292 Ass
  • Carwyndelowe 1300 Ipm
  • Carwendlow 1301 GDR
  • Kerwandylawe 1398 Scotland
  • Carwanolow 14th Fordun 15th
  • Carwindlaw 1777 NB
  • Karwindehow 1278 Ass
  • Carwinley 1596 Border


This is a difficult name. It is clear that the first element is the British equivalent of Welsh  caer , 'fortified place.' Two possible inter- pretations of the second element have been suggested. Skene (Celtic Scotland i, 157) notes that Gwendolen (OWelsh  Gwenddoleu ) was the name of a British leader in the battle of Arthuret (supra ). Skene suggests that the name Carwinley is British and means 'Gwenddoleu 's fort,' with later folk-etymologising of the name as though the final element were hou , how from hōh , or lawe , lowe from hlāw . Alternatively, Sedgefield (s. n .) and Ekwall (ScandCelts 107, DEPN) suggest that the name is a hybrid, with British cair , 'fort,' added to an English name which varied between Wendlan -hlāw and Wendlan -hōh , 'Wendla 's hill or spur,' v. hlāw , hōh . This latter suggestion seems unlikely.